Chinese companies might move their domains from the United States.
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.
|2||Tencent (Teng Xun)||Tencent.com||MarkMonitor||USA|
|5||Ant Financial||Antfin.com||Alibaba Cloud||China|
|6||Wang Yi (Netease)||Netease.com||MarkMonitor||USA|
|9||360 Total Security||360.com||eName||China|
|10||Xin Lang (Sina)||Sina.com||Xin Net||China|
|12||Sou Hu (Sohu)||Sohu.com||MarkMonitor||USA|
|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|
|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.