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 .com.hk 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: .cn.com: 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 .com.cn, furthermore it is not popular in mainland China.
#4: cn.yourdomain.com or china.yourdomain.com: 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: yourdomaincn.com or yourdomainchina.com: 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.