China muscling in on business domain names

Chinese media seem to be gloating about a multimillion-dollar bidding war that a U.S. company was pushed out of for the purchase of the domain  Although largely under-reported in U.S. media, the deal very well may result in the most expensive domain purchase in history and comes amid increasing concerns from U.S. security officials of further entrenchment by Chinese companies in U.S. markets. 

According to these reports, leaked documents suggest that a U.S.-based company made an initial offering of 20 million dollars for the domain.  It was quickly overshadowed by offerings from Chinese juggernauts in the financial and tech sector including Ant Financial and Tencent.  Industry insiders now expect the offering to go well over 30 million dollars, surpassing the sale of in 2019 as the most expensive domain purchase ever. 

While this may seem like an innocuous bidding war over a simple domain name, there may be something far more sinister at work.  The Chinese report seems to flat-out admit that it hopes to trick Americans by describing the development as a win for China, stating that the purchasing of rare domain names by Chinese companies will allow them a "shortcut" into U.S. markets. International users, according to the report, may be hesitant to trust their money to the Bank of China and that using a domain like may provide a friendlier face: "when you face international investors who do not know Bank of China using may make them accept it faster, easier, and have higher trust."

Make no mistake about it: the Bank of China is not something that should be disguised as a harmless multinational company.  It is a state-linked enterprise that operates at the behest of Beijing.  It was reported just last week that the bank was doing what it could to dismantle the United States' critical aviation sector through its leaseback program.  According to the Fox report, since the onset of COVID-19, Bank of China (BOC) Aviation has reportedly allocated more than $5 billion in sale-leaseback transactions with U.S. airlines in a seeming attempt to bankrupt our aviation sector.  The result of this could cause the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. 

This is not the act of a genial company operating on the idealism of a globalized, free society.  These companies have agendas, and they operate at the behest of the Chinese Communist government.

The ability to penetrate our financial markets through seemingly innocuous domain names like will do just that.  If it wasn't obvious already, the commentary from Chinese media all but outright states it.  International users will go to websites like thinking they are dealing with companies that adhere to the high regulatory standards of the United States when, in fact, their data, and even more worrisome, their savings will be in the hands of Chinese companies, which, like the Bank of China, may have overt ties to the Chinese government. 

The original Chinese report does not explicitly mention which U.S. company made the initial offering, but over the last few years, large financial institutions have been snatching up rare domain names to push their mobile internet service products.  JP Morgan's recent launch of is just one example.  If the American government will not stand up and prevent these types of sales in the future, U.S. companies should recognize the imperative to prevent the siphoning off of our I.P. by getting more involved in the scoping up of these rare domain names.  One must wonder why these U.S. companies are getting strong-armed and why no one is stopping it. 

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