I read Chinese domain news almost every day and often I find interesting things hidden in the news. Recently, I came across the news that a Chinese government agency is using an English domain name. This is quite unusual for a country with rich culture and history because national pride always takes priority.
Guo Wu Yuan (国务院 = The State Council) is the chief administrative authority of China. It consists of the heads of each governmental department and agency, and is one of the three power centers in China — the other two being the Communist Party of China and the People’s Liberation Army. Guo Wu Yuan’s website enables the Chinese government to inform its citizens of major news, events, and government policies.
Let me imagine how the agency decided a domain name for their official website. First, the domain extension. They could choose one of the mainstream extensions in China: com or cn. .com falls into the American jurisdiction so is not suitable for a Chinese government agency. They settled on .cn.
Second, the name part. The common choices are brand-matching Guowuyuan and its acronym GWY. Guowuyuan is 3-pin with 9 letters, so Chinese citizens have no problem remembering this name. GWY.cn is even better for its shortness. The agency owns Guowuyuan.cn and could easily acquire GWY.cn which is not being used.
Instead, the agency picked GOV.cn which is the abbreviation for the English word “government”. Why does the Chinese government prefer an English name to names which are much more friendly to its citizens? I think in this instance the Chinese government cares more about the global audience than the domestic one.
If the Chinese government has a global view, then it’s logical for Chinese companies to follow suit and develop this global view. Translated to domain names, this mean simple, easy-to-understand English words will be popular and .com will remain the best extension in corporate China.