It’s official! China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has granted a license to .CLUB’s Beijing based wholly foreign-owned entity (WFOE) company, making .CLUB among the very first foreign registries of a new gTLD to be approved by the Chinese government. As you’re probably aware if you visit this blog, .CLUB is popular in China. We’ve been visiting China since January 2014, months before our official launch. Since then we’ve seen significant growth in registrations from domain investors in China with more than 400,000 domains having been registered there and more than US$2 Million in .CLUB premium name sales made to Chinese investors. Now, with one of only five formal government licenses for foreign domains, .CLUB names will be eligible for ICP (Internet Content Provider) numbers. An ICP number is required for every website hosted in mainland China.
According to our CEO, Colin Campbell, “the Chinese market is extremely important to us, and we’ve worked very hard at understanding how the regulatory system there works and how we can work with the government as it evolves.” He continued, “we’re very proud to be among the first foreign domain name registries approved. While we’ve already enjoyed some success in China, we now look forward to expanding the reach and popularity of .CLUB to the many businesses and entrepreneurs developing their online presence in China. Being an approved registry opens the door to great expansion for us in the Chinese market.”
Getting our government license was a complicated process and we were fortunate to have the great support of our technical partners such as Neustar, our great partner and our primary backend service provider, and ZDNS, our very important partner in China that provides the dual registry backend solution which MIIT accepted. We were also supported by our consulting partner Allegravita in both the U.S. and China.
Why .CLUB in China?
The word “Club” in English is widely used and recognized in China by existing clubs and small businesses, making .CLUB a logical and meaningful domain extension. With over 140 million .COM and .NET names and nearly 20 million .CN names already registered, businesses looking for good, brandable names need new choices such as .CLUB. Whether for existing clubs and organizations, retail loyalty programs, sports clubs, football, basketball, tennis, golf, running and swimming clubs, fan clubs, as well as entertainment clubs such as nightclubs and KTV clubs, a .CLUB web address is ideal for any Chinese business creating a community.
As part of the licensing process, .CLUB has established a dedicated office and team in Beijing, and we work closely with Chinese domain name registrars such as Aliyun Wanwang (Alibaba), West.cn, EJEE, Xinnet, and others.
In addition to .CLUB, the registries for .XYZ and .VIP were also granted their licenses.
This is a major accomplishment for our future as a leading global brand and we appreciate all the support of our partners here and in China.
You can read our full press release announcement here.