Baidu Pay Per Click: How to get started with advertising in China

By Laurent Ross - February 06, 2019

Heard about Baidu? Looking for more leads in China? Maybe it's finally time to get onboard with Baidu advertising. The Chinese search giant has an estimated 150 million daily users and is steadily growing as China embraces the internet in even the most remote regions. Tapping into this giant market is one of the great challenges of marketing and advertising today – with more and more businesses looking to China for new leads and customers. However, in China things are rarely easy and getting a return on your investment for ads is become increasingly difficult.

Getting started on Baidu

To get started, it’s important that you meet the legal requirements for starting a Baidu account in China. Unlike advertising platforms in the rest of the world, your data and application will have to be reviewed by the Chinese government before you can be approved to start advertising.

For companies that want to do Baidu advertising in mainland China, you first need to have a business registration license: either a Chinese business license 营业执照 or an overseas one. Depending on which one you have, the process required documentation and initial deposit for each one is slightly different. We’ll go through all the requirements below.

With Chinese Business License

If you have a Chinese business registration license, such as a WFOE (Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise), you can opt for opening an account in mainland China to promote on Baidu. Since Baidu has many representative offices in China, you can open an account based on where your Chinese office is located.

Standard Process & Time Frame

  1. During the initial evaluation of the website eligibility, you will need to tell Baidu the name of your company and website URL to check whether you can do Baidu advertising (certain industries, products, and services may have special restrictions). This process usually takes about 1-3 working days.

  2. Once the website eligibility has been confirmed, you can start preparing the required documentation. How long this takes will depend on how long you need to pull the documents together.

  3. Once you have all the required documentation, scan them and submit the digital copies to Baidu for approval. This approval process may take about 1-2 days.

  4. Once Baidu approves the digital copies, you need to send all the listed documents. The postal process may take a few days.

  5. (In an agency situation) Your agency will sign the contract with Baidu, and post the contract to Baidu. The postal process may take a few days.

  6. Transfer the initial deposit to Baidu’s designated account. The length of time will differ depending on your bank.

  7. Upon Baidu receiving the deposit, contract, and all required documentation, they will perform a final review on the documentation (usually by the legal department). This will take 3-4 days.

  8. Upon the final approval, your account will be activated for advertising purposes. Ready to go!

Required documentation

  1. A photograph of your business license and a copy of your business license with an official seal. On the copy, you need to handwrite a statement of “与原件一致” in black ink.

  2. Print the screenshots of the registration pages (including the company basic information and business annual review information) at the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System (http://www.gsxt.gov.cn/index.html or http://sh.gsxt.gov.cn/notice ). Stamp the printed copies and handwrite ”与网站一致” in black ink.

  3. A copy of your account opening license from the bank (银行开户许可证), stamped and with the handwritten statement of “与原件一致” in black ink.

  4. A printed screenshot of your company’s ICP (Internet Content Provider) record on http://www.miitbeian.gov.cn, with a stamp on it, and a handwritten statement “与网站一致” in black ink. This screenshot needs to include the URL and the national emblem (国徽).

  5. Two screenshots of official website home pages: (1) the top of the home page (including the URL), and (2) the bottom of the home page (including the ICP number). Print out these screenshots, place a stamp on them and handwrite “与网站一致” in black ink on both documents.

  6. (In an agency situation) Commissioned promotion certificate 委托推广证明 signed/stamped by both your company and your Baidu advertising agency. And you will need to stamp or sign this commissioned promotion certificate document together with your agency’s official stamp (i.e. both parties need to sign/stamp on this single piece of paper provided by Baidu officials).

Fee & Deposit

To successfully open an ads account as a foreign company in China, the minimal initial account balance top-up requirement is ¥20,000 yuan. This ¥20,000 yuan includes a ¥1,000 yuan one-off service fee charged by Baidu.

There are situations where Baidu provides incentives to open an account with them (i.e. top-up bonuses). The incentive amount will depend on the incentive policies at the time you make a payment.

Please note that Baidu will need to review your account annually and will charge ¥600 yuan for each review. You will not need to re-submit the documents again during this review process.

With International Business License

If you are an international company with no legal entity in China, you may open an international ads account either through the Baidu Hong Kong representative office or the one in Shanghai. Here, we’ll go through the different steps per office.

Through a Hong Kong Representative Office

In most cases, we highly recommend going to the Hong Kong representative office. The process there is much simpler and requires less documentation. Please note that Hong Kong companies can ONLY apply for a Baidu account through the Baidu HK representative office.

Standard Process & Time Frame

  1. Initial check about your website to see whether there are any restrictions on your particular industry and product. This process usually takes 1 working day.

  2. Submit all the required documentation to Baidu. Upon submitting the required documentation to Baidu’s HK representative office, you will need to wait 7-10 working days to receive official approval.

  3. (In an agency situation) The agency will sign a contract with the Baidu HK representative office. As Baidu only requires a scanned copy of the contract, this will need less than one working day to proceed.

  4. Once the official approval is ready, transfer the initial deposit (minimum ¥40,000 yuan, which includes account balance top-up and the annual fee) and provide the transaction slip to Baidu. The length of time will differ depending on your bank.

