HKIRC receives approval for ‘.香港’ domain from ICANN

HONG KONG, 26 June 2010 – Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Ltd (HKIRC) today announced that it has received ICANN’s approval to delegate the Chinese equivalent of the ‘.hk’ Top Level Domain, the ‘.香港’ Internationalized Domain Name Country Code Top Level Domains (IDN ccTLDs), at the ICANN board meeting in Brussels.

HKIRC has been promoting Chinese domain names since 2006 and submitted an application to ICANN for administering ‘.香港’ on 16 November last year. According to government statistics, Hong Kong has an online population of 4.3 million with the penetration rate standing at 69.4%. Also, 90% of Hong Kong people use Chinese for communication, indicating significant demand for Chinese domain names.

Furthermore, a recent survey shows that at the end of 2009, over 75% of web users in China used the Chinese language to surf the Internet and 23% used both Chinese and English, reflecting the use of the native Chinese language by the vast majority of Chinese web users when browsing websites. To cater for the local needs of using Chinese when surfing the Internet and help tap into the huge market of the Chinese-speaking community, HKIRC is preparing for the launch of the ‘.香港’ domain name.

“We plan to launch the ‘.香港’ domain name this year and offer free registration of the Chinese domain to current English domain users first. This not only helps them name their websites with full Chinese domain names to expand their business, but also eliminates the language barrier by using the easy-to-remember and easy-to-understand Chinese domain names. With the dual usage of simplified and traditional Chinese characters, the ‘.香港’ domain can help raise business brand awareness and extend website browsing to the Greater China region, further opening up potential new market opportunities. It is estimated that at least 37,000 ‘.hk’ users will register the related Chinese ‘.hk’ domain in the pre-registration period,” said Mr. Jonathan Shea, CEO of HKIRC.

Current English ‘.hk’ domain users will be offered priority to register for a Chinese domain name free of charge in the pre-registration period one to two months before the official launch to the public. New customers can register both Chinese and English ‘.hk’ same category domain names for the price of one.

With the introduction of ‘.香港’, it is anticipated that Chinese domain names will become more popular. This will also demonstrate the complementary effect of the Chinese ‘.香港’/English ‘.hk’ domain names, which fits well into the local bilingual culture, help enhance brand image and effectiveness, maximise the benefits to the Internet community and ultimately enhance the status of Hong Kong as a digital hub in Asia.

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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 English domain names ending with,,,,,, .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.

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