Is registrar migration a harbinger of things to come in the China domain market?

Is registrar migration a harbinger of things to come in the China domain market?

Chinese companies might move their domains from the United States.

wechat logo shows two text clouds with eyes reported on September 24 that has recently moved from the USA-based registrar MarkMonitor to the China-based eName. This happened amid the worsening relationship between the USA and China.

Naturally, you may wonder whether it is just a single case or other Chinese companies are also following. So, I selected the top 20 companies from the “2019 Top 100 Chinese Internet Companies Report” and checked their Whois records. Here is the result.

Rank Company Domain Registrar Location
1 Alibaba Alibaba Cloud China
2 Tencent (Teng Xun) MarkMonitor USA
3 Baidu MarkMonitor USA
4 Jing Dong MarkMonitor USA
5 Ant Financial Alibaba Cloud China
6 Wang Yi (Netease) MarkMonitor USA
7 Meituan eName China
8 Toutiao eName China
9 360 Total Security eName China
10 Xin Lang (Sina) Xin Net China
11 Pinduoduo 22net China
12 Sou Hu (Sohu) MarkMonitor USA
13 eName China
14 Su Ning eName China
15 Xiao Mi Network Solutions USA
16 Xie Cheng (Ctrip) eName China
17 Yong You (Yonyou) Alibaba Cloud China
18 Cheetah Mobile eName China
19 Autohome Alibaba Cloud China
20 Mango TV Alibaba Cloud China

70% of the domains are located in China and all of them have been there for quite a while. In other words, there is no recent migration of domains from the USA to China. You may notice that Alibaba Cloud and eName are the preferred Chinese registrars. (Note that Alibaba Cloud is known as Aliyun in China, which also owns HiChina.)

Although both and are owned by Tencent, the former has moved but not the latter. It’ll be interesting to see if will eventually move to China.

At this stage, the registrar migration does not signal any change to come. However, if Chinese registrants became worried about any sudden action by the US government, they would certainly move their domains back to China.

Although unlikely, in the extreme case, Chinese companies may be motivated or even ordered to use only .cn domains for operation inside China. If this happened, it would greatly dampen demand for .com domains because currently .com is still the preferred extension in China.

In this age of uncertainty, anything can happen, so it’s important to keep a close watch of the China domain market if you want to sell your domains there.

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