Chinese Domain Market Newsletter

The sail city is blessed with many beaches. When we walk on the beach, often we see a few men sweeping the sandy beach with their metal detector. To others it may seem like a boring hobby, but to these treasure hunters they really enjoy this simple task. I have read in the news that a lady once lost her wedding ring at a beach, only to have it returned years later by a kind treasure hunter. What I have learned from them is persistence. There are things in life that take time to acquire. Here's the post.

September 22, 2016 (Thu)

Tao is treasure hunting

Few months ago the domain name was sold in China for reportedly over 1 million dollars. The sale triggered a discussion in the domain community on why a 3L domain name containing unfavorable "aeiou" letters (based on the so-called "chip" domain investment theory) could sell for such a high price.

Here I want to caution you on using just one measure to look at Chinese domain names. If a domain name contains "aeiou" letters, it may be a Pinyin name, and short Pinyin names are highly sought after in China because they are easy to remember. For example, Baidu contains "aeiou" but it is an excellent Pinyin name referring to the Chinese characters 百度 (hundreds of times).

Back to the domain name Tao is 1-pin. According to, this name can refer to 27 Chinese characters. In other words, you can set Tao to a Chinese character -- therefore different meaning -- that applies specifically to your business. For example, if you want to sell peaches, tell the Chinese consumers that Tao is 桃 (peach). If you want to start a pottery business, then Tao becomes 陶 (pottery). So, Tao is a very versatile Pinyin name.

Among the different Chinese characters that Tao represents, a very popular one is 淘 (to pan, as in gold panning for example). Its use was made popular when Alibaba started a marketplace similar to eBay or Amazon in 2003. He called it the TaoBao marketplace and used the domain name TaoBao (淘宝) is 2-pin and it means "panning for treasure."

Alibaba is not the only company capitalizing on the "panning" feature of Tao. I know of at least two companies doing the same. One is (一淘 = to pan once) which is an ecommerce site selling health food, apparels, home appliances, and a variety of products. Another one is (淘福 = happiness in panning) which sells products related to health, nutrition, sports, supplement, etc.

Tao-related domain names have been selling well too. For example, was sold for about $23k, for $32k, for 19k, and for $390k.

As you can see, if a domain name has a good Chinese meaning, it becomes very valuable. Since can have a variety of meanings, the domain name will always be sought after by Chinese end user companies. Therefore, be sure to see beyond the so-called "chip" domain investment theory.