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Pinyin is the use of Roman letters to represent Chinese characters. Many Chinese companies use Pinyin to create corporate domain names in Roman letters. Investing in Pinyin names can be profitable, but there are some pitfalls that can get in the way. In this blog post, I'll provide some tips on researching Pinyin domain names.

The first thing to keep in mind is that while many Chinese people understand Pinyin, most do not use it in their daily lives. Chinese consumers think of a company or product name in terms of Chinese characters and not Pinyin words. As seen on Chinese news sites, most Chinese people prefer to consume information in Chinese characters.

With that in mind, let's look at the following ways that you might want to evaluate Pinyin domain names.


1. Ask the domain seller for the corresponding Chinese characters and meanings for the Pinyin name.

It's much easier to evaluate a Pinyin name when its Chinese characters are also included. You may also need to know the Chinese characters to help you explain the value of your domain to a potential Chinese buyer.

Most people will be able to understand the name with Chinese characters right away, while the Pinyin translation will take time. For example, a name such as “MeiLi” requires mental translation but its Chinese characters “美丽” can be understood instantly. So, I think it is important that you know the Chinese translation of a Pinyin name if you are thinking of buying it.


2. Research if there is more than one Chinese phrase that the Pinyin name represents.

Very often, one Pinyin name can represent several Chinese phrases.

For Example:
  • MeiLi: 美丽 (Beauty)
  • MeiLi: 魅力 (Charm)

The more Chinese phrases the Pinyin name can represent, the more end users you can potentially find. It will certainly help to know all of the possible meanings of your Pinyin name.


3. Make sure the Pinyin name makes sense.

I've seen some investors acquiring names ending with "de" (的) for the purpose of turning a noun into an adjective. Unfortunately, this does not always work, as the adjective only makes sense if there is an object attached to it. Many Chinese phrases can end with "de," which is fine, but there is a problem when you want "de" to refer to the character “的.”

For Example:
  • MeiLi.com: 美丽 (beauty) is a very good name.
  • MeiLiDeNuRen.com: 美丽的女人 (beautiful woman) still works despite its length.
  • MeiLiDe.com: 美丽的 cannot be translated properly, because "de" must be followed by an object for the name to be complete.

Usually, if I'm unsure about whether a Chinese phrase works, I enter it into Baidu, which tells me how the phrase is commonly used.


4. Familiarize yourself with terms such as single-pin, double-pin, 3-pin, and 4-pin.

These terms refer to the number of Pinyin words that are in a (domain) name. Each Pinyin word translates to a Chinese character, so double-pin names such as “MeiLi” contain two Pinyin words, which translates to two Chinese characters.

Here are some examples of single-pin through 4-pin names:
  • Le.com (乐) is single-pin
  • BaiDu.com (百度) is double-pin
  • RenRenDai.com (人人贷) is 3-pin
  • WeiYingShiDai.com (微影时代 ) is 4-pin

As with most domain names, I think that shorter Pinyin names are more valuable. Double-pin names are perhaps the most popular because Chinese companies tend to use two characters for their names. Very few companies use names longer than 4-pin because they are hard for consumers to remember.


5. Beware of competition from acronym domain names.

This is particularly true for names that are 4-pin or longer. For longer names, there are often acronyms, and companies may prefer to use the shorter acronym name. For example, 非常星梦网, which means "a dream to become a special star," is a talent discovery platform in China. Its matching Pinyin domain name is FeiChangXingMengWang.com, which is a 5-pin name still available for registration as of this writing. The company has chosen the acronym FCXMW.com for their corporate website. The domain name that they already have is shorter and easier to remember than the full Pinyin name, so they probably don’t have any interest in the 5-pin version of their name.


6. Beware of future competition from Chinese IDN.IDN domain names.

Many Chinese IDN extensions have been launched recently, such as .公司 (company), .中国 (China), and .世界 (world). It is possible that these extensions have the potential to dethrone Pinyin names and become the new standard in China. Chinese IDN.IDN domain names match the Chinese consumer habit of remembering company names by their Chinese characters, which might make them more appealing than Pinyin names. For example, 人人贷.公司 (everybodylends.company) is a Chinese three-character domain with a two-character extension that is much easier to remember than its Pinyin representation*: RenRenDai.com or RenRenDai.company.

