In July this year, CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center) released their latest statistics on internet in China. This survey started in 1998 and has been conducted twice a year every year. The information gives us insight into China’s internet in general and domain names in particular.
According to the survey, China’s internet population has grown to 710m. This represents only slightly over 50% of the Chinese population, and still leaves a lot of room for significant growth in China’s internet. Large growth in domain names can be expected too as more and more businesses go online to cater to the increasing internet population.
The total number of domain names has increased to 37.0m. If you look at the growth rate, it’s really spectacular. At 19.2% in just 6 month, this indicates very high growth and therefore many opportunities in the domain business.
Now let’s look at the breakdown in details.
Obviously, .cn takes the largest share of the domain market. However, if you remember domain sales in past years, we know .com commands the highest prices. So while .com is not king in terms of volume, it is still king in terms of prestige and prices in China. There is no indication yet that such position will change any time soon.
Interestingly, even though we don’t read much about .net in Chinese domain news, this extension surprisingly takes up the 3rd place with over 1m domain names in China. However, with the onslaught of new extensions, I’m not sure .net can still hold its position in the next survey.
The chart shows Chinese IDN extensions have not received much welcome in China yet, even though culturally Chinese consumers remember company and product names by their Chinese names. This puzzles me and I don’t have any answer yet. Maybe there’s a lack of promotion of Chinese IDN.IDN domain names, or maybe there are technical issues such as the dot (.) between the name part and the extension being an ascii but not Chinese character.
Overall, I see the Chinese domain market still in its growth period and will offer a lot of opportunities to investors both inside and outside China.