Could this be the next tipping point for the new gTLDs?

Stuart Fuller

Despite the huge growth in 2016 of new gTLD registrations from the Chinese market, there have always been restrictions on how most of the domain names can and can’t be used. Any domain name registrar wishing to operate in China needs a license from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) before it can allow any registrants in the country to activate the names.

So, what does this mean for domain registrants and the industry as a whole? Before gaining a license from MIIT, anyone living in China can register any Top Level Domain, but only certain registries can offer the ability to host content. So although the Chinese TLDs such as dotWang, dotXin and dotRen have provided full registration services for some time, the likes of dotVIP, dotClub and dotXYZ – all of which being in the top 10 of registered new gTLDs – have only been able to sell domain names but not authorize their use.

The news is that all three of those TLDs, run by Minds + Machines, dotClub and XYZ.Com LLC respectively, have been issued a license to operate a subsidiary within China. So, despite being under the watchful eye of the Chinese government – and subject to some of the most stringent regulations on the Internet – registrants can now publish web content.

During the early part of the summer, registration numbers in dotXYZ and dotVIP rocketed as both registries offered pricing promotions. It’s likely that we’ll see something similar in the next few weeks as the registries take advantage of the new license.

Verisign has already had its license approved, meaning that content can be published on dotCom domain names from within China. It is unknown whether any other new gTLD registries are planning on taking this route to boost Chinese registrations, but I’d imagine some of the bigger ones will be watching the next few weeks’ activity in China with interest.