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Multilingual domain name benefits more net users

Singapore, Lian He Zao Bao, 28 May 2000 -- What is Chinese domain name? Is it necessary in Singapore? With multilingual domain name, does it mean that the web community will develop vigorously? We got President of i-DNS Huang Huairen to give you the answers.

A businessman wanted to expand his business on the Internet and so decided to register his domain name on the web. However, someone else had already registered his "Fafa.com" [in Chinese] domain name. The businessman ended up spending huge sums to "redeem" his own domain name.

The amounts spent on domain name transactions are enormous each year. In 1999, "business.com" was sold for US$7.5 million (approximately S$13 million), making it the highest sale price in the history of Internet domain name.

Those who are familiar with computer and Internet must have heard of Chinese Domain Name System from the press or friends. What exactly is Chinese domain name? Are you worried that you will end up like the boss of Fafa company?

The Singapore Network Information Centre launched the personal domain name registration ".per.sg" recently on 1 May. So, is there a need for Chinese domain name in Singapore? Does this mean that the web community will develop vigorously? Do you need a Chinese domain name?

I got the President of i-DNS.net International Pte Ltd Huang Huai Ren to provide the answers.

Question: Given the current situation, is there a real need for Chinese domain name on the Internet? Is the rush to register a Chinese domain name just to protect one's interests?

Huang: In terms of Chinese domain name, the rush to register domain name occurs mainly in Hong Kong and Taiwan because the Internet, e-commerce etc are more active in these two places. They appreciate the potential of multilingual domain name, hence the craze. However, people in Thailand and India are more passive. They feel that it is a business tactic and prefer to adopt a wait-and-see attitude. Those who had registered a domain name are people with foresight. In 1997, someone registered "business.com", which was sold at a high price of US$7.5 million, that's a good example.

Question: When we mention Internet, we all know that the technology originated from the West. So will there be any difficulty in launching internationalised domain name system in these countries and districts?

Huang: Frankly speaking, Western countries have yet to appreciate the significance of internationalised domain name system. Even when statistics indicate that 40% of the Internet users are from non-English districts, these users still have to use "www.amazon.com", why? Because, they have no choice! However, come 2003, this figure will increase to 60%, therefore by then, many specified language web pages of individual districts will appear on the Net and there will be a greater need for multilingual domain name.

For example, China may be a big market for "Lianhe Zaobao" but it may not be easy for a 12-year-old girl to log on to Zaobao's website. In Singapore, it is very easy to key in "zaobao.com" because we use English Windows but the users in China use Chinese Windows and it is very confusing when it comes to using the Internet. If it is possible for users in China to directly key in "zaobao.com" [in Chinese], these 4 simple Chinese characters, then it will be easy and convenient. There will be a great demand for multilingual domain name in future.

Question: In your view, how long will such "resistance" from the West last before people change their opinion?

Huang: The West, in particular, America, is not affected by the current situation. That's why, they are not concerned. It is not that they do not accept, they do feel that it may be useful in future. It's just that they will not consider it for the time being. However, in the following 18 months, we believe the impact of multilingual domain name will extend from the Asian region to other parts of the world. Apart from i-DNS.net, the network information centres in various districts, such as TWNIC in Taiwan, CNNIC in China, have all started to adopt multilingual system. The situation is, however, scattered because a code of standard on mulitlingual domain name system has yet to be established. However, representatives from various countries have already set up a Multilingual Domain Name Consortium and it is believed that a code of standard will soon be formulated.

Question: English is still the main language used locally, what's the response towards Chinese domain name?

Huang: In Singapore, there are currently 5 or 6,000 registered domain names, mainly in the business arena, with individual domain names constituting 20%. Generally, the locals feel that Chinese domain name is "very cute! But I don't need it!" Companies that have registered for domain name are mainly large international or regional company or small and medium-sized enterprises with a presence in China. The response is lukewarm at the moment but we anticipate such a need in future.

Question: Hence the impact of Chinese domain name in Singapore is mainly restricted to the business sector, what is the impact on a personal level?

Huang: Little impact. However, if you like, you can also register "billgates.per", this is entirely up to the individual. However, from a macro point of view, having a personal domain name is equivalent to having a personal territory on the Internet. Instead of having to "depend" on others, you can have your own personal web page. Following the promotion of WAP phone technology, perhaps 12 months later, we can have such domain name ".phone". By then, we can connect to the handphone directly and it is believed that there will be more internet protocol type of electrical appliances in future.

Question: What are i-DNS new development plans?

Huang: Our company plans to provide Chinese e-mail addresses soon, i.e. i-Email, which is different from e-mail with Chinese content. E-mail with Chinese content was introduced about 3 or 5 years back, and is now very common, nothing special about it. However, it is still not possible to key in e-mail addresses in multi-languages. Whether you are in China, Taiwan or Japan, the e-mail address is still in English. Our i-Email technology is an extension of the internationalised domain name, for example, my Chinese e-mail address is "Huang Huairen@iDNS.net" [in Chinese].


Additional Information

What is Chinese domain name?

If you key in "" at the URL on the computer, you will go to the home page of zaobao.com. This string of numerals is the so-called Internet Protocol but it is no easy feat remembering strings of numerals. The Domain Name System allows people to key in the domain name using English (or commonly known as website address), well at least it is easier to remember the English domain name such as "zaobao.com". However, in non-English countries or districts where Internet users are not well-versed in English, they may prefer to bear in mind the numerals!

The rapid development of the Internet will give rise to an increasing demand for domain name. A local company hatched by NUS, i-DNS.net International Pte Ltd officially launched its developed multilingual domain name technology last year - Internationalised Domain Name System, or i-DNS, for short. The technology and registration were introduced to various districts and the response was overwhelming.

Who needs a Chinese domain name?

Just like the launch of the English domain name, when Chinese domain name was launched, it caused quite a stir in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Some users even registered company or personal domain name for fear that others might do so first.

The difference between domain name and web address

Generally, when you mention domain name, it is likely that you are greeted by blank looks. However, if you say domain name refers to web address, it becomes clear immediately. Domain name, however, is different from web address. Domain name can be referred to as the basic level of the website, with many subsidiary web addresses. For example, the domain name/web address of Lianhe Zaobao is "zaobao.com", and it can have many other subsidary web addresses, for example the web address of computer network page is "zaobao.com/zaobao/computer/computer.html".

What are the types of domain name on the Internet?
The common types of domain name on the Internet are ".com", ".org", ".net", ".gov", ".edu", and ".per".

What is the registration fee for Chinese domain name?

The annual registration fee for the first two years is S$170 and S$85 for the third year onwards. For more details, please visit www.i-dns.net/aboutus/namereg.html.

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