At the signing ceremony held in Hong Kong today, New Cyber also launched PRCname.com, a multilingual international domain name registration service that is compliant with i-DNS.net's multilingual domain name technology. This service will be available in China immediately, and is anticipated to be rolled out to the other Chinese-speaking markets by 2001.
"With non-English speakers poised to become a majority on the Web, it is imperative that the current Internet Domain Name System (DNS) is able to accommodate scripts that aren't based on the Roman alphabet," said Michael Ng, CEO of i-DNS.net International. "This collaboration with New Cyber will not only bridge this digital divide to Internet users, but will also allow these users to master the Internet and access value resources in a language that they are comfortable in."
Chinese-language domain names have been made available by i-DNS.net since the start of this year. The company has since established partnerships with strong local entities in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, United States and Australia to further its Chinese-language domain names offerings. Most recently, the company announced a strategic tie-up with Network Solutions Registry, as well as agreements with leading ICANN-accredited registrars like Register.com, Melbourne IT and OnlineNIC.
According to a recent Verisign report, China will experience a dramatic growth in Internet adoption over the next three years. There are currently 2 million Internet users in China, and analysts expect this number to grow five-fold to 10 million by 2001, and 200 million by 2007.
There already has been a significant increase in the number of websites containing local language content. Because establishing a domain name is the first step to creating an online presence, the availability of multilingual domain names is therefore a natural evolution to ensure a truly global and inclusive Internet.
This alliance also underscores China's own IT and Internet strategy to work with foreign entities in the telecommunications and Internet industries to accelerate the opening of its market by increasing the number of Chinese websites.
"As the industry trailblazer, we are poised at the start of an exciting time in the New Economy, added Ng. "Together with New Cyber, i-DNS.net will conduct an intensive awareness program to cultivate the importance and relevance of Chinese language Internet to the net users in the China market."
When asked about the compatibility of the i-DNS technology with other systems, Mr Ng pointed out that their technology has been submitted to the IETF to ensure that it could be a recognized standard.
As to the question of whether domain name servers and their users need to make any installations in order to access Chinese domain named websites, Ng said that there is a current need for servers to install the i-DNS technology and users to install an iClient software. However, he said, by the end of this year a new technology would be evolved to which both the server and user would no longer need to make any installations.