A Chinese vision fund provider without a visionary domain
July 14, 2018 (Sat). I have been a fan of Softbank for a long time. Legend has it that in the early days Masayoshi Son once stood on a wooden fruit box and spoke with passion about his grand vision to his only handful of employees. In between the years, he rose from a small software distributor in Japan to become the 38th largest public company in the world. Last year, he stunned the investment circle by creating the world's largest technology fund: Vision Fund.
Naturally, it caught my attention when Financial Times reported recently that Hong Kong-based conglomerate China Merchants Group (招商局集团) "steams in to compete with SoftBank’s Vision fund". Certainly, China Merchants founders had a vision when they started in 1872, but whether they are as visionary as Softbank remains to be seen. At the least, the former is no match in the domain area: Softbank has brand-matching Softbank.com like many other global players but China Merchants does not.
The FT article refers the Chinese company as China Merchants, China Merchants Group, and CMG, yet none of the domains in these names belong to the company. ChinaMerchants.com and ChinaMerchantsGroup.com both have only a simple page with links to ads, and CMG.com forwards visitors to CoxMediaGroup.com (corporate domain of Cox Media Group in the USA).
China Merchants can also take the route of Jing Dong. The Chinese eCommerce giant started out using 360buy.com but soon they acquired JingDong.com and then went one step further by spending $5m in 2012 to upgrade to JD.com. Today, JD.com is the 3rd largest internet company in the world.
China Merchants needs to decide what their corporate brand is and then acquire its matching domain. Possible domain candidates are ChinaMerchants.com, ChinaMerchantsGroup.com, CMG.com, and even CM.com. Finally, they also need to up their $15b investment size in order to compete with Softbank's $100b vision fund.