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7 Things You Might Not Know about .cn Domains


.cn – the country-code top-level domain for China – has become an increasingly popular extension for American buyers over the last few years. As of 2009, .cn was already the largest country-code top-level domain in the world. Then, the Chinese government changed the rules so that only those who had a special business license could register them. In 2012, those rules were lightened, allowing individuals to once again access the extension.

Not surprisingly, as more domainers from around the world try to get their "piece of the pie" from the surging Chinese domain market, the demand for .cn domains has continued to rise. But actually acquiring those domains in the secondary market can be more complicated than you might think.

The Chinese government has strict rules on how .cn domains are handled and transferred between parties. If you only have experience with .com domains, then you may be surprised to discover a few obstacles when dealing with .cn.

Here are few things you should know:

1) Not all registrars offer .cn domains.
The big players, like GoDaddy, do not support .cn domains because of the unique regulations in place. You will need to register the domain through a Chinese registrar or through a .CN-accredited registrar located outside of China.

2) Identification & documentation are required.
Registering a .cn domain requires more documentation than your average TLD. Businesses will need to provide a copy of a government-issued (in any county) company registration certificate and a link to a valid government website where that information can be confirmed. An authorized contact person at that business must also provide a copy of a government-issued ID. Individuals buying .cn domains must also provide a government-issued ID.

3) WHOIS privacy is not allowed.
When registering a .cn domain, your registration information will be visible in the public .cn WHOIS database, maintained by CNNIC. Traditional WHOIS privacy services cannot be used to hide your information.

4) Certain topics are off-limits.
If you're registering a .cn domain for the first time, keep in mind that certain types of names are prohibited, including those related to pornography, gambling, prostitution, table tennis, Olympics, or China's government.

5) Domains cannot be transferred from China-based registrars to non-China-based registrars.
And vice versa. What happens in China, stays in China – at least as far as domain registrars go.

6) Domains must be registered for 60 days before transfer.
No quick flipping. Domain names cannot be transferred within the first 60 days of initial registration.

7) Registration takes about 3 days.
CNNIC will audit your registration and the documentation you provide. This can take up to 3 days.

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