A Chinese domain name is a distinct on-line identifier, representing registrants’ value and orientation here in the mainland China. A foreign company which has set up its business network here, e.g. branch company, representative office, distributing channels etc., or is planning to expand its business scope to China’s market soon may deem a Chinese domain name containing the company’s brand name or relevant keywords is a very important way of enhancing its corporate image and promoting its commercial success in the Chinese market. CNNIC’s “.cn” Domain Name page, relates all useful information with regard to regulations and policies, registration procedures, etc. Applicants are highly encouraged to read through the website thoroughly. Note that there are some unaccredited Chinese companies, which falsely claim that they are able to provide same registration services, yet they are not under the administration of CNNIC and their services are unqualified. The China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) is the official Chinese government body with this responsibility. The CNNIC is a non-profit organization with English and Chinese language capability authorized by the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) to operate and administer China’s domain name registry for China’s country code Top Level Domain known as “.cn”. Based in Beijing, all .cn domain name registrations are centralized through the CNNIC. How to register a “.cn” domain name:
- More than 60 registrars are accredited by the CNNIC to undertake the registration of “.cn” Chinese domain names. Applications may be collected by other agencies around the country, but only the CNNIC in Beijing has the power to approve. The lists of accredited domestic registrars and overseas registrars are available on CNNIC’s website.
- Applicants can choose any one of those local registrars to carry out the registration in the People’s Republic of China. Some foreign applicants, e.g. foreign companies, may find it more convenient to turn to the accredited overseas registrars authorized to register .cn domain names outside of China.
- After the submission of the domain name registration form, it takes up to 15 days for CNNIC to review the application documents and render a decision. Generally, approval is fairly straightforward, as long as the domain name has not been registered and the related company exists. This is how local Chinese companies successfully register domain names without any documents from the original company.
- An important point to note is that brand name or trademark registration in China is independent from domain name registration. Brand name and trademark registration are administered by the Trademark Office of China (CTMO). Both registrations are on a first-to-file system. Applications from non-Chinese nationals must be made through an accredited agent. For more information, please visit the CTMO site.