October 13, 2018 (Sat). When I was a child, I enjoyed reading a story called "Journey to the West". It tells of a Chinese monk traveling to far off places filled with mystery and adventure. He has three companions and one of them is pigsy Zhu Ba Jie (猪八戒), a pig who often gets into trouble but also displays a character of being tolerant, soft-hearted, and optimistic.
Now that I have grown up, I look at the story from a practical angle. I see that Zhu Ba Jie is quite a difficult name to pronounce when introduced outside China. Can this name be remembered easily? Is there an easy solution?
I found the hint a while ago when I read the story of a company with the same name. Zhubajie was founded in 2005 as a market place for companies seeking services such as logo design, recruitment, translation, and financial advice. In recent years, the company has expanded to become an incubator for startups in its market place.
For many years, Zhubajie used the brand-matching Zhubajie.com as its corporate domain. In 2016, the corporate domain changed when the company upgraded from Zhubajie.com to ZBJ.com and the former now forwards visitors to the latter. The company also owns ZBJ.cn which also points to ZBJ.com. However, the company does not seem to own Zhubajie.cn, indicating that the company values the acronym much higher than the fully spelled out name.
Now that Zhubajie has ZBJ.com, it can simply use the acronym as its brand outside China and the pronunciation issue is gone. Such approach is quite common. For example, the largest consumer drone maker in the world is known as DJI, but its original name is Da Jiang Innovations. The brand DJI and brand-matching DJI.com help the drone maker navigate in the global market.
In short, acronym domains have very practical use in China. They are short and can hide difficult-to-pronounce names, which is very helpful when Chinese companies go global. Therefore, demand for acronym domains will continue.
Finally, as a side note, Zhubajie founder Mingyue Zhu once said, "If you cannot get the company name as well as its domain, then don't run your business (公司名、域名，拿不下就不要干了)." This shows domain is as important as company name.