Until recently China did not have an internationally standardized way to input web addresses in their native language. ICANN approving three sets of Chinese country-specific domains has virtually increased the number of potential Internet users by 1 billion.
Previous local solutions
Prior to this Chinese have been using alternative methods to incorporate web addresses in their native languages. Some of the initial workarounds were at times misunderstood as a solution from the Chinese government to get rid of the US imperialism of the Internet. However, previous non standard methods were the only means of access to the Internet for anybody who knew no other language than Chinese.
What it means to the world
A huge growth of potential Internet users means good business prospects in terms of expanding existing ventures as well as establishing brand new ideas. IDN domains have been quite useful in localizing any business via the Internet. Similarly a flood of native Chinese Internet users are sure to be a target of many online entrepreneurs across the world. Any presentation of Chinese specific information should be highly effective through this newly approved range of ccTLD’s. For example a business presentation for a Chinese audience will have a greater impact with language specific ccTLD’s.
China being a highly industrialized giant in manufacturing, trading and many more aspects of the world economy, the business opportunities through newly approved Chinese country specific domains are virtually endless. This not only opens up new potential markets but also expands the boundaries of any online trade with Chinese markets. Trading domain names itself is another aspect of a business opportunity for many who are already in domain trading. Although cyber squatting and copyright issues are a serious concern with names, legitimate domain flipping and/or trading is a lucrative business.
Approved are two variants each for Taiwan and mainland China, in traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese, while Hong Kong gets a single name of their own. Both variants of languages resolve to the same web address, only those users are allowed to choose the extension they are comfortable with. The existing English letter ccTLD’s, namely CN for China and TW for Taiwan, will continue its course without any change.
ICANN’s mission stating that “universal resolvability so that all users of the Internet can find all valid addresses” makes perfect sense when such ccTLD in native Chinese are being approved by the ICANN. However introduction of too many ccTLD’s could dilute the image of the same domain name in common TLD extensions.The two versions of ccTLD’s approved for Mainland China, 中国 and 中國, will be administered by China Internet Network Information Center (CINIC) while Taiwan Network Information Center handles both the versions of ccTLD’s for Taiwan, 台灣 and 台湾. Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited would maintain 香港 which is the only ccTLD approved for Hong Kong. But the big brother ICANN continues his duties as the governing body of the overall operation.