  5. Upon receiving the full amount, Baidu will activate the account and you’re ready to go!

Required documentation

Aside from those in sensitive industries (e.g. finance, medicine, supplements, etc), the requirements for all other companies are the same. Please submit the coloured scans of the following documents:

  1. Original business registration and its Chinese translation* (with corresponding colour company stamp & "与原件一致" written on all documents)

  2. Screenshot of your website homepage, showing the website URL (with corresponding colour company stamp &“与网站一致” written on the printed screenshot)

  3. Screenshot of your company listing from your local government website, showing the website URL, and its Chinese translation* (with corresponding colour company stamp & write “与网站一致” on all the documents). Because each country’s government company search is different, Baidu’s HK representative office will advise the designated website case by case.

  4. Bank account proof (e.g. bank statement, passbook, bank remittance, etc.), both the original copy and a Chinese translation* (with corresponding colour company chop & write ”与原件一致“ on all the documents)

* Translations done via Google Translate will be enough—you won’t need to hire a professional translation agency for this. If the documents are already in traditional Chinese 繁体字, a translated version will not be required.

Fee & Deposit

A minimum of ¥40,000 yuan is needed when opening an account in HK. This amount will already include the annual account fee of ¥1,500 yuan, with the remaining amount topped up into your account balance.  This will need to be paid to Baidu’s HK representative office via bank transfer. They currently don’t accept any other payment methods.

If you would prefer to pay with other currencies, HKD, USD and SGD are also accepted.  Baidu’s HK representative office will advise on the exchange rate to use at the time of making a payment.

Through a Mainland China Office

If your company is eligible, it’s possible to open accounts in China’s Baidu office directly. Here are the steps for opening  Baidu account in mainland China.

Standard Process & Time Frame

  1. During the initial evaluation of the website eligibility, you will need to tell Baidu the name of your company and website URL to check whether you can do Baidu advertising (certain industries, products, and services may have special restrictions). This process usually takes about 3 working days.

  2. Once the website eligibility has been confirmed, you can start preparing the required documentation and their respective translation documents using Baidu’s designated translation agencies. The translation may take a few days (depending on the complexity of the documents). Note: the translation agency needs to stamp on the translated documentation.

  3. Once you have all the documentation, scan them and submit the digital copies to Baidu for approval. This may take about 3 days.

  4. Once Baidu approves the digital copies, you will receive the contract provided by Baidu, sign the contract. In an agency situation, your agency will sign the contract with Baidu.

  5. After signing, you will need to post the contract, the listed documents and their original translation copies to Baidu’s office. The postal process may take a few days.

  6. Transfer the initial deposit to Baidu’s designated account (minimum ¥20,000 yuan, includes account balance top-up and the one-off service fee). Processing time will differ depending on your bank.

  7. Upon Baidu receiving the deposit amount, contract, and all the required documentation, they will perform a final review on the documentation (usually by the legal department). This will take 3-4 days.

  8. Upon the final approval, your account will be activated for advertising purposes and you’re ready to go!

Required documentation

Aside from those in sensitive industries (e.g. finance, medicine, supplements, etc), the requirements for all other companies are the same. You’ll need the following documents:

  1. Your original business license + the business license translated into Chinese by a designated translation agency appointed by Baidu (scanned copies should include both original and translated versions in the same image with company chop or legal representative’s signature & passport copy, and a handwritten statement of “与原件一致”).

  2. A screenshot of the company information listed on the official website of the local government and a translated copy of that screenshot (with URL, time of taking the screenshot, company chop or legal representative’s signature & passport copy, and a handwritten statement “与网站一致”).

  3. A printed screenshot of your official company website, including its URL. You can use Google translate to translate the homepage (with company chop or legal representative’s signature & passport copy, and a handwritten statement “与网站一致”)

  4. A copy or printed screenshot of a bank account information (e.g. bank statement, passbook, bank remittance, local taxation certificate, etc.)  plus a copy of the translated document from a designated translation agency appointed by Baidu (full company name and bank name should be shown).  And a handwritten statement of “与原件一致”.

  5. Commissioned promotion certificate 委托推广证明 signed/stamped by both your company and your Baidu advertising agency. This is applied in an agency situation where you hire an advertising agency such as Oxygen to run the Baidu campaign on behalf of you. And you will need to stamp or sign this commissioned promotion certificate document together with your agency’s official stamp, i.e. both parties need to sign/stamp on this single piece of paper provided by Baidu officials.

Fee & Deposit

A minimum of ¥20,000 yuan is usually needed for opening an account in mainland China. This amount includes a one-off service fee of ¥1,000 yuan paid to Baidu’s China office, with the rest of the amount being topped-up into your account balance. Usually, Baidu will add an additional ¥2,000 yuan to your balance as an incentive, but this may vary from time to time.

Please note that Baidu will need to review your account annually and will charge ¥600 yuan for each review. You will not need to re-submit the documents again during this review process.

 

Download our free guide to Baidu advertising in 2019!

Does your company need assistance with advertising in China? Speak with one of marketing experts to find out how we can help.

About the Author

Laurent Ross

10+ years of work in client and project management in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand - Laurent is uniquely qualified to manage campaigns which require a deep knowledge of both Western and Chinese digital systems.

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