Grandseeds

A Chinese unicorn with a long numeric domain


May 18, 2019 (Sat). What do you see in the number 10101111? You may think it has to do with something digital because the number consists of only 0 and 1. Well, the answer may surprise you, and it comes from a Chinese startup in the ride hailing industry.

Shen Zhou Zhuan Che (神州专车) is a chauffeured car service provider. Founded in 2015, it went IPO in just one year and recently also acquired German carmaker Borgward for $610 million. That's what I called a fast mover! Valued at more than $1 billion, the unicorn also has an English brand called "Ucar".

Now that you know the Chinese and English brands of the company, can you guess its corporate domain(s)? ShenZhouZhuanChe.com? SZZC.com? Ucar.com?

No, it's actually 10101111.com. A long numeric domain? Yes. What's the meaning of this number? If you want one, here are two suggestions from me: "want you, want you, want want want want" (要你要你要要要要) and "want to win, want to win, easy easy easy easy" (要赢要赢易易易易).

Actually, the domain has no meaning except that it just happens to be the phone number riders can call to book a chauffeured car. These days, however, it's more likely that riders will just use the company's app to book a ride than using the phone number.

The company does not seem to own ShenZhouZhuanChe.com, SZZC.com, and Ucar.com, which are not being used. Since the company already has global presence, Ucar.com may be the best domain upgrade because English is the global language and .com the global extension. They can even boldly use "Ucar" both inside and outside China, following the example of unicorn startup VIPKid.

EnglishDotCom may be the best domain strategy for any Chinese startup with a global vision.

Join me on LinkedIn for further discussion.