May 1, 2014
Xiaomi Inc., a privately owned Chinese electronics company headquartered in Beijing, has just splashed out big on a two letter domain name.
The USD $3.6 million name is MI.com. Its relationship to the company is Android-based firmware produced by Xiaomi called MIUI and the MI-One phone. Other "Mi" prefixed products include MiWiFi, MiTV, MiBox, MiCloud and MiTalk.
Mi.com replaces Xiaomi.com as the official website of Xiaomi. The transaction is reported to be the most expensive domain name held in China.
"When it comes to ecommerce, a short domain name helps obtain higher user traffic because it is easy to remember," said Xiaomi VP Li Wanqiang in a statement.
The company has no bricks and mortar retail stores and it doesn't sell its products through third-party distributors. All Xiaomi products are sold directly via the company's online presence.
The model is obviously working for the company - it was founded in 2010 and has rapidly grown, with an estimated value of over 10 billion USD and a staff of over 3,000.
Xiaomi's web site experiences incredible levels of traffic. During a sale last year, traffic reached 3.77 million visits per minute at its peak.
While $3.6 million is a fair chunk of change for a domain name; the sale of MI.com is by no means the biggest. That record is held by VacationRentals.com; which sold for USD $35 million in 2007. Insure.com sold for $16 million in 2009. Further down the list is Fb.com; bought by Facebook for $8.5 million in November 2010 and Beer.com sold in 2004 for $7 million.
There are nearly two dozen domains that are known to have sold for over $3 million and perhaps there are many more as details of transactions are not always made public.
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