INWW's parent company, Melbourne IT Ltd., says INWW has become the first domain name registrar to offer the service and also be accredited by ICANN - the non-profit organization which manages the Internet's addressing system.
The system developed by California-based i-DNS International is, however, already in use across Asia in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.
Domain name customers can approach a registrar that has licensed the i-DNS technology to reserve a domain name that contains Chinese characters. At present, most names are registered in ASCII Roman (English) characters.
Rather than trying to enforce a new multilingual address standard on the already complicated Internet addressing system, i-DNS converts multilingual Unicode domain names into ASCII to transmit IP addresses across the Internet. As long as the transmitting server is able to convert an address, the request should reach its destination.
While commercial use of the system is rolling out already, the technology is not yet a global Internet standard, although INWW believes it has a good chance of becoming one.
INWW said it would extend the service to other non-English character languages such as Japanese, Arabic, Thai and Tamil.
INWW General Manager Clive Flory said the i-DNS technology would will help drive Internet adoption amongst the non-English speaking population.
"We are looking at the birth of the first truly international Internet community where language is no longer a barrier," enthused Flory. "The new system empowers non-English speaking populations to tap into the power of the Internet and e-commerce."
"From a business perspective, it makes the marketing of Web addresses easier and more effective," he added. "Language specific sites can market the addresses of their site in the relevant native written language. All people have to do is type in the domain name in that language."
While not widely used in Asia yet, the i-DNS system caused chaos in Hong Kong earlier this year. The attraction of native-language domain names spurred on a new domain name gold rush with speculators rushing to register their Chinese equivalent of a business.com or wine.com investment.
I-DNS's Asian partners include HKNet and 3rd Generation Network Information Centre (3gnic) in Hong Kong, TimeNet and the Chinese Registration Company in Taiwan, Portal Science and LGA International in Singapore, and Internet KSC, Loxinfo and CS Internet in Thailand.
When TimeNet launched its services last December, name registrations reportedly reached one per second. At the beginning of the year in Hong Kong, enthusiasm was also high. Suggestions of mass cybersquatting abounded, while i-DNS drew up a dispute resolution policy to deal with conflicts about names reserved through its registry by licensed registrars
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