In the global business world, it isn't news to anyone that the massive and expanding Chinese e-commerce market is a highly lucrative one for western brands and businesses. After all, China is the largest e-commerce market in the world and boasts a population of nearly 1.4 billion people. What may be news to many however is how several western brands and businesses fail to properly equip themselves with a solid understanding of how business works in China and a go-to-market strategy that will net them the beneficial results they seek.
To put things into perspective, there have been plenty of well-known western brands that have made mistakes or oversights in regards to entering the China market, specifically as it relates to trademarking their brand in China. Take for instance US shoe company New Balance, who had originally branded itself as “Xinbailun” in China, but was forced to pay up in a lawsuit for infringing on an existing trademark of a Guangdong company using the same name.
More examples include Apple losing the rights to “iPhone” in China, as well as both Under Armour and Michael Jordan having to deal with infringement issues from Chinese companies using similar logos and names.
Western companies must know that the best way to protect their brand in China is to immediately register a trademark so that counterfeit Chinese companies cannot take advantage of their brand. Western companies should also be cautious of trademark “agents” in China, as they have been known to take the money and run instead of registering a trademark for you.
Now, these examples are not by any means meant to alarm you, or try and paint China out to be a malicious market, but rather to contextualize the business differences in China compared to the familiarity of the western world. Aside from western businesses taking the necessary steps to trademark both their English and Chinese brand names in China, there are a number of other measures and strategies that should be considered in order to protect their brand and business presence in China, especially online.
What else can be done?
We won’t get into the nitty gritty China market entry methods and strategies in this article (that can be handled by agencies such as ChinaMarket.Consulting), however we will go over an important and often overlooked method for western businesses to protect their brand’s online strategy: using Chinese domain extensions to further protect itself while simultaneously widening visibility of the brand and opening up more potential sales channels.
Businesses should consider looking into registering all relevant domain endings for the company (out of hundreds to choose from), which can greatly reduce counterfeiters, scammers, and phishing attacks coming from Chinese companies and individuals looking to take advantage of ill-equipped western brands. By registering relevant domain endings and redirecting them to your main website unambiguously conveys to Chinese consumers, and the world, that you have complete ownership of your brand online.
The amazing thing about the influx of these new domain extensions is the opportunity and choice it provides to brands, businesses, and other end-users. However, this new landscape of the internet and domain names certainly brings a responsibility for businesses to protect their brand by using relevant domain extensions. This becomes even more important with Chinese Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), which can be an additional and specific protection for brands in a language spoken by nearly a quarter of all humanity.
One of ChopChop Domains’ top reasons for brands and businesses to register and utilize Chinese domains is that it presents an important opportunity for brand protection in China. By using a Chinese domain extension for your business’s trademarked brand in China not only protects your company from being taken advantage of, but it also shows an intelligent commitment to China-facing consumers who can trust your brand by using a domain extension that makes sense to them.
Don’t wait any longer! A relevant and useful Chinese domain extension in your English and Chinese trademarked brand(s), can help negate fraudsters, phishers, and trademark squatters in China from taking advantage of you. It also shows commitment and trust to the massive Chinese market online.
ChopChop.domains, a Chinese domain name marketplace, was created in order to help businesses, investors, and individuals find and buy Chinese domains easily so that they can reach the world’s largest market and protect their brand. If you would like to find out more about the power and possibility of owning and using Chinese domains, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with our Chinese domain experts about how your brand can succeed in China.