Hidden opportunity behind Pinyin brands

Hidden opportunity behind Pinyin brands


Kassey Lee explores an opportunity for domain investors.

Graphic that says 'pinyin' in yellow type on purple background

If you don’t invest in Pinyin domains, does it mean you’ll miss out on the chance to sell domains to China? Well, here is a secret you may not have known: Chinese companies behind a Pinyin brand may acquire an English-based domain as they go global. Here is an example I came across during my recent end user research.

Chang Hong (长虹=long rainbow, literally) is not a startup. The consumer electronics manufacturer was founded way back in 1958. According to Wikipedia, it was “part of the 156 key projects that were aided by the Soviet Union” back in the old days. So, you may think it is a company too old to be outward-looking.

Chang Hong is a public company listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and ranked No. 113 on the 2019 Fortune China 500 list. It’s corporate domain in China is the brand-matching ChangHong.com.

In 2017, the company established CHiQ as its global brand and has been actively promoting it by sponsoring the Belgian national football team, German Borussia Dortmund football team, Australian Brisbane Lions team, Australian F1, and other events.

According to the Chang Hong site, the brand “CHiQ” is inspired by the French word “CHiC” which means fashion, beauty, and elegance. “CH” is the acronym for Chang Hong and “iQ” implies smartness. As a word, CHiQ means smart China, smart Changhong. It appears that the company acquired the brand-matching ChiQ.com in 2018 for its global site serving information in English.

Chang Hong shows us that a Chinese company with a Pinyin brand may also acquire an English-based brand and matching domain. In other words, there is demand for English-based domains in China. If you can find a well-funded Chinese company that can upgrade to your domain, bingo!

Be sure to read “Three steps to Chinese end user research” and then do your own end user research.

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