Mike Mackin asked me about registering a Domain Name in China so I did some research. Here are the results of my research.
Firstly, you may be aware of the new internet regulations here in China. If not here is some background.
...from the International Herald Tribune of October 3,
>"CHINA LAYS DOWN THE LAW ON INTERNET"
>Beijing - China published new regulations on Internet companies Monday that limit foreign investment, require strict surveillance against "subversive" content and threaten to close down any unlicensed operations.
>Internet content and service providers must keep records of all content that appears on their Web sites and all users who dial on to their service for 60 days, and hand the records to the police on demand, the rules state.
[When I registered with my ISP I had to provide personal details such as address and so I am very careful about what I look at and what I say...]
...from the Asian Wall Street Journal of October 4,
>Most [ISPs] already censure themselves. ...runs a program that searches for the name...[of the main guy of the large island to the east of the mainland] ... and deletes all information about him that doesn't come from a government source.
>Many Internet firms have accepted large amounts of overseas money, and it's not clear that the investment is legal because regulations governing foreign investment haven't yet been released.
>Beijing has promised to allow foreign companies to own 49% of Internet-content providers after it joins the World Trade Organisation...
>Although the regulations on foreign investment aren't yet complete, a widely circulated draft holds that foreign partners in "Internet and multimedia network services" must have an average telecommunications revenue of above $10 billion over the past two years, something that could bar most companies from China's market.
So it is not going to be easy to register a Chinese Domain as there must be a local partner who owns over 1/2 the company, regulations are stiff, and investment criteria are high.
Secondly, assuming you pass all of that, how do your register the domain name?? I emailed one of my friends here and got this reply..
>Hi. It's my pleasure to help you.
>To register a Chinese Domain Name, the following requirements should be met:
>1) The registrant must be a registered company or organization( I am not sure whether it should be registered in the Industrial & Commerce Administration Bureau of China or not);
>2) Chinese Domain Name are not allowed to sell or transfer for profit;
>3) The registrant should use their real name;
>4) Words such as "CHINA", "CHINESE", "CN", "NATIONAL" are not allowed to use in the domain name unless it is approved by the government;
>5) Well-known foreign country, region or city name, as well as foreign organization name are not allowed to use;
>6) Company names or trademarks, which are registered in China by others, are not allowed to use
>7) Words that are harmful to national, social or public interests are not allowed to use
>To apply for Chinese domain name, the following documents are required:
>1) Formal Application Form (stamped by the registrant);
>2) Letter of Certificate( Certifying that your company is applying for Chinese Domain Name, if you are applying through an agent, state it);
>3) Copy of Business License (stamped with company seal); If apply for ".org .cn", you must produce a certificate stating that the domain name is not for profit;
Normally, it will take 5 working days to get the domain name approved if all material required are submitted. Charge for Chinese Domain Name is RMB500/year (US$60 ish).
So, as with a lot of country's domain names a local presence is required although here the guidelines are a little stricter. However, whilst it is not easy, I do understand why the Chinese have implemented these steps in their continual battle against corruption.
In fact I appluad the Chinese Government to a certain extent for their control over domain names, especially not being able to sell domain names. Cybersquatting in China is simply not possible, a good thing in my opinion.
However, be aware that the rules could change overnight. As an example, it has already happened with the Network Marketing business.
A reputable company started operations in China with a flurry of business. Unfortunately a large number of individuals OUTSIDE that company started to jump on the bandwagon by conning the public and so the whole industry was shut down overnight. The government then worked with the original company to rework rules and guidelines and the industry was restarted. Alas not enough rules and a second shutdown. A second restart resulted in a now stable business.
Whilst these events were simply a necessary formality to clean up an industry that was taken out of hand by unscrupulous individuals, a lot of people were temporarily out of business overnight; scary!
Having said all that, the opportunities for Online business in China are BIG, HUGE. The amounts of money some people are pouring onto dotcoms is astounding. Unfortunately a number of Chinese dotcoms could already qualify for RCs dotcom morgue, and a lot more probably will, but the potential is amazing.
Also, some of the most creative and productive minds are here. It is really becoming a hotbed of activity.
So, the question really is, do you have enough business flow to qualify as a foriegn investor, do you want to go onshore, or should you keep it offshore? If it is a "small" venture you really have no option. If it is "big", you have a completely different mindset and will view any possible overnight losses as simply operating expenses.
If you have any questions I will try to answer them but please understand my cicrumspectness should the needs arise (I live in here...).