HKIRC to launch ‘.香港’ full Chinese domain name in 2010
Available free to ‘.hk’ corporations and users and further upholding the status of Hong Kong as a leading digital city

HONG KONG, December 21, 2009 – Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Ltd (HKIRC) announced today that ‘.香港’ registrations will be offered free to all ‘.hk’ customers in the second half of 2010 with the aim of helping them develop their sites with full Chinese domain names. This is to increase the popularity of Chinese domain names and to maximize benefits to the Internet community, and ultimately to sustain the status of Hong Kong as a digital city.

HKIRC has rigorously planned and submitted an application to administer ‘.香港’ since the approval of the Internationalized Domain Name Country Code Top Level Domains (IDNccTLDs), at a meeting held by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Seoul.

Mr Jonathan Shea, CEO of HKIRC said: “The objective of HKIRC is to provide ‘.hk’ registration services and promote usage of the Internet. Through the timely introduction of ‘.香港’ domain, Chinese and English domain names will become complementary to each other, fostering the growth of the Internet community as well as leveraging on the market potential of the huge Chinese-speaking population of one billion-plus. The introduction can also cater for the demands of the local users who prefer to use their own dialect.

According to a survey conducted by the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC), over 60% of netizens feel that domains in local dialects can help people to search sites, and are useful for promotion. Moreover, over 55% of domain users said localized domains could help to extend the influence of mainland brands on the Internet. Since a number of Chinese netizens expressed support for the opening of IDN registrations, it is estimated that the majority of the current 180,000 ‘.hk’ users will register a Chinese ‘.香港’ domain in the future.

The local community is keenly anticipating and supporting the introduction of ccTLD ‘.香港’. A number of enquiries have been received already from corporations, organisations, small-and-medium enterprises, and reputable brands such as Sino Group, Lung Wah (龍華乳鴿), and the creative online exchange platform Anyidea.hk, which are looking forward to using ‘.香港’ domain to showcase the quality and creative branding of Hong Kong to explore further business opportunities.

Speedy Group, one of HKIRC’s industry partners, also welcomes the release of ‘.香港’. Speedy Group has said that the new measures will change the domain name market dominated by English, and that ‘.香港’ will eliminate language obstacles and help explore new market potential.

”After the ‘.香港’ introduction, existing English or Chinese ‘.hk’ domain name holders will soon be able to use full Chinese characters in web names. It is expected that most of the applications will be submitted by corporate brands, government departments, not-for-profit organisations and small-and-medium enterprises, as well as for generic domain names like flower shop, food and garment. We look forward to accelerating and promoting Internet adoption and development, ultimately solidifying the status of Hong Kong as a leading digital city,” added Mr. Shea.

- end –

About HKIRC Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited (HKIRC) is a not-for-profit, non-statutory, company limited by guarantee designated by the Government of the HKSAR to undertake the administration of Internet domain names under the '.hk' country code top level domain. HKIRC provides registration services for the English domain names ending with ‘.com.hk’, ‘.org.hk’, ‘.net.hk’, ‘.edu.hk’, ‘.gov.hk’, ‘.idv.hk’, ‘.hk’ and Chinese domain names ending with ‘.公司.hk’, ‘.組織.hk’, ‘.網絡.hk’, ‘.教育.hk’, ‘.政府.hk’, ‘.個人.hk’, ‘.hk’, and other domains to be introduced from time to time in Hong Kong.

Media Contacts:
HKIRC
Angela Kwok
Tel : +852 2319 3828
Fax : +852 2319 2626
Email : marketing@hkirc.hk

iPR Ogilvy Ltd
Will Ip
Tel: +852 2136 6175
Fax: +852 3170 6606
Email : will.ip@iprogilvy.com