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Chinese domain name: Expanding your horizon

China, Xiamen Economic Daily, 5 October 2000 -- With a PC and the click of the mouse, you can reach out to the world. But regardless of whether you want to know the world outside, or let the world know you, you have to first key in the domain name so as to connect with the outside world. Therefore, domain names have become the first gateway to Internet surfing.

One of the functions of the domain name system is to transmit digital IP addresses into a more easy to accept and easy to remember format. But language is still a main obstacle. Although many websites have been using their native languages for their websites, the domain name system used to be realized by matching the English letters with the Internet Protocol Numbers. It has been estimated that the number of non-English speaking users presently amount to 40% of the users in the world, and this number will increase to 60% by 2003. Renowned organizations pointed out that this year will be the first year that English-speaking users become the "minority" on the net.

Enormous growth potential

In early July, CNNIC published the sixth edition of "Statistics of Internet Development in China" up to June 30th 2000. According to the report, the number of web users in China has reached 16,900,000. However, two years ago, Singapore's Cabinet minister, Lee Kwan Yew, asserted that it would take at least 10 years for China to increase the number of users to more than 10,000,000. His reason was that Chinese people have difficulty understanding English. Presently, the number of domestic domain names registered under '.cn' in China amounts to 99734, and the total registration of international domain names reaches 477900. Based on the number of registration of international domain names, China is ranked among the top ten in the world, but based on the ownership per thousand, it is not amongst the top. Therefore, there is an enormous potential for China to promote the registration of domain names.

In the face of the growth tendency and enormous growth potential, the dominance of the English language on the Internet poses an embarrassing situation to the Internet and its users.

To technical and corporate users, the usage of English domain names do not pose too much of a problem, but to the natives in non-English speaking countries, using English domain names is quite a big problem, which undoubtedly influences the development of the IT market. The splendor of worldwide culture originated from the cultural richness of different nations. Being the center of culture, language should maintain its distinctiveness. Therefore, it seems unfair for many non-English speaking countries to use English domain names, hence the affinity of the Internet is harmed to some extent. The Chinese language is the quintessence of 5000 years of magnificent culture, and it is also one of the six official languages in the United Nations. To the Chinese people, it is easy to remember and understand if Chinese can be used as web addresses, such as "". Obviously owning Chinese domain names will help Chinese people communicate more freely in the virtual world.

There is no doubt that Chinese domain names have become a necessity for enterprises and individuals in China.

The first step of CNNIC

CNNIC, entrusted by MII, began the research work on Chinese domain name registration system in 1998. After two years of investigation, analysis and design, Chinese domain name system began to take its shape in different media and domain name registration companies in early 2000. Chinese domain name became the "talk of the town". When the information was released through the media on Jan 18th, CNNIC received 36000 applications on Jan 19th. Till now, the application for Chinese domain name registration reaches a number close to 120000. It is perceived that the development prospects of the Chinese domain name in the domestic market are very optimistic.

It is a pity that after half a year, the Chinese domain name system did not achieve concrete progress. Experts say the main reason lies in the technical problem. Till now, Chinese domain names have not fully realized its application function. Basically speaking, there still exist certain differences between Chinese domain names and its virtual meaning. The basic design idea of the Chinese domain name system of CNNIC is to provide a Plug-in system, which is put on the already existing English domain name system in the domain name sever. This system will then interpret Chinese domain names into English, and the English domain name system is responsible for providing the analysis from domain names to IP. If there is no Chinese domain name sever installed on the domain name sever, the users need to install the client software on the client terminal.

China Channel, the first worldwide registrar

Because of the urgent and realistic necessity and the brilliant market prospects, the multilingual domain name technique has attracted many companies and users.

Under the long period support of General Atlantic Partners LLC, i-DNS.net International Inc successfully developed the multilingual domain name techniques.

i-DNS technology has a unique analysis system of domain name. It is based on the uniform code and can easily support different standards of domain names. Presently it is compatible with RACE. Also by supporting UTF-5, UTF-8 and other generally used decoding techniques in full scale, it can help users visit registration names of multilingual international domain names conveniently in the world. At the same time, i-DNS is applicable in different platforms, such as Windows, Unix, Linux, etc. It supports Chinese e-mails in a full scale, and can transmit between traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese automatically. The practical significance of this technique lies in that it allows user to enjoy the freedom of surfing on the net. >From inputting domain names or website addresses, compiling, programming and designing to modifying and even searching, users can do all these under their familiar language environment. Now i-DNS.net International Inc has accomplished to interflow the mutual links of 59 non-English websites, which includes Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Spanish, etc, ranging to 90% of the non-English speaking population.

In order to promote its multilingual domain name technology, i-DNS.net International Inc has associated with NSI REGISTRY, the only top domain name registration bureau which is one of the branches of NSI, the largest domain name registration company in the world. i-DNS.net International Inc formally launched the Chinese domain name in May this year.

On Sep 26th, China Channel signed a contract with i-DNS.net International Inc. Under the authorization of i-DNS.net International Inc, China Channel can use the multilingual domain name technique to extend its business to provide Chinese domain name registration service in the world. According to the agreement with i-Email.net, China Channel has become the first worldwide registrar of Chinese international top domain names and e-mail addresses. With a headquarter in Xiamen, China Channel was established in 1996, and is one of the largest providers of e-commerce platform in China. It is also the first registrar of international top domain name certificated by ICANN and is also the largest registrar of professional domain names in China.

IT industry professionals believe that the cooperation of China Channel and i-DNS.net International Inc, will turn Chinese domain name registration into a promising business. The promotion and application of Chinese domain names can not only help users surf the net more conveniently and freely, but also extend the resources of domain names, which ensures prosperous development of the e-commerce sector.

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