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Optimising for perfect international performance, including China



Date  11 July 2022
4 min read

Optimising for perfect international performance, including China

Anyone who has ever visited China knows that the internet there is different, compared to Western countries. The largest search engine isn’t Google, it’s Baidu. Also, in terms of regulations, making your website accessible in China is unlike what we’re used to here. At the same time, China is an important market for many internationally oriented companies. The same is true for Holmatro. Their online presence in China is very important for the sale of their niche products, hydraulic tools for rescue operations, offshore activities and train rerailing. Good reason to collaborate with Harborn, because as an AWS partner, we know exactly how to handle such matters.

The growing importance of fast global presence

In an increasingly smaller world, the need for global companies to provide the same service everywhere is increasing. With the exponential increase in internet users and ever faster available content, good global online performance has become a significant part of IT. For online international growth, your digital customer journey must be of a high standard all over the world, in order to best serve customers wherever they may be. And our customer Holmatro noticed this too!

Fast-tracking for a solid plan

As Holmatro’s new digital partner, optimising their global presence was our trial by fire. The Holmatro website worked quickly internationally but was slow in China. Moreover, the website was not findable using the Chinese search engine Baidu. It turned out to be something that Holmatro had been struggling with for some time, which remained unresolved. However, at Harborn, we have done this before, so we quickly hooked up with the right colleagues to create a proof of concept. We were able to show that, with our input and by using a Content Delivery Network in China, the website could be up to 10 times faster than the current version.

Improving international performance on location

In the case of Holmatro, the website for China was hosted by a data centre in Europe. It often takes 20 to 40 milliseconds for a data packet within Europe to get from a user's computer to the server and back again. If you compare that with the connection from Europe to China, you’re soon at 200-400 milliseconds. Add to that the fact that a computer and server sometimes have to communicate back and forth up to ten times to load a page, you're looking at a difference of three seconds loading time, even with a perfect connection. In some cases, where the connection was not ideal, loading a full page took longer than a minute! And that was not only annoying for Holmatro’s Chinese dealers. A long loading time has a huge impact on the user experience, especially when users are used to much faster loading times from local sites. To improve performance, we used a CDN (Content Delivery Network). This means that the information is not hosted locally but can be retrieved as close to the user’s location as possible, via a local server. And that makes for a much faster website.

Bridging distances with the possibilities of AWS

As an AWS partner, Harborn regularly uses services which ensure that performance is optimised internationally. As a partner in China, we also make use of the possibilities offered by AWS, but this is arranged slightly differently compared to the rest of the world. Amazon Web Services in China is separate from the rest of the AWS infrastructure and access to these services is therefore not a given. Fortunately, with our partnership, we quickly gained a foothold, both literally and figuratively, because people were also needed on location for various procedures, both online and offline.

Visible and findable in China

If you want your website to be visible in China, you need, among other things, an Internet Content Provider (ICP) licence, which is issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. If you don’t have this, your website will be blocked by the Chinese internet providers. Because Holmatro has a Chinese office, they immediately contacted the necessary authorities. The website was also given a Chinese address: the domain registration of Holmatro.cn improved findability on the search engines.

The same, but different

If you visit the Chinese website of Holmatro you will see that it’s virtually the same as the European site. Technically, the Chinese version is a partially synchronised copy of the original website. That makes it possible for Holmatro to manage the Chinese website using the existing CMS. This also makes it possible to shield certain information. As a user, you won’t notice any of this: the website is exactly the same as the European version in terms of both appearance and user experience, with, for the observant viewer, only one difference. The footer of the website has a link with the ICP licence, the Chinese registration number. In this way, Holmatro's online presence in China is completely in order and the website works at least as fast as the versions in other countries!

Are you targeting online international growth? Are you looking for a partner to improve your international performance? Or are you curious about the possibilities of AWS for your own issue(s)? Then you know what do. Get in touch with us :) Our team will be very happy to assist you.

+316 8146 4299robert.revet@harborn.com