Dynadot

information A list of resources to help the Western domainer with Chinese domaining

Spaceship Spaceship
There is a lot of discussion and buying and selling by Western domain owners that center around Chinese themes, 4L.com without aeiouv, 4 to 6 number.com, etc. Some of the others center around the JS88888 or HG999 type stuff, and I have been seeing some sales related to LLNN.com which I have spent some time on over the last two weeks.

I have compiled some information from sources that will hopefully help you understand certain trends and culture. I will say some of the sources I found do contradict a bit but at least you have the full playbook to read and take from it what you need, and it can help you to delve deeper.

Patrick Zein at Zein.se has a site that deals with Mandarin Phonetics. This site is helpful in understanding pinyin combinations, so you can see the more popular combinations and understand what makes sense and what does not.



Next up is ChinaSmack.com and this site actually goes into Internet acronyms and slang. You may have a combination that you think is a good Chinese combo and may see that it also means something a bit dirty or disrespectful. If you are getting traffic to a domain name, this might help you to understand why people are coming there.

An example:
250

noun/adjective.
A foolish person who is lacking in sense but still stubborn, rude, and impetuous.

Bookmark the site to refer back to when you need info.



Someone in Hong Kong told me to check out the provincial codes as possibly one part of the process around the names we see sell like hg899.com or pj836.com, etc. Someone else explained that when you look at 4L.com the Chinese break them up into sets of 2 for an acronym, so with BJXL.com the BJ is focused on Beijing and the XL could be a company name or acronym.

BJ     Beijing Municipality
TJ     Tianjin Municipality
HE     Hebei Province
SX     Shanxi Province
NM     Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
LN     Liaoning Province
JL     Jilin Province
HL     Heilongjiang Province
SH     Shanghai Municipality
JS     Jiangsu Province
ZJ     Zhejiang Province
AH     Anhui Province
FJ     Fujian Province
JX     Jiangxi Province
SD     Shandong Province
HA     Henan Province
HB     Hubei Province
HN     Hunan Province
GD     Guangdong Province
GX     Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
HI     Hainan Province
CQ     Chongqing Municipality
SC     Sichuan Province
GZ     Guizhou Province
YN     Yunnan Province
XZ     Tibet Autonomous Region
SN     Shaanxi Province
GS     Gansu Province
QH     Qinghai Province
NX     Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region
XJ     Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
HK     Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
MC     Macau Special Administrative Region
TW     Taiwan Province *

You want to check each one out if you are going to be buying names based on each region; for example, XZ sounds like a good Chinese combo: it represents Tibet in the codes so there might not be a ton of business activity. However, I don't know for sure because I am not a native, but I would think that a more spiritual area, focused on monks and maybe hiking. Again, giving you the info to delve deeper.



MessageNote.com put together an interesting article on numbers. I was looking to delve deeper than just 0 through 9 but get into 2,3 and 4 number combos, because a person new to all this thinks, "oh 4 is bad and 8 is great." But 5 in front of 4 is actually good and 5 in front of 8 is not so good. Then it also depends which area of China you are talking about; I have found mixed messages on the number 7. I find many domainers just say "CHINA." Well it is a very big place with not a universal meaning for just about anything across the whole population.

From the article:

Best numbers to combine with number 7 are 2 and 8.

72 and 78 sound the same as “certainly easy” and “prosperous for sure” respectively in Cantonese.

BUT try to avoid putting a 7 before unlucky numbers like 4:

74. They sound like “dead for sure.”

Good Combinations

The numbers that start with 1,2,3,6 and 8 or a combination will always sound lucky.

8, 18, 28, 38, 48, 54, 68, 80, 84, 88, 99, 168, & 108 are all good numbers.

You can choose which you like, but try to have the number balanced with yin and yang energies.

For example: 3388, 1618, and 1328 are all very auspicious, because they have a combination of two yang numbers and two yin numbers.

Such combinations are balanced and very lucky to have them in your life.

One thing of note the author did not look to be Chinese. Now, that is not saying they can't be spot on in their information; I just wanted to note that as someone who is not native Chinese may have a different take on some things.



