Uncle Hang, real name is XiaoHang Shen, a very successful investor in China who owns lots of premium domains. He is the co-founder of jinpai.com, the first video domain auction platform.
It’s our great honor to have Uncle Hang in this interview. He shared his experience of how he started domaining in earlier years. He explained future market in domaining and told us the future plan of jinpai.com. And there is a life-changing phone call! Let’s have a look at these interesting and valuable content below!
Conversation With Uncle Hang
Things You May Want to Know
DN.com: First of all, could you share with us how you started domaining?
Uncle Hang: It was in the year of 1999. I noticed our competitor, a large pallet manufacturing company, was using the domain, pallet.online.sh.cn. Then I found out pallet.com.cn was available for registeration. I spent $75 (￥500 CNY) to register this domain, after realizing how significant domain names are in forming brand influence of a company. At that time, the renewal fee was ￥500 CNY per year. One thing you should know, the per square meter prices in Shanghai was around low four figure CNY fee. Thus, at that time, investing in domain names really required a strong will to take risks.
I did not register many domains back then. Most of them were for my own companies. At the same time, I saw the news that business.com was sold for $7,500,000 USD. Then I started domaining for real. I bought tuopan.com(tuopan means pallet ) for $50 USD and wood.cn for ￥20,000 CNY. Besides, I started browsing domain forums, reading and learning posts and domain veterans’ words and ideas, such as Mike Cai, Michael Yao, etc..
DN.com: Could you share with us several domains you own/owned?
Uncle Hang: Plenty! Actually I am not willing to let go of any domain names that I ever owned. For example, juzi.com (juzi means orange in English), which was bought for ￥105,000 in an auction through 4.cn, taozi.com (taozi means peach ), wenju.com (wenju means stationery), 717.com, 1717.com, 181.com, 129.com, lv.cn, pk.cn, dj.cn, av.com, bao.com, yao.com and more.
DN.com: It seems that you like AV.com a lot, why?
Uncle Hang: Yes. I guess it is because of high sales made by sex.com and porn.com. Industries involving these are really cash cow business. And I think I was lucky to have acquired AV.com from such a big company(Yahoo).
DN.com: What kind of domains are your major investment types? Could you tell us rough data of how you allocate your money in domaining?
Uncle Hang: I mainly invest in numeric domains and short letter domains. I think LLL.com and LLLL.com/.cn domains are promising. As for the rough data, I have 60% of letter domains, known as chips, 20% of numeric domains, and 20% of pinyin domains. I barely invest in new gTLDs. I love premium numeric domains, five or six number domains with nice patterns are acceptable.
DN.com: You were the first one to place a Limit Order in domaining and I wonder if it is proven profitable strategy?(Earlier this year, Uncle Hang promised to pay ￥2588 CNY per LLLL.cn, anyone could push such domains to his account. And he delivered the payment by 3oth June, 2016.)
Uncle Hang: Yes, I did make a profit over this. The details can not be reaveled.
DN.com: For western domainers, maybe they are not so familiar to this future market thing in domaining. Could you explain more?
Uncle Hang: It is a common strategy in financing. I just have got more guts to apply this in domaining.
DN.com: Days ago, Booksir(Liangji Zhuang) announced in Wechat that he had given up 70,000 .cc domains and he was leaving domain industry. What’s you comment on this?
Uncle Hang: I think it is a wise gesture to abandon those domains. As for quitting domaining, I don’t think he can truly make it, especially when he has been domaining for so many years and has a large portfolio of domains.
DN.com: Who are your favorite domainers in China?
Uncle Hang: Dejing Kong, John Xu, Zansong Lin and Yang Xu. they all made great contributions to Chinese domain industry. They changed domain ecological environment. And I also admire Jiang Zhu and Meken.
DN.com: You have been in domain industry for so long, is there any interesting, touching or life changing stories?
Uncle Hang: Yes. There is one life-changing thing, where my career took a turn. In 2013, 4.cn hosted a conference in Qiandao Lake and John Xu called me. If not for that phone call, I don’t think I would come back to this industry again. And then, I happened to catch up the time when CNNIC released lots of premium domains. At the end of 2013, I switched from traditional industry to Internet industry, that is, domaining. I think most people in domain industry are quite honest and easy to deal with. And switching from traditional industry to Internet is the trend of times.
DN.com: You are the co-founder of jinpai.com. It is the first video domain auction platform, how did you come up with the idea?
Uncle Hang: It was mainly Guanren and Qiao’s idea. Guanren thought common auctions were out of novelty.
DN.com: We, domainers in China, all know jinpai.com well, while most of western domainers have no idea about jinpai.com. Can you explain more?
Uncle Hang: Recently, managers from GoDaddy came here and watched our auction. They made great compliments on this fresh new concept in domain auction. It is more intuitive and active. The host could help to reveal the meaning and precious value of the domains and people could interact online. It is helpful for the domain market.
DN.com: Jinpai.com has been doing great in China. Is there a chance you will explore foreign market?
Uncle Hang:Yes. We will use jpb.com to build an English version website. We also rented a server in US.
DN.com: I heard that jinpai.com has acquired the license for auction. What’s your future plan for jinpai.com?
Uncle Hang: we will expand the auction business into traditional auction areas, for example, car and real estate auctions.
DN.com: Recently, jinpai.com has brokered many high valued domains, such as DD.com, yyp.com, 100 LLLL.com domains, 273.com, and 256.com. It is really impressive!
Uncle Hang: Yes. However, I don’t involve myself in brokering business so much. Guanren and Qiao are on it. They are all really professional and brilliant brokers. They are good at communication. And we have intensive team training.
DN.com: Are all your premium domains for investment? Do you have any other investment plan?
Uncle Hang: I invested on food delivering before. However, I love the pleasure and satisfaction gained by investing domains more. I love the feeling when I adore a domain name, collect a domain name and make money over a domain name. My partners, those new comers are emerging and I think I will give more opportunities to them. I just contribute the money part and sometimes keep the favored domain when I meet one.
DN.com: Any plans for retirement? Or do you regard domaining as a life-time career?
Uncle Hang: Domaining will be a life-time hobby. I think domainers from our generation came into this industry out of true love for domain names.
DN.com: Would you share some advices to other investors?
Uncle Hang: My investing key is that when a thing is scarce, it is precious. And my advice is that if you want to invest in new gTLDs, be careful and think twice!
My advice will be, Use DN.com!