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discuss Why do Chinese companies and investors like numeric domain names?

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[This article comes from my colleague in our China branch, discussing why Chinese companies and investors prefer numeric domain names. He has mentioned multiple factors to me.]

To some domain investors who are not familiar with Chinese culture, they may not understand why Chinese companies use numeric domain names. In fact, numbers have a rich connotation in the Chinese language, forming a unique digital culture. This is closely related to the homophonic characteristics in the Chinese language, as well as social life, cultural development, and national psychology. The meaning of numbers in Chinese extends beyond domain names and also includes mobile numbers, house numbers, license plate numbers, etc. Most Chinese people seek numbers that align with their preferences.

From the perspective of Chinese people, numbers can be categorized into the following types based on different perspectives and application scenarios:

1、Homophony in Chinese
Due to some historical reasons, Chinese people have a tendency to associate numbers with "auspiciousness" or "avoidance of misfortune." Certain numbers are considered "auspicious" and have been associated with good luck. For example, numbers like "8," "6," and "9" have always had auspicious connotations. There are even expressions like "88发" (wealth), "66顺" (smoothly), and "长长99" (long-lasting). In the internet era, this homophonic culture has been taken to the extreme. For instance, numbers like "5," "7," and "3" in Chinese sound similar to words like "play," "net," "eat," "go," "up," and "business," respectively, making them favored by industries such as gaming, entertainment, tourism, catering, and e-commerce. Additionally, there are expressions like "520" meaning "I love you" and "1314" meaning "one's whole life."

2、year domain names
This type of domain name is primarily found in four-digit numbers, as the name suggests, corresponding to recent years. For example, if this year is 2023, then 2023.com can be considered a year domain name, and so on. Year domain names are also favored by many businesses as they can showcase a company's long-standing history of development. For instance, Dutch dairy company, Hyproca, uses the domain name 1897.com because their company was established in 1897.

3、city area code domain names
According to the data, China has over 300 city area codes, and many local portals prefer to use this type of domain name. For local residents, the area code of their hometown holds great significance. It serves as the most direct window into a city and is the most influential promotional brand, making it the preferred domain name for local portal platforms.

In addition, there are a total of 224 countries and regions in the world, each with its own country code. For example, China (0086), Malaysia (0060), Singapore (0065), Japan (0081), South Korea (0082), and so on. These international area codes are highly favored by companies in fields such as overseas studies, training, and immigration in China.

4、enterprise applications
Before the acquisition of 360.com, many people might have thought that there were not many companies using numeric domain names as their brand domains. They might have been more commonly held by collectors and investors. However, the reality is different. It is quite common for Chinese companies to use numeric domain names.

For example:
① 17173.com, a gaming website, meaning "let's play together";
② 1688.com, used by Alibaba;
③ 58.com, a classifieds website;
④ 163.com, used by NetEase;
⑤ 12306.cn, the ticketing website of China Railway Corporation;
⑥ And many more... I won't list them all.

Therefore, Chinese companies like numeric domain names, and Chinese investors are also fond of them. Often, we can see Chinese investors purchasing numeric domain names from other countries because numeric domain names have a larger market and more opportunities in China compared to other countries.

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