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Is Wechat.com registrar migration a harbinger of things to come in the China domain market?

Chinese companies might move their domains from the United States.

wechat logo shows two text clouds with eyes

Domaingang.com reported on September 24 that WeChat.com has recently moved from the USA-based registrar MarkMonitor to the China-based eName. This happened amid the worsening relationship between the USA and China.

Naturally, you may wonder whether it is just a single case or other Chinese companies are also following. So, I selected the top 20 companies from the “2019 Top 100 Chinese Internet Companies Report” and checked their Whois records. Here is the result.

Rank Company Domain Registrar Location
1 Alibaba Alibaba.com Alibaba Cloud China
2 Tencent (Teng Xun) Tencent.com MarkMonitor USA
3 Baidu Baidu.com MarkMonitor USA
4 Jing Dong JD.com MarkMonitor USA
5 Ant Financial Antfin.com Alibaba Cloud China
6 Wang Yi (Netease) Netease.com MarkMonitor USA
7 Meituan Meituan.com eName China
8 Toutiao Toutiao.com eName China
9 360 Total Security 360.com eName China
10 Xin Lang (Sina) Sina.com Xin Net China
11 Pinduoduo Pinduoduo.com 22net China
12 Sou Hu (Sohu) Sohu.com MarkMonitor USA
13 58.com 58.com eName China
14 Su Ning Suning.com eName China
15 Xiao Mi Mi.com Network Solutions USA
16 Xie Cheng (Ctrip) Ctrip.com eName China
17 Yong You (Yonyou) Yonyou.com Alibaba Cloud China
18 Cheetah Mobile CheetahMobile.com eName China
19 Autohome Autohome.com Alibaba Cloud China
20 Mango TV MGTV.com Alibaba Cloud China

70% of the domains are located in China and all of them have been there for quite a while. In other words, there is no recent migration of domains from the USA to China. You may notice that Alibaba Cloud and eName are the preferred Chinese registrars. (Note that Alibaba Cloud is known as Aliyun in China, which also owns HiChina.)

Although both Wechat.com and Tencent.com are owned by Tencent, the former has moved but not the latter. It’ll be interesting to see if Tencent.com will eventually move to China.

At this stage, the WeChat.com registrar migration does not signal any change to come. However, if Chinese registrants became worried about any sudden action by the US government, they would certainly move their domains back to China.

Although unlikely, in the extreme case, Chinese companies may be motivated or even ordered to use only .cn domains for operation inside China. If this happened, it would greatly dampen demand for .com domains because currently .com is still the preferred extension in China.

In this age of uncertainty, anything can happen, so it’s important to keep a close watch of the China domain market if you want to sell your domains there.

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  1. snoopy1267

    All large Chinese co’s need to follow. Love trump and support the move regarding TikTok but on the flip side it is way too risky for a Chinese co’s have domains with a USA based registrars.

    • Charles

      Domain registrars and registries are now required to operate differently for domain registrations inside China.

      I think there will be cases were the greater protection might be registration in the US not China.

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