YellowBridge.com is another excellent source for Pinyin rules and there is a ton of info to help with combinations.

Pinyin Rules: Initials, Finals, and Tones
A Mandarin syllable consists of three components: an initial, a final, and a tone.

Pinyin uses the same letters as the English alphabet except for the letter v plus the addition of ū. All of the consonants represent basically the same sound that they have in English with the following exceptions:
  • The letters b, d, and g are really the unaspirated versions of p, t, and k. This simply means that they are pronounced in the way the letters p, t, and k are pronounced after the letter s (as in spy, sty, and sky). The difference is subtle enough that, unfortunately, many Chinese phrasebooks do not bother to point out this crucial difference.
  • The letters q, x, z, and c are pronounced more like the letters ch, sh, ds, and ts in cheap, she, suds, and cats, respectively.
  • The letters zh, ch, sh, r are known as the retroflex initials, meaning that they should be pronounced with the tongue curled backwards.
Since pinyin was designed to represent phonetics, it is entirely consistent on how combination s or initials and finals should be pronounced. There are, however, a few conventions and shortcuts that you should be aware of.



TravelChinaGuide.com does an excellent breakdown of each number 1 through 9 and paying attention to what numbers sound like they are important. For example, I had someone email me an opinion on a name that was a mix of numbers and letters: it had 888 so he thought it was great but the two letters formed a very negative word so it would be worthless.

In China, it is customary to regard even numbers as being more auspicious than odd numbers. So, gifts are given in even numbers for the celebration of all occasions. Number 8 has long been regarded as the luckiest number in Chinese culture. With the pronunciation of 'Ba' in Chinese, the number 8 sounds similar to the word 'Fa', which means to make a fortune. It contains meanings of prosperity, success, and high social status too, so all business men favor it very much. Moreover, in some areas of China, people prefer to pay much more money for a telephone number with 8 in it. They also favor residences on the eighth floor of buildings. In 1990s, a vehicle identification number with 8 was once auctioned off for 5 million Hong Kong dollars.



An academic study is found here courtesy of LanguageAtInternet.org

This article examines the use of Pinyin acronyms on the Chinese Internet, with a focus on their use as a strategy for producing taboo language in online interaction. The popularization of the Internet and the high penetration of Internet use among young users in Mainland China have given rise to numerous new sociolinguistic phenomena regarding the official language of the country, Mandarin Chinese, among them Pinyin acronyms, which are the combination of initials of Romanized Chinese words. According to the results of a questionnaire administered in this study, young Chinese Internet users mainly attribute the invention and conventionalization of Pinyin acronyms to overcoming the limitations of Pinyin input to enhance efficiency, softening the effect of taboo language, and defying the keyword-filtering mechanism of Chinese Internet censorship during online interaction.



NewRepublic.com published an article with some insight to numbers back in 2014.

In the U.S., you really only have to remember two long numbers, ever: Your phone number and your Social Security number. In China, you’re constantly barraged by digits: QQ numbers (QQ is China’s most popular chat service), email addresses, and even URLs. For example, the massive online retailer Jingdong Mall is at jd.com or, if that takes too long to type, 3.cn. Check out 4399.com to see one of China’s first and largest online gaming websites. Buy and sell used cars at 92.com. Want to purchase train tickets? It’s as easy as 12306.cn.



Takeaways:

1) I am not a native Chinese speaker, and this info is just to help those who know nothing about Chinese naming schemes to have some info to go on.

2) Don't register domain names where you are completely lost. I see people doing it with the Hg888, XPJ111.com naming conventions.

3) Use whois history if something drops that you think is a value. I would say if a Chinese registrant that owns many domains owned it that would be a cautionary flag as that may mean, not guarantee, that the name is not valuable.

4) The letter V is completely meaningless when it comes to Pinyin as it does not exist.

5) When you get to 6N.com, patterns matter: those starting or ending with triple numbers are some often best. Of course, if you can get 4 or 5 of the same number in a row that would be great. Triples in the middle are not as desirable. Names like 4399.com have value, liquid value, and 439986.com is reg fee for a reason.
 
