Understanding what constitutes Pinyin and what doesn’t is important for domain investors.
I came across the term “Dim Sum” when studying in the USA, and then “Yum Cha” after moving to New Zealand. Whichever name you call it, I enjoy the small dishes served to your table via carts at a Chinese restaurant. This brings up an important implication when investing in Pinyin domains.
Actually, Dim Sum and Yum Cha are not Pinyin names. They are spelled in Cantonese, a dialect widely spoken in Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau, as well as “old” Chinatowns across the world. In fact, the English lexicon is full of Cantonese names because early overseas Chinese were Cantonese speaking.
The fact is, Pinyin has taken over the throne and the largest market is in Pinyin domains, not Cantonese, Bopomofo (Taiwan), or any other spellings. Understanding the difference is critical to Pinyin investing.
Before you acquire a supposedly Pinyin domain, you must ask yourself whether it is truly Pinyin. If the domain happens to be, for example, a Cantonese name, then the market for it will be very small.
A simple test you can try is to enter it into a search engine and then look at the result for hints. Also, throw the term to Yabla and see if there is any suggestion. The best way, however, is to show it to a native Chinese speaker and seek advice.
Of course, there are exceptions. Because of historical reasons, some Cantonese names remain in use even in Pinyin-speaking communities. For example, the top university in Beijing is still called “Peking University” where “Peking” is a transliteration of the Cantonese name of “Beijing”. This means some Cantonese words may still be acceptable, but research is paramount.
Actually, Dim Sum (点心) and Yum Cha (饮茶) are different. The former refers to small Chinese dishes of delicious food, and the latter just means drinking tea. Whichever term you prefer, do enjoy the Chinese food — and your Pinyin investing.