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Chinese-language domain names grow in popularity

By Zhang Zhao | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-13 07:45

Rapidly expanding internet industries pushed domestic web address registrations and sales up to 14 billion yuan in 2015

Industry experts see great potential in the development of the Chinese-language domain name market, according to the Global Domain Summit held last week in Xiamen, Fujian province.

Mao Wei, head of the Chinese-language domain development alliance, said in a keynote speech at the forum that there had been more than 1 million domain names using Chinese-language top-level domains by the end of June, accounting for 85 percent of all the Internationalized Domain Names - domain names using local language characters other than English.

Among all the Chinese-language domain names, 78 percent have used .wangzhi as their top-level domain name, which is managed by Knet, a company founded by the Computer Network Information Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Mao is the chairman of Knet.

Mao said China is the world's second-largest market for the traditional domain names - which end with such commonly seen domains, .edu and .org - and the largest market for the new domain names that end with new generic top-level domains, or New gTLDs such as .xyz, .red and .win, which were opened for registration by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers in 2012.

There were about 15 million domain names using the top 10 New gTLDs by July 3, 8.8 million of which were registered in China.

Chinese-language domain names grow in popularity

According to a report unveiled by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology in January, the value of China's primary domain name market, referring to direct domain registrations with official agencies, was about 2 billion yuan ($293.9 million) in 2015, and the secondary market, which means transfers from domain name owners, reached 12 billion yuan.

The online service industry relating to domain names generated more than 20 billion yuan that year, the report noted.

Mao said part of the reason for the development of China's domain market is the fast growth of the nation's internet industry and the huge market demand of several sectors.

"Only in China is there a huge number of new companies and new websites coming out each year," he said. "Beyond their technical properties, the domain names are valuable like trademarks."

Chinese-language domain names allow users to type Chinese in the address bar of their browsers to visit websites. Like those in English, they are basic resources of the internet, and are easier to remember, to speak and to spread by Chinese people, Mao said.

"When we decided to start the research and development of Chinese-language domain names in 1998, our thinking was simple. We wanted to show Chinese culture on the internet and give more convenience to Chinese internet users," Mao said. "However, every step we made required great effort."

Guo Feng, a researcher at the CAICT, is also optimistic about the future of the Chinese-language domain name market.

"The number of internet users keeps growing in all countries, and the growth in China leads the world," he said. "The application of Chinese-language domain names will help the language to become more popular."

When ICANN President Goran Marby visited Knet in April, he said the launch of the IDNs is important as it will help to work out the balance between globalization and localization.

Hui Xianglong, an executive of Knet responsible for the .wangzhi business, suggested Chinese companies use and protect their Chinese-language domain names.

(China Daily 07/13/2017 page17)

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