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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
This is great, thanks Raymond!
 
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I had a feeling 5 was good, nice post it is very hard to explain the Chinese stuff to non Chinese speakers.
 
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Thanks for the great info.Will surely help to bring in more higher ROI
 
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Do not know how to thank you! Great one!
 
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Bookmarked!! Awesome resource, so much to understand. I have yet to understand the dynamics of Chinese numbers and how they are used with domains, this is a good resource indeed. Thank you.
 
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This is good stuff! Look out for a ton of "appraisals of chinese domains" here soon LOL
 
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Thank you, @equity78 I'll try to translate..
dncomtickettt.png
 
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My heartfelt thanks for this resources and taking time to share. Learning more each day.
 
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Very valuable information. Thank you so much to the author and NP.
 
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I almost feel guilty for reading it. Seems like a lot of work went into it, thanks for sharing.
 
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Awesome, Thanks for taking time to write it. Very useful to newbie's like me.
 
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Even though it might seem attractive to jump on the bandwagon, I personally think it's never a good idea to invest in things that you don't know anything about. If you don't know the Chinese language and culture, you simply can't assess the value of your domain investments, also not with a guide such as the above.

In their 2Q SEC report, Verisign has yesterday published 3 major risks for their business - and one of them is that there are newly enforced regulations for business licenses for selling domains in China. It's unclear how that is going to impact things, but be aware of it.
 
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Even though it might seem attractive to jump on the bandwagon, I personally think it's never a good idea to invest in things that you don't know anything about. If you don't know the Chinese language and culture, you simply can't assess the value of your domain investments, also not with a guide such as the above.

In their 2Q SEC report, Verisign has yesterday published 3 major risks for their business - and one of them is that there are newly enforced regulations for business licenses for selling domains in China. It's unclear how that is going to impact things, but be aware of it.

The article is not a guide to assess value, it is to show people where to find information to learn more. Any domain investor ignoring China I would say is very foolish. The 4L.com market no vowels plus v there were a few smart people buying them up for $10, 18 months ago, I had people say to me "Do you believe those fools ?" Those names fetch 30 times that $10 on here let alone going to an end user or another liquid marketplace.

I agree and write everyday don't invest in what you don't know, it was number 2) at the end of the article,
2) Don't register domain names where you are completely lost. I see people doing it with the Hg888, XPJ111.com naming conventions.

But because you don't know it today, does not mean you can't learn it tomorrow.
 
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The article is not a guide to assess value, it is to show people where to find information to learn more. Any domain investor ignoring China I would say is very foolish. The 4L.com market no vowels plus v there were a few smart people buying them up for $10, 18 months ago, I had people say to me "Do you believe those fools ?" Those names fetch 30 times that $10 on here let alone going to an end user or another liquid marketplace.

I agree and write everyday don't invest in what you don't know, it was number 2) at the end of the article,
2) Don't register domain names where you are completely lost. I see people doing it with the Hg888, XPJ111.com naming conventions.

But because you don't know it today, does not mean you can't learn it tomorrow.

I agree on most of your points. I wrote my message mainly to provide a word of caution given all the positive feedback on your useful article.
 
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I have been compiling a list of email inquiries from China for my LLLL.com domains over the last three months:
Inquiries concentrate on less than 20% of my Chinese Premiums, with most domains that get one inquiry getting several. Maybe 2% of my domains get half the inquiries. I have raised the prices for those domains a lot.
Those that send a lot of emails seem mostly to want certain domains that start with the letters B, C, D. I notice that numbers starting with 1 or 2 sell higher, maybe this is similar.
A very few want domains with "A". "S" at the end is popular. Double letters are popular, but my two with ABAA pattern get very little attention despite good letters.
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I counted the letters for the Chinese Premium LLLL.com domains listed om NameBio that sold for $1000 to $2000 in the last 2 months. It is a small sample but perhaps a decent first approximate of letter quality. I note there were only a handful of sales $2-5K but many more >5K. Many of the higher priced names were undersold gems IMHO.
So there are buyers at some price points and not at others.

