.HK and .COM.HK are king in Hong Kong and IDNs are nowhere to be found


It has been twelve years since I have been to Hong Kong. In my early twenties I opened up distribution for Sonos in Hong Kong and used to be here all the time so it has been pretty exciting to see back and to see what’s changed and what has stayed the same. As usual one of the first thing that catches my eye whenever I leave the US is what domain name extension reins supreme and in Hong Kong it’s not .COM, it’s .COM.HK and .HK.

While there’s no doubt that .COM is a global TLD and yes, people around the world use .COM more than any other gTLD, it is incredible to see what a major force .COM.HK is here, and also not too surprising. I would say that so far 90% of the domain names I’ve seen so far in Hong Kong use .COM.HK or .HK, honestly – it’s everywhere.

It’s also interesting to see that while Chinese is the dominant language here, the URLs all use English characters, it certainly doesn’t seem to me like IDNs have really taken off yet. When I was here twelve years ago I remember meeting with people from the domain industry that live in Hong Kong and they were betting that IDNs were about to really take off. Given how much time has passed it really makes me wonder what kind of legs IDNs have.

At the same time, it’s also easy to forget that these are still the early days of the Internet and fifty yeas from now things will be different, the question is how long is it really going to take for IDNs to take off, and will they take off at all? Of course maybe I’m missing something, I’m definitely no expert when it comes to ccTLDs or IDNs and like I said, I haven’t been here in twelve years so if you’re reading this and thinking, “Morgan has no idea what he’s talking about” please comment below and share your experience!

This afternoon I’m grabbing lunch with Doron from Efty so I’m looking forward to talking with him about this as well since he lives here so definitely has a lot more expertise than me. Either way, it’s pretty interesting to see .COM.HK everywhere, I’ll continue to take more pictures of domain names here in Hong Kong so I can put together a more comprehensive post once I get back.

Okay, now time to head out for the day. As always, I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Peter September 13, 2017, 4:26 am

    Surprised the .cn is not high in the ranks.Do the HKnationals use Google or Baidu ?
    Wondered how true are these stats ? “Baidu has released the latest (April 2016 ) numbers on how Internet users come to a website Visit Method Percentage Direct 42.40% Referral 30.22% Search 24.27% Directory 2.34% Social media 0.77%” If true then long way to go to become search based competitive but inevitable that Baidu will get much stronger in time as was the case with Google ?

    • Doron Vermaat September 14, 2017, 11:03 pm

      Using a .cn for a Hong Kong business would be like using a .ca domain for a US-based business. Most people in Hong Kong use Google and Yahoo is still wildly popular for searching the web here as well.
      It’s important to understand that people speak Cantonese (and English) in Hong Kong while they speak Mandarin in Mainland China. There’s also a difference in written language as we use traditional Chinese in Hong Kong and they use Simplified Chinese in China.

      • Peter September 15, 2017, 4:10 am

        Thanks Doron, That makes sense now I understand Hong Kong as a cultural brand but not represented on the totem pole. FYGI my interest was/is in new technical words/terms that become global offer opportunities as generic brands as cultures evolve my bet is on “Cyber” superseding wangluo as the generic. Longtail game in-play for Cyber Anquan Cyber Crypto Cyber Suo Cyber Bxoxian I will see in due course.
        Time is information we don’t have.
        Time is our ignorance. [Rovelli]

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