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Unveiling the technology behind Chinese Domain Names and Email Addresses

Online, CNET.com, 8 August 2000 -- A few years back, the Internet was practically run purely in English with only a few sites in Chinese. This hindered those who wished to surf the Internet but are unfamiliar with the English language. Visionaries raised their arms in protest, and urged for the advent of a Chinese Internet. Now only a few years later, multitudes of Chinese websites have bloomed; enhancing the experience of online surfing for the Chinese people and boosting the growth of the Chinese Internet.

These people may have enjoyed a wide variety of Internet services; but however, when it comes to sending an email, they would still have to remember the domain names and addresses in English. Domain names and mailbox addresses are like virtual doorplates. And if they are in English, they will but only hinder the average Chinese in accessing the net.

In recent years, a few local companies have experimentally launched service offerings of Chinese Domain Names Registration and Chinese Email address issuing. However, these services are merely latched-on "applications and services" of IP compliant DNS technologies, and are totally different from how an English domain name operates: a more advanced search conducted upon such a Chinese Domain Name system will require the entry of correct "paths" in English, which implies that these registrations are not true solutions to the language problems faced by the Chinese. At the same time, the email addresses issued so far are tagged with English TLD such as ". com" or ".net".

In response, i-DNS.net International, an American company based in Silicon Valley, launched the i-DNS system while its partner i-EMAIL.net issued i-Email multilingual email addresses; thereby making functional Chinese domain names and email addresses a reality.

How did i-DNS and i-Email come about?

i-DNS was conceived in the National University of Singapore after more than two years of research. Backed by funding from General Atlantic Partners LLC, i-DNS.net turned an academic thesis into a practical reality.

With the system, it is possible to use any language (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, German or Arabian) to register for a domain name. When conducting a search for a non-English domain name, the i-DNS compatible host will receive requests from the user's browser to convert the non-English domain name into an encoding, which translates into Unicode.

The final Unicode translated by i-DNS still conforms to ASCII standards, and therefore making the system compliant to all Internet protocols and remaining compatible to existing servers.

The real implication behind such a technology is that non-English speaking users can now truly enjoy the full benefits of the Internet. From the keying in of domain names and email addresses, to the registration, scripting, programming, processing and the accessing of databases, the user can operate comfortably in his or her native tongue. i-DNS now supports 55 languages including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Spanish.

Developed from the same technology, i-Email now offers three solutions to suit the requirements of the individual, ICP/ISP and corporate email centers.

i-DNS.net has perfected, in their i-DNS technology, the connectivity of domain names in 55 non-English languages in coverage of 90% of the non-English speaking population and has had yahoo.com, China Bank, Sony, Cathay Airlines and more than 1 million other companies and organizations to register for their multilingual domain names.

After i-DNS was successfully launched in China this May, global registrations for Chinese domain names have seen a great leap. Early July, Melbourne IT (the world's second largest domain name registry) and eNIC (a global TLD company) became partners with i-DNS.net and will become the first companies to offer registration services for Chinese domain names.

The Cultural Implications of Chinese Domain Names and Email Addresses

When i-DNS was first launched in China this May, i-DNS.net had made a gift of three Chinese domain names to three organizations: the first was to the Chinese Cross-talk Cultural Website, established by local cross-talk artistes in promotion of their art; the second to Jiang Kun, the representative of the art of Modern Cross-Talk; and the third to a Canadian fan of the art of cross-talk, Da Shan.

This move by i-DNS.net illuminates the implications behind the propagation of Chinese domain names - that is to preserve Chinese cultural traditions and its language in the Internet world and to protect the interests and the integrity of Chinese enterprises.

Building a Chinese Internet is not being exogenic. English has become the medium of exchange for the technological, commercial and political arenas, and by default, the common language on the Internet. However, the Chinese people, dispersed around the globe, makes up a fifth of the world's population and should own an Internet environment that allows facilitation in their own mother tongue.

Many non-English speaking countries have come to realize the importance of the development of an Internet environment in their own native tongue; which constituted to the popularity of multilingual DNS and email technologies in Japan and Korea. Taiwan, Hong Kong and other Chinese overseas communities responded just as well with one registration every second on the day the technologies were launched.

According to inside sources, the construction of the Chinese Internet has lagged behind its English counterpart by years; and if the habit of using Chinese domain names and email addresses is not cultivated in time, the situation of English becoming the identifier of the Internet is inevitable.

Domain names are made up by gTLD (i.e. .com, .net and .org etc.), which are managed by ICANN, and ccTLD (i.e. .cn and .au etc.), which are managed by NIC (e.g. CNNIC in China). The Chinese i-DNS from i-DNS.net adopts the same architecture by leaving the management of multilingual gTLD (e.g. ) to ICANN and ccTLD (e.g. ) to the NIC of each country/region.

The Proliferation and e-Commerce Implications of Chinese Domain Names and Email Addresses

Only when the majority of the population starts utilizing the Internet can then the Chinese Internet attain true development as a lifestyle in work and in play.

The proliferation of the Chinese web relies on two core groups - the children and the senior citizens, as they are latent but ready markets so far most hindered by the present language barrier on the net.

This is China's "Year for Business-Online", and 99% of China's small and medium-sized enterprises have been targeted to get online. As many of these firms possess limited IT knowledge, the choosing of a domain name would prove quite a hassle.

Be the choice a translation of their corporate name, a spelt one, an abbreviation or even numbers; the domain name chosen will not be representative enough of the company's identity; especially in cases where the corporate name and its domain name have not been publicized simultaneously. Confusing identifier tags that would stump even the most seasoned of users further complicates the situation. At the same time, these companies would have to forego their famous trademarks for a totally unheard-of English one, which would no doubt be a compromise on the brand names.

As such, Chinese domain names and email addresses will be in the interests of these companies, and would pave a smooth path for small and medium-sized companies in a competitive e-market.


-- i-DNS.net shall not be held liable for the views and opinions of the authors expressed herein.
-- Translated Article

죄송합니다. 이 페이지는 아직 한글화되지 않았습니다.

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