Letter distribution - LLLL.coms sold for $1000-$2000: (the few duplicate letters were counted as 2)
B=5
C=10
D=4
F=9
G=4
H=7
J=8
K=9
L=9
M=8
N=7
P=8
Q=5
R=2
S=12
T=5
W=8
X=5
Y=13
Z=14
Some interesting things here, but remember it's a small sample (38 domains).
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Questions (to anyone):
I have heard there are two very different Chinese dialects, Mandarin and Cantonese, and many smaller ones. Is the PinYin spelling of ordinary words different also? This would mean that different parts of China would want different domains - perhaps at different times.
It seems most of the domains I have sold to China have stayed with the buyer, have not been quickly flipped. How long a term are Chinese investors in general planing to hold their domains?
Does a provincial code work at the end of a LLLL such as LLBJ?
 
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I have been compiling a list of email inquiries from China for my LLLL.com domains over the last three months:
Inquiries concentrate on less than 20% of my Chinese Premiums, with most domains that get one inquiry getting several. Maybe 2% of my domains get half the inquiries. I have raised the prices for those domains a lot.
Those that send a lot of emails seem mostly to want certain domains that start with the letters B, C, D. I notice that numbers starting with 1 or 2 sell higher, maybe this is similar.
A very few want domains with "A". "S" at the end is popular. Double letters are popular, but my two with ABAA pattern get very little attention despite good letters.
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I counted the letters for the Chinese Premium LLLL.com domains listed om NameBio that sold for $1000 to $2000 in the last 2 months. It is a small sample but perhaps a decent first approximate of letter quality. I note there were only a handful of sales $2-5K but many more >5K. Many of the higher priced names were undersold gems IMHO.
So there are buyers at some price points and not at others.

Letter distribution - LLLL.coms sold for $1000-$2000: (the few duplicate letters were counted as 2)
B=5
C=10
D=4
F=9
G=4
H=7
J=8
K=9
L=9
M=8
N=7
P=8
Q=5
R=2
S=12
T=5
W=8
X=5
Y=13
Z=14
Some interesting things here, but remember it's a small sample (38 domains).
--------------------
Questions (to anyone):
I have heard there are two very different Chinese dialects, Mandarin and Cantonese, and many smaller ones. Is the PinYin spelling of ordinary words different also? This would mean that different parts of China would want different domains - perhaps at different times.
It seems most of the domains I have sold to China have stayed with the buyer, have not been quickly flipped. How long a term are Chinese investors in general planing to hold their domains?
Does a provincial code work at the end of a LLLL such as LLBJ?

I think Pinyin just for Mandarin. http://www.quora.com/Why-isnt-there-a-system-like-pinyin-for-learning-Cantonese
 
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To elaborate a bit on this, there are actually 4 major different Cantonese pinyin systems (more if you count in less popular ones, as well as some geared towards the romanization of the type of Cantonese spoken in China, which is slightly different than the one in Hong Kong), where 2 of them are popular for learners of Cantonese: “Yale romanization of Cantonese” and “Jyutping”. Textbooks tend to use one of these, or made-up systems created solely for that particular textbook (these tend to be inaccurate). Neither of these are particularly suitable for transliterating business names, and are mainly useful for studying how to pronounce the words. Previously, Cantonese pinyin did not use to be part of the education system in Hong Kong, but it has been included in recent years. The version they use is similar to Jyutping (but not completely the same), since each word is followed by a number indicating the tone i.e. nei5 hou2 = hello. The "5" indicates low-rising tone, and the "2" a high-rising tone. In Yale pinyin it would look like this = Néih hóu, which indicates the same tones. Actually the nei/neih is pronounced lei, and the h in the latter only indicates that the rising tone is in the lower spectrum of the tone register, and there is actually no “h” sound at the end. Cantonese has 7 to 9 tones, 6 of them essential, so it is a bit more complicated to create a pinyin system for it compared with putonghua which only has 4 tones. Jyutping can indicate 6 tones, yale romanization 7 tones, and the “official” cantonese pinyin 9 tones (tones 7-9 here are similar to tones 1, 3 and 6 in other systems - high mid and low - so these are usually not included elsewhere.

