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April 14, 2016 (Thu)

One Dot Too Many


中国长安汽车集团股份有限公司(China Changan Automobile Group Company Limited) is one of the Big Four auto makers in China.

Yes, the company name is very long, consisting of 14 characters. Fortunately, legal names of Chinese companies are seldom used in daily conversation. Instead, their much shorter trading names are used. For this company, the name is 长安汽车 (Changan Automobile).

长安 (Chang An) is a commonly used term meaning 'perpetual peace'. However, entering 长安 in Baidu actually shows top results about this Changan Automobile, indicating how much this name is associated with the auto maker.

With the size of this company, I naturally assumed the company owns Changan.com and Changan.cn.

No, Changan.com is an operating site owned by Changan Insurance, and Changan.cn has been registered since 2003 by a different company but the domain name does not resolve.

This is really bad for Changan Automobile because it has to settle for Changan.com.cn, a less desirable extension. Remember the recent story of Tesla taking some 15 years to acquire Tesla.com in order to upgrade from TeslaMotors.com. It just shows how important domain names are to large corporations in particular.

Recently Changan launched an ecommerce site and had to go for an even longer domain name: Mall.Changan.com.cn.

I think the company will have to solve this issue in the long term and upgrade to .com, and I also think that eventually all domain names will be standardized to having just one dot, making it easy for consumers to remember.