Our blog.

March 10, 2018

Chinese government announces changes to the country’s domain name system

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) of China recently announced a structural change to the country’s domain name system. Here we are offering a quick translation and explanation of the announcement. Please rest assured that it doesn’t affect how domain names are functioning as of now. Instead, it brings about some rather interesting additions.

  1. Domain names of various levels should consist of the English alphabet (a – z and A – Z, case-insensitive), numerals (0 – 9), dash, and Chinese characters. Connect levels of domain names with the English period (called the “solid dot”). In the case of domain names of Chinese characters, connect with the Chinese period (。).
  2. .CN and .中国 aside, other top level domains (TLDs) are functional in China as well. [As a matter of course.]
  3. Here comes the interesting bit. Under .CN and .中国, China’s ccTLD (in English and Chinese respectively), there are now officially established second level domains (2LDs) available to registrants. 2LDs under .CN and .中国 come in two broad categories: “Category 2LDs”, and “Geographic 2LDs”.

Category 2LDs, a word-for-word direct translation of how the MIIT calls them, are actually functional identifiers. There are nine of them in total, announcing which industry a website belongs to, and what it’s about. They are:

  • .政务 (Chinese: government affairs): For government organs.
  • .公益 (Chinese: public good or charity): For non-profit organizations.
  • .GOV: Again for government organs. Presumably the same as .政务, only more internationalized.
  • .ORG: Again for non-profit organizations. Presumably the same as .公益, only more internationalized.
  • .AC: For scientific research facilities.
  • .COM: For industrial, commercial, and financial organizations.
  • .EDU: For academic institutions.
  • .MIL: For military and national defense organs.
  • .NET: For providers of online services.

There are a total of 34 Geographic 2LDs, each assigned to a provide or municipality:

  • .BJ: Beijing
  • .SH: Shanghai
  • .TJ: Tianjin
  • .CQ: Chongqing
  • .HE: Hebei
  • .SX: Shanxi
  • .NM: Inner Mongolia
  • .LN: Liaoning
  • .JL: Jilin
  • .HL: Heilongjiang
  • .JS: Jiangsu
  • .ZJ: Zhejiang
  • .AH: Anhui
  • .FJ: Fujian
  • .JX: Jiangxi
  • .SD: Shandong
  • .HA: Henan
  • .HB: Hubei
  • .HN: Hainan
  • .GD: Guangdong
  • .GX: Guangxi
  • .HI: Hainan
  • .SC: Sichuan
  • .GZ: Guizhou
  • .YN: Yunnan
  • .XZ: Tibet
  • .SN: Shaanxi
  • .GS: Gansu
  • .QH: Qinghai
  • .NX: Ningxia
  • .XJ: Xinjiang
  • .TW: Taiwan
  • .HK: Hong Kong
  • .MO: Macau

From now on we are probably going to see web addresses in China coming in new styles, such as website.SN.CN, or 西安。政务。中国 (Xi’an dot government affairs dot China).

The MIIT also provided a chart, in order to better explain how gTLDs, ccTLDs, and 2LDs are supposed to work after the change. For your reference, here is a snapshot of it, with our translation of chart headings.


Please be aware that whether or not 2LDs are available to registrants under the ccTLD .中国 (dot China) is a bit unclear, as the MIIT’s statement seems to contradict itself. In Article III of the announcement, as well as the chart above, 2LDs are apparently only available under .CN. However, Article IV of the announcement explicitly says “2LDs can be directly registered under ccTLDs .CN and .中国”.

Allegravita is the world’s leading expert consultancy on the Chinese domain name industry, having led the China go-to-market programs for over 16 of the world’s most influential domain name registries, and having facilitated tens of millions of dollars of sales on behalf of our clients. Enquire more: hello@allegravita.com or (in Chinese) nihao@allegravita.com

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