Posts Tagged ‘dot cn’

Alternatives to .cn domain names

Friday, March 11th, 2011

As we all know, the CNNIC, the .cn registry, has decided to make it impossible for non-Chinese nationals, or companies registered in China, to register for .cn domain names. What options are then available for foreign companies looking to build a website targeting the Chinese market? Below a couple of pretty decent alternatives.

#1: .hk: as the traditional gateway to China, Hong Kong is still the primary hub through which foreign corporations enter the Chinese market. .hk domains can be registered by any individual or foreign corporation through the HKDNR/HKIRC affiliated registrars and partners. A second option is the which however requires to be incorporated as a business in Hong Kong. One issue however with .hk is that it gives the feeling of being restricted to Hong Kong only and it is not that popular in mainland China.

#2: .asia: .asia domains are available from all major registrars but requires to have one of the domain contacts to be based in Asia (most registrars can provide you a contact if needed). .asia also allows you to expand later to other Asian countries under the same domain.

#3: this domain is one of the CentralNic domain names and has .cn in it. Its major shortcomings is that it can be easily be confused with, furthermore it is not popular in mainland China.

#4: or you can use the cn or china subdomains of your main domain to build your Chinese site on it. This saves the cost of purchasing and renewing a separate domain name for the Chinese market.

#5: or more and more companies add cn or china to the end of their main domain to register a new one for the Chinese market.

Hope the above has been useful and will help you in selecting the appropriate domain/sub-domain for your site targeting the Chinese market.

The CNNIC to meet any new .cn domain applicant in person?

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Now that could be interesting

Want a .cn domain for your business in China? Think again

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

The recent crackdown on dot cn domain names in China calls for a further thinking as to the use of a .cn domain name for your China-related business or website in general.

For a quick review, the CNNIC, the organization in charge of the administration of the .cn registry, issued a notice restricting Chinese domain names registration to registered businesses, with a pending period when the application should send back an application with their corporate seal on it (I am surprised they didn’t require the seal to be in red…), a copy of the business license (should be a photo scan, not a faxed version), a copy of the ID card (Chinese) or passport (foreigner) of the applicant. This decision was in line with the ongoing measures taken by the government to “clean up” the Internet in China. According to the CNNIC, these changes were needed to prevent .cn to be used for spamming. At the time, the CNNIC has assured that these changes would not affect domain names previously registered with their registrars.

Yet sure enough now we are in January, and a new notice has been issued by the CNNIC informing .cn domain holders to go through an “audit”. Basically domain owners need to submit either their ID card/passport scan, or business license copy, generally through the registrar through which they have registered the domain name. The deadline for submitting the documents was January 31st, which makes it technically impossible for the millions of domain names to be “audited” by passing the relevant documents through their few respective registrars. Furthermore, although most registrars have done their best to inform their clients by email, how many legitimate domain owners have not been informed of this rather unexpected requirement for various reasons. In case they disable the non-audited domains by February 1st as planned, it is reasonable to expect tens of thousands of websites going down.

It is interesting how the strategy of the CNNIC had quickly changed, from encouraging the expansion of the .cn registry with an aggressive marketing strategy and low prices for years (as low as one yuan at registrar levels), resulting in .cn domains becoming the second largest domain extension worldwide, to make it very difficult to even register for these domains.

Now, as a business owner, how do you feel about . I mean, there is no assurance some bureaucrat would not issue a notice that would basically shut down your site or take the domain you have taken years to build away from you. In this digital era domain names have become one of the most important assets of business organizations, although not reflected on balance sheets. It makes all the sense to make sure to select a registry where one has some type of basic assurance of not losing this asset.

Then there is the issue of privacy. Who can guarantee that the hundreds of passports copies that have been collected in this “audit” would not fall into unwanted hands. How secure are the databases of the CNNIC? The CNNIC after all is a Chinese government organization. In China where everything is about guangxis, there is no way that these valuable information would not be transferred to third parties if some cash is involved.

Some would say that it should be easy for a legitimate domain holder to comply, but with the many other extensions available, really, why go through the hassle? And when even companies like Google are at risk of losing their domains (, what kind of guarantee a small business has to retain ownership over its domain in case of new decisions or any issue with the Chinese government or another Chinese company?

Despite all the misconceptions, most businesses in China use .com domains, not .cn or Foreign companies are the ones with the greatest interest in dot cn to be more “Chinese”, which is understandable and is what they do in most cases in countries they have a presence in. However, given the realities of the Chinese internet industry, for new businesses or companies without actual operations in China, I would recommend to stick to the general extensions from the time being or use a sub-domain (such as or

Other extensions that are worth considering are as usual the .net, but also Hong Kong domain names (.hk, if company is also registered in HK) or the fast growing .asia extension.

With their low price strategy, the CNNIC should have understood that it was making the .cn very attractive for for spammers. The other extension with low prices, the .info, is a proof of that.

Godaddy stops dot cn registration

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

As many other registrars, Godaddy has stopped accepting new registration for .cn domain names. But what is more worrying, is that they  “are working with our registry provider to determine the impact this change may have on relevant transfers and renewals”. If I were a .cn domain holder with Godaddy I would start to worry…

Auditing of Chinese domain names

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Starting December 14th, the CNNIC, the organism in charge of the administration of the dot cn registry, will be “auditing” all new dot cn registrations.

Basically, upon registration, dot cn applicants will need to transmit through their registrar the following:

-A detailed application form with information on the domain owner, hosting company etc. The application should have the company seal on it.

-A copy of the business license of applicant

-A copy of the ID card/passport of applicant.

Indeed, one of the changes in the new regulations is that now only companies can register new dot cn domain names.

The new tougher registration signals a tremendous change in the direction taken by the CNNIC when it comes to the administration of the dot cn domain names. Indeed, so far the .cn has been pursuing a low pricing policy, with dot cns sometimes as low as 1 yuan, in order to push up the total number of dot cn registrations. This policy has been so far successful as the registry now ranks second worldwide just behind the dot com registry. This however has attracted loads of spammers and other illegal users, which has made the .cn one of the less secure domain registries available. The new measures therefore are an attempt to address this issue and improve the overall reputation of dot cn domain names.

The new regulations are not retroactive, meaning domain names registered previously are not affected and their owners do not need to file an application. Also I would not say that they are 100% safe, and nobody can guarantee that some time from now, especially when renewing, they will not be required to file some type of registration. Already there is a crackdown on existing domain names with “incorrect” information, with domain owners required to update their information or run the risk to lose ownership of their domains…