Kassey Lee examines the types of domains large Chinse internet companies use.
Regular readers may notice that I use China’s Top 100 internet companies as a proxy for corporate China in understanding what domains investors can sell to this largest economy in the world. I have written about it recently in “What domains do Chinese internet companies want to buy?” using the latest data. In this article, I’ll combine three years of data and look at whether there are any trends.
In terms of extensions used, .com is obviously the most preferred. China is probably the only country besides the USA where .com is standard within the country. Many Chinese companies own only .com without the matching .cn domain. For example, the matching Yonyou.cn, Lakala.cn, and Longcai.cn are still available for sale.
Pinyin and English domains are most popular. Note that I use the word “English” loosely to refer to a domain made up of English words or English-like words. Some examples are Tencent.com, Ctrip.com, and VIPShop.com. This is good news to investors in the West because you can acquire English domains and sell to both China as well as the rest of the world.
Among Pinyin domains, 2-pin remains most popular. So, focus on this category if you are into Pinyin investing. (Note that I use the terms 1-pin, 2-pin, etc. to refer to domains made up of respectively one Pinyin word, 2 Pinyin words, etc.)
Generally speaking, numeric domains up to 4N can be used by Chinese companies. Beyond that, most numeric domains are only traded among investors but not actually used for developed websites. Of course, exceptions do exist but they are not the norm.
For acronym domains, 2L is best but 3L and even 4L have end users.
Finally, the majority of domains are brand-matching. Note that brand-matching means that the name part of a domain is identical to the brand name. It is the name that the general public remembers. For example, the brand-matching domain for Alibaba Group Holding Limited is Alibaba.com but not AlibabaGroup.com or AlibabaGroupHolding.com.
In summary, if you want to sell to end users in China, focus on .com domains. There are still many opportunities to sell domains to corporate China, so be sure to do your end user research to uncover such opportunities.