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registering Chinese Domain Names

some info and market advice - LONG POST!!



2:34 am on Nov 2, 2000 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member woz is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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,

>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...).



1:48 pm on Nov 2, 2000 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Wow, thank you Woz! That is very interesting reading that is very hard to find anywhere else.


8:28 am on Nov 20, 2000 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Just came across [url=news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-202-3742890.html]this article[/url].

"China has mandated that only a handful of domestic companies may assign Chinese-language Internet addresses, striking a blow to the registration service launched last week by U.S.-based VeriSign."


1:10 am on Jan 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member woz is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

China is proposing changes to the registration rules for Chinese domains.


According to these amendments, authorities will:

1. Relax restrictions on domain name selections -- only those deemed harmful to public interests will be banned.

2. Simplify registration procedures -- all applications will be made online.

3. Grant individuals the right to register domain names.

4. Allow transfer of domain names.

5. Set up mechanisms to settle disputes on the registration and use of .cn names.

6. Separate registration from management.

7. Lower charges.


No 1 is promising but still very vague, no's 2 & 3 are both good news, no 4 - Enter the Chinese Cybersquatter!

I bet there will be a rush when the new rules are put into practice. Full article here [english.peopledaily.com.cn]



6:47 pm on Jun 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Do you have any comment upon these guys?

-Domain name registration in Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Korean and Japanese.

I understand that they have to wait for the new standard to be implemented to make it work. But do you guys believe this will be a hit? Is it any point booking domains with asian characters?


10:45 pm on Jun 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member woz is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member


These guys are new to me, thanks for finding them. As you probably know, they are a Swedish company with an office in Beijing, and "Powered" (read subcontracting to?) Speednames [Speednames.com].

It looks like a good idea, although, as you say, they are restricted by the same problems all "Character" names are at the moment in that the system is not yet inplemented.

Also, there is the running battle between CNNIC and NSI as to which system should be implemented. Bill and I had a long discussion about this over here [webmasterworld.com].

Hope this helps,



7:36 am on Jun 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks Woz. I read the thread with you and Bill after posting.
Story is that I was contacted by the swedish owners, who want me to help them with SEO strategy.
I understand that their USP is that they have local offices and that they accept chinese RMB currency.
But I have no clue to if they have a valid business idea, if it is going to work.
These threads have answered most of my questions, though so thanks again!


1:35 am on Jun 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Just a slight addendum to this thread...I talked with a company representative in Shanghai who claims that it's not necessary to physically host sites within China for .cn domain names. If what he said is true, that's good news for me. I may try and register a few just to see. The bad news is that this guy wants to charge me 700 RMB to point these domains to my servers for me...I may have to look around some more. Are there any other domain registrars in China that have an English interface?


8:56 am on Jun 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member woz is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Chinese business works on the "who you know" system rather than the "what you know" one we use (predominantly) in the west. (It is also a lot of "who you take to dinner et al...")

As I understand the situation, you cannot register a .CN domain online. You must do it on real paper, in triplicate and signed in blood! OK I am dramatising a little but there are a lot of legalities involved.

So you need to find someone who is an agent to process the paperwork for you.

How do you do that? - See paragraph one!



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