Chinese Domain Market Newsletter

I once heard a wealthy man talked about his observation of passengers on the plane. He said those in the first class read books, those in the business class work on their laptop PCs, and those in the economy class watch movies. How much people exercise their brain is reflected in their ability to create wealth. Interesting observation. Here's the post.

August 8, 2016 (Mon)

A good interview on Chinese domain market

Andrew Allemann did a fantastic interview with Simon Cousins and Raymond Li of Allegrativa. The interview covered quite a few important topics such as bulk trading, peer-to-peer lending, cultural difference in auctioning, and foreign currency control. In particular, I like the discussion on legal requirements of website hosting in China. The interview has helped me understand the issues better, as follows:

About 11 years ago, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) implemented a real name verification system which required all .cn owners to provide their personal information during domain registration. However, foreign domain names such as .com and .net were exempted. Obviously, the government wanted to bring all domain extensions in China into the system.

The first step finally happened. Last month, both .com and .net (Verisign) were brought into the verification system. This paves the way for other foreign extensions to follow and be approved by MIIT for website hosting China. (Of course, you can host a website outside China using a domain name registered outside China, but China's firewall will make your website too slow for consumers in China to access.)

Now, being an approved extension alone is not enough for website hosting. In China, every website must carry an Internet Content Provider (ICP) license. When you visit a Chinese website, you can go to the bottom of its home and see an ICP license, which is linked to the personal information of the owner (or company).

Currently, there is an anomaly in the ICP administration. Some provinces such as Beijing require the domain name be registered with a registrar in China; some provinces such as Guangdong do not have this requirement. A new law is being drafted. If it is implemented, then all domain names intended for website hosting within China must be registered with a registrar in China.

So, what does it mean in the future?

Chinese speculators can still buy and sell domain names registered outside China and not bound by the legal requirements mentioned earlier. They just need to work within the $50k per person per year foreign currency limit, or just ask their families and friends for help. For a domain name intended for website hosting in China, (1) its extension must be approved by MIIT, (2) it must be registered with an approved registrar in China, (3) real name information must be provided during domain registration. Premium names from many new extension may increase in values because they can finally be used by end users to build websites in China.

The audio interview can be found at