General, i-DNS.net International, 8 October 2008
-- i-DNS.net International, the Singapore-based company that pioneered the concept and technology behind multilingual Internet domain names including Chinese-character domain names, collectively known as Internationalized Domain Names (IDN), would like to congratulate the Chinese people and the Government of the People's Republic of China on their historic official launch of Chinese-character domain names under the top levels “政务“ and “公益“ signifying “government” and “organization”, respectively. The forward-thinking and foresight shown by both the Service Development Center of the State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform (also known as Center), and the Ministry of Information Industry and Technology that authorized the Center, in helping the average non-English speaking citizen reach government web-sites under specific local-language top-level domains dedicated to government organizations is certainly a world-first.
But the world has increasingly come to expect such world records from China, especially in Internet-related progress. In the past decade, China has gone from less than a few hundred thousand Internet users to over 200 Million, with China now being the country with the largest number of Internet users and accounting for nearly 1 in 5 global Internet users. And there is every reason to believe that within the next decade the number of Chinese Internet users will exceed a billion and along the way Chinese will replace English as the top language for web-site content. Given that only about 1%, or some 15 Million people, in China are truly comfortable in English, the time has certainly come for the Chinese Internet to serve the needs of the other 99% native Mandarin-only speakers by way of Chinese-character domain names so that they too can use the Web effectively.
The most important benefit of the Internet is its educational aspect in disseminating information widely. A central component of such distributed information relates to information provided by government to all citizens, but particularly to the less-educated and native-language-only rural poor who need help in crossing the digital divide. By launching “政务” and “公益” Chinese-character domain names the Center has boldly taken a critical step in bringing such e-government to its native-language citizens.
With this launch we have come a long way from early-1998 when a team of researchers, led by Prof. Tan Tin Wee (a Mandarin speaker and a man of Chinese origin) and by Prof. S. Subbiah, at the National University of Singapore, first demonstrated the feasibility of a non-English domain name (IDN) which happened to be a Simplified Chinese Character domain name. From one test Chinese name on a small island populated by the Chinese diaspora, we are now poised under the Center's oversight to reach a million domain names for Chinese government entities and organizations that serve the needs of more than a billion Chinese people in the Middle Kingdom.
Long ago Confucius illustrated the strength of a nation in terms of the strengths of each of societies' layers and its responsibilities to other layers within a pyramid structure when he said “ if each individual is strong, then the family is strong, if each family is strong then the village is strong, if each village is strong then the county is strong, if each county is strong the province is strong, if each province is strong then the nation (as embodied by the government) is strong”. To update that in the more complex times of today, clearly an even stronger nation can be built if one completes the circle of societal responsibility and allows for the top government layer to communicate directly to the lowest citizen layer. Today, on the shoulders of the broader Internet and e-government initiatives, a critical small step - the introduction of Chinese-character domain names for government web-sites – is being taken to complete that circle of mutual responsibility.
Once again, congratulations Center. Congratulations China.
Dr. S. Subbiah
Headquartered in Singapore, with representatives/offices in USA, China, France, Japan, Korea, India and Middle East, i-DNS.net International is the world's leading provider of multilingual Internet domain name and email addressing solutions. Since 1997, working with the National University of Singapore, it has pioneered the successful input and resolution of multilingual, native-character domain names known as Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), spear-headed the adoption of this invention as the universal IDNA standard which has since been incorporated into all the major Internet browsers and so IDN-enabled over a billion Internet users. While providing a full suite of domain name and email addressing solutions to registries, registrars and end-users across the globe, it has worked with strategic partners like VeriSign Inc [Nasdaq:VRSN], Register.com [Nasdaq:RCOM], Melbourne IT, dotTV Corporation, eNIC Corporation, Global Media Online, CNNIC, Dotster, HKnet, Whois Corporation, Gabia, Domain the Net, Bezeq, Netvison, Thrunet, Hanaro, Digital Names, Uuninet, Regtime and Internet Egypt. Together with local in-country partners and some national governments, the Company has launched its registration services across the globe in more than 100 languages. Its core technology powers or has powered most of the IDN services launched by existing ICANN cctlds and gtlds like .com, .net, .org, .cn, .kr, .cc, .tv, .eg and .jp. (www.i-dns.net).
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