June 22, 2019 (Sat). A reader recently commented that he sees Chinese companies advertising products or services on Google but not interested in acquiring the corresponding domains. In other words, suppose the product advertised is blanket, this means the Chinese advertiser does not own Blanket.com.
To understand this issue, we need to look at the big picture – the current state of domain usage in China. Yes, it's been over 30 years since the first domains were released in 1985, but domain adoption still appears to be in its early stage in China. Just look at the following numbers.
There are about 92 million companies but only 39 million domains are registered in China. Going further, there are only 5 million websites. In other words, less than half of the Chinese companies own a domain and only 5% of them have a website. This shows that China is still in its infancy when it comes to having a digital address on the internet.
Of course, some of the biggest Chinese companies have gone deep and operate product/service domains. For example, Alibaba owns its corporate domain Alibaba.com, and it also operates product/service domains such as AliSports.com for its sports economy, AliYun.com for its cloud services, and AliTrip.com for its tour services.
In the case of Alibaba, note that the preference seems to be product/service brand domains but not product/service name domains such as Sports.com or Trip.com, the usage of which I have not come across easily in China. It may be because companies prefer promoting their product brands rather than generic names.
In conclusion, use of domains is still in early stage in China. Many Chinese companies are yet to own their corporate domains before they can go deeper into product/service domains.