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. 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. Despite all, non-English speaking users are still struggling to remember domain names and email addresses in English and the language barrier continue to be a tripping stone to the average Chinese in accessing the Internet.
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".
Since 1998, the IT committee has commissioned CNNIC to research on the Chinese domain name system. After two years of adjustments, analysis and designing, the system was launched to process registrations in year 2000; triggering a mad rush for a total of 36000 Chinese domain names on its first day of operation. This is a figure reached only after 2 years of operation for English domain names; and is an indication of how lucrative the Chinese domain name market would be.
Unfortunately, although domain names have been up for registrations, its actual functionality remains to be seen and the dream of non-English surfers to surf the Internet in their own mother tongue remained a dream. The reason lies in technical difficulty. Some companies like 3721 Internet did develop some tools for the Chinese user, but these are still a far cry to the actual concept of really surfing the net in Chinese language.
In answer, Silicon Valley-based i-DNS.net International launched its i-DNS multilingual domain name system while its partner i-Email.net offered multilingual email address services to truly make domain names and emailing functional in Chinese language. Financially backed by General Atlantic Partners, its i-DNS technology took two years to germinate in the National University of Singapore and i-DNS.net succeeded in making an academic theory a practical reality.
With the new i-DNS system, it is now 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. As the Unicode is still operational within the ASCII protocol, it means that the system runs in full compatibility with all existing host servers.
The real implication behind the advent of this new technology is that non-English users can now enjoy the benefits of a truly international Internet to the fullest. From the keying-in of the domain name or URL, encoding and resolution to the ultimate connection to the destination website, the users can now operate in a language they are most comfortable with. Currently the i-DNS technology supports 55 languages inclusive of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Spanish.
According to Economic Information Daily (Xinhua News Agency), the only three companies offering Chinese domain name registration services are i-DNS.net, 3721 Internet and CNNIC. It is reported that i-DNS.net's technology has a more universal adaptability than those offered by its competitors. Moreover, it is technically more advanced at a global level yet to be attained by those in China. The Chinese domain name market lies not in China, but all over the world: and its potential value can be found in it bridging of local enterprises with the rest of the world.