* 公司 is GongSi in Pinyin, but GongSi is currently not a TLD; if .GongSi existed, .公司 would still be easier to remember for Chinese consumers.


7. Make sure your domain name is really a Pinyin name.

There are multiple ways to translate Chinese characters into Roman letters, and the method of translation varies by location. For example, NayHoh.com, NeeHau.com, and NiHao.com may all look like Pinyin names, and they all mean “hello,” but they are actually different variants for the same Chinese characters that are used in different places:
  • NayHoh (你好) is Cantonese, and mainly used in Hong Kong and Macau.
  • NeeHau (你好) is Mandarin, and mainly used in Taiwan.
  • NiHao (你好) is Pinyin, and mainly used in China.

Currently, China is the largest market among the three regions, so Pinyin names for China are the most interesting names to me. It’s also possible to look for Cantonese domain names that you might use to target buyers in Hong Kong or Macau, or Mandarin names for Taiwan.

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If you are thinking about registering Pinyin domain names, I hope these tips will help you. Even after researching a Pinyin domain name that you might acquire, it’s still a good idea to check with a Chinese native to see if your translations are correct and to gain any insight you can from them.



Follow me to learn more about Chinese domain names.

This blog post was inspired by @London555. Special thanks go to the NamePros editing team for their great support.
 
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
Impact
1,051
Using an IDN.IDN would hinder a company's ability to grow and expand internationally.

Pinyin names, short acronyms using the Latin alphabet, and numeric domains are better choices.

I look at a company on an IDN similar to a company using a second-tier domain name: if they're successful, they'll eventually upgrade their domain name to a better one (non-IDN).
 

London555

Top Contributor
Impact
893
Kassey-EXCELLENT article so thank you. As to #3 we are guilty as charged! We own Baoxiande.com which surprisingly when put into BIDU as you suggested does come up with all "insurance" even with the "de" and nothing past it but we also bought BaoxianDeChe.com which comes right up as "car Insurance" . As you've suggested we ran about 20 of our "pinyin" name by a Chinese domain expert-he felt our best one was zudeche.com (rental car) and just as you said in #3 the "de" has to be followed to be "complete". Also-he mentioned that the .co extension is becoming popular in China we own Luxing.co (travel) and I know you hit the "v"to get a "U" typo etc. but he said we should hold on to that re .co and could become valuable. Again-thank you this is a real learning process.
 

JayT

Restricted (85-100%)
Impact
871
Using an IDN.IDN would hinder a company's ability to grow and expand internationally.

Pinyin names, short acronyms using the Latin alphabet, and numeric domains are better choices.

I look at a company on an IDN similar to a company using a second-tier domain name: if they're successful, they'll eventually upgrade their domain name to a better one (non-IDN).

Most companies don't expect to deal internationally when starting. I quote Kassy: "Chinese IDN.IDN domain names match the Chinese consumer habit of remembering company names by their Chinese characters..."

It makes sense for a start-up to target their audience in the most memorable way possible. If they became International then buying an English domain + building an English site might be something they would pursue at that time.
 
Impact
5,488
Thanks for taking the time to assemble this info. As a community we are most fortunate to have you in our midst.
Thank you for the kind words. They motivate me to research and write, so now I blog daily on my site and weekly on NP.

Thanks for taking the time to assemble this info. As a community we are most fortunate to have you in our midst.
It's good to know one's work is being appreciated. It entourages me to do more. Thank you.

Very informative article and well researched.
I like to search things, which definitely helps.

Have you noticed any naming trends among China Corp. sites that operate on a global scale ?
(1) .com and .cn pair as foundation (2) very short and expensive name (there's a race going on in China to brag about which company has bought the most expensive domain name).

Using an IDN.IDN would hinder a company's ability to grow and expand internationally.

Pinyin names, short acronyms using the Latin alphabet, and numeric domains are better choices.

I look at a company on an IDN similar to a company using a second-tier domain name: if they're successful, they'll eventually upgrade their domain name to a better one (non-IDN).
Very good point. If you click the link at "consumer habit" in my post, you can read further and understand my thinking. I see .com being the center of the domain universe, surrounded by all sorts of extension acquired for different marketing purposes. Only their names are used but they all redirect back to the mother ship .com. Here's an imaginary example:

Mother ship:
Baidu.com

gTLD:
Baidu.news (news only)
Baidu.club (members)
Baidu.org (charity)
Baidu.app (mobile app)
etc.

