Grandseeds

Domain upgrade is the name of the game in China


November 16, 2019 (Sat). The domain behavior in corporate China is quite similar to what we see in the west. Companies like to upgrade to shorter domains for a variety of reasons: such as better name, prestige, publicity, or going global. Let's look at some examples.

VIPshop.com is obviously not a top-notch domain for an ecommerce platform which is listed on New York Stock Exchange. The company Wei Pin Hui (唯品会) invested $2 million in 2013 to upgrade to VIP.com. Now, the domain "VIP.com" is also the company's brand name. Currently, VIPshop.com forwards visitors to VIP.com.

In 2014 mobile phone maker Xiao Mi (小米) acquired Mi.com for $3.6 million, even though it already owned the brand-matching XiaoMi.com. Now, XiaoMi.com points to the new corporate domain Mi.com. I think the reason for the upgrade is to go global. Mi.com is much easier to remember than XiaoMi.com outside China.

Internet security company Qihoo 360 (奇虎360) started out at 360Safe.com and then upgraded to 360.cn. In 2015, it invested a whopping $17 million to acquire 360.com. However, the company still uses 360.cn as its corporate domain and 360.com merely forwards visitors to the former.

Upgrade from Pinyin to acronym is also popular. Zhu Ba Jie (猪八戒 = a character in the novel Journey to the West) is a marketplace for logo design and other digital services. A few years ago, it changed its corporate domain from the brand-matching ZhuBaJie.com to the acronym domain ZBJ.com. Acronym may be easier to remember than Pinyin for consumers outside China, as illustrated in this case.

As you can see, Chinese companies like to upgrade to shorter .com domains. If you own a domain sitting in the upgrade path, your domain will be very valuable. Research is key to finding out such possibility.

Join me on LinkedIn for further discussion.