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February 29, 2016 (Mon)

Is it OK not to Follow Pinyin Rule?


蜜芽宝贝 (Mi Ya Bao Bei) is the largest vertically integrated baby products ecommerce site in China. It's present in Hong Kong and Japan, and also has partnership agreements with Nestle, Mead Johnson, and Wyeth. Last year, it rebranded from 蜜芽宝贝 to simply 蜜芽, and its corporate site also changed from MiYaBaoBei.com to simply Mia.com accordingly.

Wait a second. Is there a character missing? Where is 'y' in the domain name?

Yes, when I compare Miya with Mia, I can see that the latter is shorter and more elegant. It does looks good. With the company keen at going global, Mia.com may seem to be a better choice for the global audience.

However, how about the domestic audience? Chinese consumers are used to correctly spelled Pinyin names. Will they simply go to Miya.com to discover a large restaurant chain in Japan? Or, can they change their habit and remember to go to Mia.com when they want to buy baby products?

Other companies such as 一猫 (using eMao instead of YiMao) and 爱奇艺(iQiYi instead of AiQiYi) face this same issue too. Can you easily change consumer habit and enable them to remember your site address easily? Only time will tell.