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China to apply for 'Zhongguo'domain name
Updated: 2009-11-16 14:58

China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) today will apply for the top-level Chinese domain name "Zhongguo"(written in pinyin), to key Internet oversight agency the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), reported.

Global netizens may be able to log on to the Internet with the new domain at the beginning of next year at the earliest, according to reports.

China has spent many years' effort to apply for the new domain written in Chinese. The new domain stems from a decision at the end of October by the board of ICANN to develop a "fast-track" mechanism for domain names in languages such as Chinese, Korean, Arabic and others that do not use the Latin alphabet.

"China has a huge number of netizens - 388 million as of the end of June this year. Their surfing on the Net will be facilitated under the Chinese domains but they can continue to use English domains as well," said Qilin, assistant director of CNNIC.

"The new Chinese domains won't bring any safety challenge to online payment," said Chen Yu, vice-president of Yeepay Company. "There is no problem for netizens to send e-mails with Chinese domains. It will be very feasible technically," he added.

The "fast-track" mechanism for domain names in non-Latin languages is regarded as "a major reform in the Internet over the past 40 years" by Internet experts.

"The reason to push the plan forward is the Internet is global but not only for Americans. Among the 1.6 billion netizens, half are from non-English speaking countries. It is a barrier for more people to use the Internet with the Latin character domains," said Zhang Jian, director of the International Business and Policy Development department of CNNIC.