.HK and .COM.HK are king in Hong Kong and IDNs are nowhere to be found


It has been twelve years since I have been to Hong Kong. In my early twenties I opened up distribution for Sonos in Hong Kong and used to be here all the time so it has been pretty exciting to see back and to see what’s changed and what has stayed the same. As usual one of the first thing that catches my eye whenever I leave the US is what domain name extension reins supreme and in Hong Kong it’s not .COM, it’s .COM.HK and .HK.

While there’s no doubt that .COM is a global TLD and yes, people around the world use .COM more than any other gTLD, it is incredible to see what a major force .COM.HK is here, and also not too surprising. I would say that so far 90% of the domain names I’ve seen so far in Hong Kong use .COM.HK or .HK, honestly – it’s everywhere.

It’s also interesting to see that while Chinese is the dominant language here, the URLs all use English characters, it certainly doesn’t seem to me like IDNs have really taken off yet. When I was here twelve years ago I remember meeting with people from the domain industry that live in Hong Kong and they were betting that IDNs were about to really take off. Given how much time has passed it really makes me wonder what kind of legs IDNs have.

At the same time, it’s also easy to forget that these are still the early days of the Internet and fifty yeas from now things will be different, the question is how long is it really going to take for IDNs to take off, and will they take off at all? Of course maybe I’m missing something, I’m definitely no expert when it comes to ccTLDs or IDNs and like I said, I haven’t been here in twelve years so if you’re reading this and thinking, “Morgan has no idea what he’s talking about” please comment below and share your experience!

This afternoon I’m grabbing lunch with Doron from Efty so I’m looking forward to talking with him about this as well since he lives here so definitely has a lot more expertise than me. Either way, it’s pretty interesting to see .COM.HK everywhere, I’ll continue to take more pictures of domain names here in Hong Kong so I can put together a more comprehensive post once I get back.

Okay, now time to head out for the day. As always, I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton