China’s Shopify Problem and Solutions

China’s Shopify Problem and Solutions

24 February, 2016 - Uncategorised


Ecommerce shop-building platforms such as Shopify, Squarespace and Magento have become a popular choice for brands to set-up ecommerce sites, quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. However, brands active in China ecommerce trade often receive complaints from Chinese customers unable to access the site.

Which has led to the question: Are these platforms blocked in China?

The simple answer is no. However, the access problem lies in the technology that western shop-building platforms utilise. Specifically their Content Delivery Network (CDN). A CDN is a way of hosting your website content on multiple servers around the world which allows site visitors to load your content quickly wherever they may be.

However, most shop-building platforms utilise Google based jQuery scripting as part of their CDN. As we all know, direct Google content isn’t accessible in China. As a result every frequent access to a site utilising Google jQuery gets flagged by the Great Firewall of China and is blocked. A customer based in Shanghai one day able to access your ecommerce website suddenly isn’t able to access it the next day, or the next, until maybe weeks later.

So what are the solutions?

  1. Self-Host – If you are look specifically at Chinese ecommerce trade you can try to self-host you e-commerce site in China getting it behind the firewall from the start. Unfortunately self-hosting is not an option with Shopify, but there are some work arounds for Magento.
  1. Chinese Shop-Builders – There are a number of Chinese shop-building platforms similar to Shopify and Magento available for foreign businesses with no access issues. They are cheap and just as easy to use. Furthermore, integration with Chinese payment gateway options such as Union Pay, Alipay and WeChat Payments is very straight forward. Something that western platforms require a lot of manual coding.
  1. Build from Scratch – Obviously the most time consuming and costly option. However the benefits of building a propriety system is that a single ecommerce platform is accessible in China and the rest of the world. Furthermore integration to backend order processing systems and CRM are unified, simple and straight forward.

For more information on China ecommerce optimisation and workarounds please contact Steven Bywater. E-mail: or give us a call on +44 (0)20 7434 7353.