It does not make sense. I just read that China Citic Bank recently changed its site from Bank.ecitic.com to Citicbank.com. Wait a minute. Another .com again? Wasn’t .citic launched two years ago? Why would an important member of the Citic group not reside on their own land (.citic) but still choose to live under somebody else’s roof (.com)?
According to its own description, China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC) is the largest conglomerate in China. In 2015, Citic ranked 186th in Fortune Global 500. This means Citic is an influential leader in China’s corporate world and its domain strategy certainly affects other Chinese companies.
The group launched .citic and .中信 (citic in Chinese) in early 2014. When .citic was launched, they also changed their corporate site Citic.com to redirect to Limited.citic. Two years later, how is the transition going? Limited.citic no longer resolves and their corporate site is back to Citic.com. Visitors are no longer introduced to .citic.
In place of Limited.citic, Group.citic is operating. The site has 39 links to its member companies. Among them, 51% are still on .com and only 36% are on .citic (the rest being .cn). In other words, most member companies have not moved to .citic in over two years.
A Baidu search on the term “中信” (citic) no longer shows any .citic (nor .中信) in the first page of 50 results. Instead, most entries contain .com. Only 8,790 pages of .citic are indexed in Baidu and no .中信 is indexed. Again, this shows the dot brand is not visible in searches.
Based on these facts, here is my conclusion: a very influential leader in China has lost its interest in .brand and moved back to .com. Together with my daily observation of the lack of .brand in domain news, I think the future of .brand in China is dim.
Actually, I never understand how .brand can succeed when its design goes against consumer habit: going from the general to the specific. For example, in English speaking countries consumers say Amazon news, Amazon books, and Amazon TV. It becomes natural to use extensions such as Amazon.news, Amazon.books, and Amazon.tv. In China, the same rule applies. 百度新闻 (Baidu news), 百度图片 (Baidu pictures), and 百度视频 (Baidu video) are natural, so the company name should be positioned on the left side of the dot.
Here is one more thing. This study also gives us confidence that .com will continue to be the prime “commercial real estate” in the digital world of China.