China’s national country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) manager CNNIC held its annual meeting yesterday in the city of Guangzhou, and confirmed the extraordinary growth seen in the past year in the domain industry.
Of its own TLD, .CN, it claimed this was now the world’s largest country code at 16.36 million registrations. According to .COM operator Verisign’s latest Domain Name Industry Brief which covered the third quarter of 2015, .CN was third behind Germany’s .DE and Tokelau’s .TK. So if true, CNNIC’s assertion to have since overtaken the competition confirms a trend many industry observers have commented on all through 2015: China is domain crazy once again!
Unsurprisingly, China’s registry has observed higher rates of use for .CN than for other TLDs. CNNIC reports that in China, 49% of .CN names see real use (i.e. in conjunction with a website or other Internet services such as email) compared to 37% for .NET, 32% for .COM and 18% for the new gTLDs.
This last figure implies relatively low market penetration of new gTLDs in China. A fact confirmed by the average renewal rate claimed for these new suffixes, which remain out of reach for most Chinese Internet users due to tough legislation prohibiting access to foreign TLDs. CNNIC says the renewal rate for new gTLDs in China is 58%. Much lower then than the industry average outside of China, where established TLDs like .COM reach 75% and some new gTLDs nudge 90%.
Analysing the current state of the Chinese market, CNNIC also showed its vision of a system which has been designed to boost financial investment in domain names. CNNIC’s “domain investment pyramid” has the registration market at its base, enabling a second level comprised of platforms set up specifically to trade in domain names whilst at the top are investment specialists structured very much like financial fund managers.