Investing in .hk domains – domain name wire
Kassey Lee examines the .hk domain name market.
Being born and raised in Hong Kong, I am aware that money and investment are part of the social fabric of this great city. In this article, I want to explore the topic of investing in .hk domains.
The .hk extension was released in 1990 when Hong Kong was still a British colony. Since 1997, when the city was returned to China, companies have the advantage of operating from a .hk or .cn domain or both. This gives them the ability to target different audiences.
Take the example of Asia Business Center, a Hong Kong-based provider of business management services such as business start-up, offshore bank accounts, accounting and virtual office. In addition to its English-language website developed on the AsiaBC.co domain, the company also uses AsiaBC.com.hk to provide content written in Traditional Chinese (for the Hong Kong audience) and AsiaBC.com.cn in Simplified Chinese. (for the Mainland Chinese audience).
One advantage of hosting a .hk (or .cn) website in Hong Kong compared to mainland China is that no ICP license is required. Therefore, you can register a .hk domain and launch its website on the same day to start your business in Hong Kong. (All websites hosted in Mainland China must have an ICP license.)
How to register a .hk domain? According to Wikipedia, direct registration of .hk domains is open to “local or foreign persons or entities”, but .com.hk is limited to “commercial entities registered in Hong Kong”. Therefore, shorter and more direct registration of a .hk domain is the way to go.
Many registrars offer .hk domain registration. For English speaking investors, you can try EuroDNS, 101 Domain, or Crazy Domains for between $ 30 and $ 80.
There is little aftermarket activity for .hk domains. Some companies offer brokerage services, but I think they mainly serve buyers. Namepros.com is the only site where I have found investors selling .hk domains. There are only 34 .hk sales recorded at BioName.
Another problem with selling .hk domains is the difficulty of transferring domain ownership. This can involve tedious steps, other document requirements, and additional costs. For example, Hong Kong Domain Name Registration Company, a registrar specializing in .hk domains, requires you need to complete an online form, submit additional documents and pay a fee of HK $ 500 (around US $ 60).
The extension had 166,724 domains registered in January 2014 and 211,847 domains currently, which gives an annual growth of only 3%. In a city of 7 million people, the size of the .hk market is small with limited potential.
So, before deciding to invest in .hk domains, consider the small size of its market, the lack of an active secondary market, and the tedious steps in domain transfer.