Can People That Aren’t Chinese Register .cn Domain Names?

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 10:00

Different domain names

Yes, they can now apparently. 'Foreigners' didn’t used to be able to purchase .cn domain names, but they can now. 

We asked Alice of Instra Corporation about this recently, and she informed us that the registration of .cn names is open to both individuals and businesses outside of China.


Businesses outside of China must provide the following:

  • Business registration number

  •  A scanned copy of the registrant’s business certificate

  •  A scanned copy of the registrant's proof of identity

  • A scanned copy of a signed Letter of Commitment


Individuals only need to provide two of these items:

  • A scanned copy of their proof of identity

  •  A scanned copy of a signed Letter of Commitment


Trustee services are also provided by some domain registration services in case the requirements listed above cannot be met. Instra describes their trustee service:


"If you cannot provide us above requested documents but would like to register your .cn domains for brand protection, our company can provide the trustee service for you with no extra cost. However, you cannot point, forward, redirect or host the registered domain website in mainland China by using our trustee service."


All registered .cn domains remain on 'Serverhold' status unless the letter of commitment or ICP record is obtained. 'Serverhold' means that the domain will not resolve or be available to the public. Some companies choose to register a domain but leave it on Serverhold status just to protect their brand.

For a website to be hosted in mainland China, an ICP record is required. This can be obtained from

If a website is not hosted in Mainland of China, but it is on a .cn domain, the requested 'Letter of Commitment’ must be submitted. If CNNIC discovers that you are in breach this policy (have not submitted a Letter of Commitment) and host your website within mainland China, the domain name may be suspended. 

For other registrars, check CNNIC’s list of accredited overseas registrars.


If you have experience registering a .cn domain name, leave your comments below.




Hello Tait,

thank you very much for your article.
I wanted to quickly ask you something as I am not clear on this topic in your last sentence.
If I go ahead and get my website with a .cn name with and it is hosted in the US ( I use squarespace since its catering for photographers which I am on of) I definitely have to get the letter of commitment going. is that correct?

my website name ( I am currently working on a new website) is already taken in .com and since I am based in China I thought I could maybe get the .cn version instead.

Thank you for clarifying this for me!!!!!


Hi Anne-Sophie,
According to what I read, yes, that is the case.
The interesting thing is that some domain registrars didn't even respond to me when I was doing the research for this article. And those were ones that were officially listed on CNNIC's website. But, I think that company's like Instra Corporation would be the best to contact about further details.
Let me know how it goes. :)

Thanks for the article. Question...

Does registering a .cn domain help with SEO? I'm thinking Baidu, more specifically.

Furthermore, if the website is hosted outside of China, does this hurt SEO on Baidu?



Hi Daniel, Please check this article first, it might give you some insights on this:

Thanks Tait!

I had spent hours looking for this basic info! Great summary and great post.

As for the domain name, does Baidu give preference to chinese or pinyin? E.g.

Thanks a mil


Hi Tait,

I'm reading this article in 2015 but I have the same concerns. Is the information above still accurate or has this changed?

Your reply would be greatly appreciated.


 Hi Gayathri, the above information is still accurate.  

Hi Tait,

I am hosting websites in the U.K for UK, Hong Kong and China based clients. We have web speed performance issues with our China clients mainly due to the great firewall. If I register a Chinesse domain name for these sites, does that give me an opportunity to work with the government to have site filtering removed or minimised to improve web speed performance?


Hi Troy,
I don't think that will help at all. But it would help if you host in China or otherwise find a hosting solution that works fast enough.
You might also consider hosting the different region variations of the site in different places, if your site architecture allows you to.
And a hosting pro may have better ideas than I do too...

Hi Trait,

Above, its mentioned, "A scanned copy of a signed Letter of Commitment". By this I understand that I need to send them my passport image and a letter of commitment.

But whom and where to send these 2 documents?

Is there any specific format for the LETTER OF COMMITMENT?

Eagerly await your reply.


Hi Praveen, I think you'd need to talk to the registrar about the details. They should be able to help you out.

Yes, the registrar usually have templates you can download then fill in and there will be sections allow you to upload your passport images to them.

Thanks for the post Tait. I need some clarifications regarding .cn domain names.
Which is the best registrar for registering .cn domain names ? Do you have a sample letter of commitment ?

I'm not sure what the best one would be unfortunately. :)

Maybe another reader would like to comment on their experiences though...


Add new comment