IDN for each country as necessary:
百度.公司 (for China)
バイドゥ.会社 (for Japan)
etc.

We own Baoxiande.com which surprisingly when put into BIDU as you suggested does come up with all "insurance" even with the "de" and nothing past
Now that you have read my Pinyin post, from now on please include the Chinese characters for your Pinyin domain names. This will greatly help me save the time having to translate Pinyin back to Chinese characters. Thank you for you discussion, though. You have inspired me to study and then write this post.

One other interesting thing we're finding out about pinyin is that different words can mean pretty much the same thing
Not sure if I understand your point correctly. There are different Pinyin words that actually point to the same Chinese character, e.g.
Jiang -> 降
Xiang -> 降

It makes sense for a start-up to target their audience in the most memorable way possible. If they became International then buying an English domain + building an English site might be something they would pursue at that time.
Most companies don't expect to deal internationally when starting. I quote Kassy: "Chinese IDN.IDN domain names match the Chinese consumer habit of remembering company names by their Chinese characters..."
It makes sense for a start-up to target their audience in the most memorable way possible. If they became International then buying an English domain + building an English site might be something they would pursue at that time.
Since the Internet by its nature enables global trade, why not start with that perspective and get .com as well at the beginning?

DaikuanYinhang.com ( 貸款銀行 Dàikuǎn yínháng ) - Loan Bank
A bit long as 4-pin, but... they are big money words!
 
Impact
3,799
one more...

Chen-Mingyu.cn
Chen-Mingyu.com


Baidu : 百度为您找到相关结果约13,800,000个
Bing : About 391,000 RESULTS
Google : About 115,000,000 results

名誉[míng yù]
生词本
基本释义 详细解释
[honour;reputation]∶个人或集团的荣誉或威信;个人或集团的好名声;处于受公众尊敬或尊重的地位
这件事挽救了几位女士的名誉
[fame]∶对突出的成就的总的认可
名誉大


What does the name "Mingyu" mean?

M - is for mighty, your inner strength.
I - is for ideas, that you bring to life.
N - is for neatness, your orderly way.
G - is for goal, your eye on the future.
Y - is for yearn, your innermost desires.
U - i s for unite, you bring people together.


Chen-Mingyu ( Max ) is the richiest Kid in the world ...:roll:


https://lnkd.in/bgzXuwP

 

London555

Top Contributor
Impact
893
How are pinyin domains perceived in other extensions such as .xyz, .top, .club etc.. are they still sort after if the keyword is sort after? Thanks
For what it's worth I was told by a Chinese speaker that the .org extension is not bought very often in China-not sure as to the others.
 

168

Top Contributor
Impact
1,071
JayT -
It makes sense for a start-up to target their audience in the most memorable way possible. If they became International then buying an English domain + building an English site might be something they would pursue at that time.
Kassey Lee-
Since the Internet by its nature enables global trade, why not start with that perspective and get .com as well at the beginning?
(there's a race going on in China to brag about which company has bought the most expensive domain name)


.coms have become too expensive to acquire as a start-up. This is what fueled the use of country codes and now the new tlds. I noticed base registrations for 2 characters have tripled recently. for ex: 24.00 to 89.99
 
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4
Good article!!! But it can be hard for a non_Chinese speaking person to use the "tips"

For the educated Chinese, all Lee says is easy to understand and use. But for a non-Chinese speaking person, it can be very hard. For instance, when you buy a pinyin domain name, Lee suggests "Ask the domain seller for the corresponding Chinese characters and meanings for the Pinyin name". But in reality, how could you really understand what the seller tells you? What if the seller tries to fool you in order to sell his domain name for a higher price?:guilty:

The best thing a Non-English speaking domainer can do if he wants to invest in pinyin domain names and LLL.com and LLLL.com, is work with a Chinese speaking person who knows English, Chinese, all things Chinese, and the domain industry.:D


Speaking of LLL.com or LLLL.com, not all domain names of this sort have the same value. The difference can be huge. Domains like xdd.com can be worth much more than $76000, which is the current market price for LLL.com. :-o
 
Name Worth