domain-names.jpgIf you want to get ahead in China, get a domain name ending in .cn. Even better, get a short and snappy one, just like Bank of China has done.

Instead of www.bank-of-china.com, the bank has adopted www.boc.cn, although the old dotcom address will work for the foreseeable future.

So far, 14 out of 20 Chinese banks have adopted .cn domain names. Being less sought after, they can have fewer characters and so be easy to remember.

Foreign banks in China are also catching on. Standard Chartered Bank uses a Chinese short domain address www.zhada.cn, based on its pinyin name.

Even if you are not planning to open a bank, a .cn domain name could be a wise investment. Any international business can register a .cn domain, even if they lack a physical presence in China.

As well as protecting an established brand name or corporate identity, marketing experts say a .cn domain puts Chinese customers at ease by appearing to give foreign businesses a “localised” Chinese presence.

And there are a lot of potential customers out there. China had 111m internet users at the end of 2005, according to eMarketeer. Europe has 233m internet users while the US had 175m.

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