The Chinese domain name market is one of huge untapped potential Ray Zheng of the Shanghai Racent Internet Group said at the recent Domain Pulse conference in Vienna. There are only 40 million domain names registered in the country with a population of 1.355 billion. This point was also made by Kassey Lee of the Coreile Letter blog.
Zheng, whose Racent provides domain registration, website development and hosting services in China, was part of a panel looking at opportunities in China and outlined how registrants are able to obtain finance for purchasing domain names, although not through traditional methods such as through banks.
Both Lee, who gave an earlier video presentation from his home in New Zealand, and Zheng said .com is still king in China, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some huge transactions in other TLDs. Zheng noted that Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd, who has the 360.cn domain name, spent $350 million to buy 360.com from Vodafone in 2015. (Or did I mishear the sale price, as media reports at the time reported the rumours of the sale being around $17 million.) Regardless of the figure, the amount is the highest reported sale of a domain name.
But while there are some huge purchases, Lee said the majority of Chinese companies don’t have a domain name. For anyone wanting to invest in Chinese TLDs, Lee advised to watch out for any changes in government regulation and to read and study issues related to China for what could be popular domain names in the country.
The Domain Pulse conference was held in Vienna on 16 and 17 February, and attended by around 300 people from the domain name industry, mostly from Europe. Domain Pulse is the annual conference of the registries for the German-speaking countries – Austria (.at), Switzerland (.ch) and Germany (.de).