Due to the international nature of Hong Kong, and the history of colonization under Britain, most businesses in Hong Kong use English domain names and company names. Instead of transliterating business names, companies will usually have a Chinese name, and an English translation of the name. Only some smaller businesses that don’t have an English name use a pinyin version of their name, but these romanizations tend to not follow any of major pinyin systems, and instead they seem to be loosely transliterated by the businesses themselves. 80% + of SME’s in HK do not have a website, so this market using pinyin domains is not very big, and there is no main pinyin system to “invest” into. Numerical domains are used at times, but are nowhere near as popular as in China, and I think pretty none of the most popular sites in HK use a pure numerical domain.

Also, since the population of HK is about 7 million, compared to china’s 1350 million, the market is quite small, although the GDP per capita is much much higher, and there is a lot of business going on. There are also millions of Cantonese speakers in South China, but in business and commerce on a national level, they would use putonghua.

Because of all these factors, it seems better to focus numerical/pinyin investments towards the Mainland China market only. I think the best investment opportunity into Hong Kong related domains are 4L HK+LL domains. Lots of companies in HK use “Hong Kong Keyword Keyword” as their company name, and the HKLL.com abbreviation as their company website.
 
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To elaborate a bit on this, there are actually 4 major different Cantonese pinyin systems (more if you count in less popular ones, as well as some geared towards the romanization of the type of Cantonese spoken in China, which is slightly different than the one in Hong Kong), where 2 of them are popular for learners of Cantonese: “Yale romanization of Cantonese” and “Jyutping”. Textbooks tend to use one of these, or made-up systems created solely for that particular textbook (these tend to be inaccurate). Neither of these are particularly suitable for transliterating business names, and are mainly useful for studying how to pronounce the words. Previously, Cantonese pinyin did not use to be part of the education system in Hong Kong, but it has been included in recent years. The version they use is similar to Jyutping (but not completely the same), since each word is followed by a number indicating the tone i.e. nei5 hou2 = hello. The "5" indicates low-rising tone, and the "2" a high-rising tone. In Yale pinyin it would look like this = Néih hóu, which indicates the same tones. Actually the nei/neih is pronounced lei, and the h in the latter only indicates that the rising tone is in the lower spectrum of the tone register, and there is actually no “h” sound at the end. Cantonese has 7 to 9 tones, 6 of them essential, so it is a bit more complicated to create a pinyin system for it compared with putonghua which only has 4 tones. Jyutping can indicate 6 tones, yale romanization 7 tones, and the “official” cantonese pinyin 9 tones (tones 7-9 here are similar to tones 1, 3 and 6 in other systems - high mid and low - so these are usually not included elsewhere.

Due to the international nature of Hong Kong, and the history of colonization under Britain, most businesses in Hong Kong use English domain names and company names. Instead of transliterating business names, companies will usually have a Chinese name, and an English translation of the name. Only some smaller businesses that don’t have an English name use a pinyin version of their name, but these romanizations tend to not follow any of major pinyin systems, and instead they seem to be loosely transliterated by the businesses themselves. 80% + of SME’s in HK do not have a website, so this market using pinyin domains is not very big, and there is no main pinyin system to “invest” into. Numerical domains are used at times, but are nowhere near as popular as in China, and I think pretty none of the most popular sites in HK use a pure numerical domain.

Also, since the population of HK is about 7 million, compared to china’s 1350 million, the market is quite small, although the GDP per capita is much much higher, and there is a lot of business going on. There are also millions of Cantonese speakers in South China, but in business and commerce on a national level, they would use putonghua.

Because of all these factors, it seems better to focus numerical/pinyin investments towards the Mainland China market only. I think the best investment opportunity into Hong Kong related domains are 4L HK+LL domains. Lots of companies in HK use “Hong Kong Keyword Keyword” as their company name, and the HKLL.com abbreviation as their company website.

I did have an inquiry on a HK App domain and they did say we are not like the mainland when it comes to domain names. We discussed the app name and then a couple LLNN.com.
 
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