Grandseeds

The unexpected can happen in China


September 21, 2019 (Sat). When you enter the China market, you need to translate your brand into Chinese and hopefully acquire its matching domain. Right? This is common knowledge after all, and the local should know better. However, just like many things in life, there are exceptions.

Look at the global brands in China. Disney becomes 迪士尼 (Dishini); Sony is 索尼 (Suoni); and Louis Vuitton has a long name 路易威登 (Luyi Weideng). When Amazon entered China in 2004, it adopted the Chinese brand Yamaxun (亚马逊) and acquired the matching domains Yamaxun.com and Yamaxun.cn. It even secured many Chinese language domains such as 亚马逊.中国 (Yamaxun.china), 亚马逊.在线 (Yamaxun.online), and even 亚马逊.我爱你 (Yamaxun.iLoveYou).

Many domain investors assume that Chinese companies don't use English-based brands and domains. That is not true. Actually, there are even Chinese startups which have no Chinese brands. Their English brands are their Chinese brands.

A good example is VIPKID. This fast-growing education startup helps Chinese children learn English directly online from teachers in the United States. Founded in 2013, this $3 billion company operates from VIPKID.com and is expanding to Japan, Korea, and other countries. The brand "VIPKID" is used both inside and outside China.

PingPong provides payment services to sellers on Amazon, Wish, Shopee, and other ecommerce platforms to easily process cross-border transactions. Founded in 2014, this Hangzhou-based fintech startup has received total funding of more than $120 million, but you will not be able to find any Chinese brand on its corporate domain PingpongPayments.com.

Keep is a sports startup whose popular app helps users exercise with fun and make new friends. The app was launched in 2015 and today it has more than 160 million users in China and across the world. "Keep" is both its English and Chinese brands, and the corporate domain is Keep.com.

As you can see from these successful Chinese companies, having no Chinese brands apparently have not hindered their growth in China. Why? Because a large number of Chinese consumers can understand simple English, and these brands use simple English.

There you have it -- simple English is the key. The implication for domain investors is that domains based on simple English words has potential in China.

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