New corporation for '.hk' domain name administration

HONG KONG, 22 April 2002 - The Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation (HKIRC), a new private and non-profit-making corporation, has been set up to perform Internet domain name administration functions in Hong Kong.

The HKIRC is designated as the ".hk" domain name administrator with the mandate to exercise the registration functions of ".hk" domains and represent Hong Kong in international Internet fora.

An inauguration ceremony of the HKIRC was held today (April 22) to mark the successful completion of the transfer of the domain name administration functions from the Joint Universities Computer Centre (JUCC), the then administrator of ".hk" domain names, to the HKIRC as proposed in a public consultation exercise conducted in June 2000.

The Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting, Mrs Carrie Yau Tsang Ka-lai, and the Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Alan Wong Chi-kong, were officiating guests at the ceremony.

Speaking at the ceremony today, Mrs Yau said, "With the inauguration of the new corporation, our domain name administration regime has entered into a new era."

"I am glad to learn that the corporation has already planned to roll out new domain name registration services, including registration for individual domain names, domain names for information providers, as well as Chinese domain names ending with '.hk'," she said.

The Government will endorse the application of the HKIRC to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for ICANN's re-delegation to administer ".hk" domain name registration in Hong Kong.

The tripartite relationship amongst ICANN, the Government and the HKIRC has been set out in a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the HKIRC and the Government in the ceremony today.

The HKIRC was represented by the Chairman of the HKIRC Board, Mr Joseph Yu, while the Government side was represented by Mr Wong.

A spokesman for the Information Technology Services Department (ITSD) said, "To address the needs of the HKIRC in requiring a start-up working capital to fund its initial operations and new registration services, the Government, with the approval of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council, will provide a loan of $6.5 million from the Government Loan Fund."

"Such arrangement also helps the corporation to develop healthily for the benefit of Hong Kong's Internet development," he added.

The Government has also provided a grant of about $4.1 million to the JUCC to finance the extra facilities, equipment and manpower resources for early implementation of the new registration policies and services. New services including registration of multiple domain names for a company and transfer of domain names were rolled out in June 2001.

Within 12 months from its incorporation, the HKIRC will implement a membership scheme with its members recruited from ".hk" domain name holders, Internet service providers, the information technology industry, the commercial sector and the academia.

Besides, its board of directors will be elected from its members. The Government will be represented through ITSD on the board to provide input pertaining to public policies.

Since the HKIRC is a non-profit-making company, its profits will be used to develop new services with a view to promoting the Internet and e-commerce development in Hong Kong.

In recognition of JUCC's pioneering work and contributions in setting up the ".hk" domain name administration regime, the HKIRC agreed to pay a sum of $10 million to the JUCC.

The payment will be made from the net profit of the HKIRC over a number of years, and no payment will be required for a year if the HKIRC does not make a profit in that year.

It is anticipated that the $10 million payment can be fully discharged in six years.

Also speaking at today's ceremony, Mr Yu said,"I wish to pay special tribute to the colleagues of JUCC who actually fathered the company at its embryonic stage."

"The Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau and the ITSD have also played a quiet but most important role in initiating, steering and supporting the creation of the HKIRC.

"Our new corporate structure will ensure the provision of market-oriented and responsive service to the Internet community," said Mr Yu.

The Chairman of the JUCC, Mr C G Large, was presented with a souvenir by Mrs Yau at the ceremony in appreciation of the Centre's contribution.

Mr Large said, "In 1989, the '.hk' top level domain was registered."

"For the co-ordination and identification on a regional basis of the growing number of user institutions in the following years, JUCC inevitably became involved in the setting up and management of a formal register of Internet domain name users in Hong Kong under '.hk'," he added.

In view of the rapid development of the Internet and electronic commerce locally, the Government conducted in June 2000 a public consultation on the proposals made by the Task Force under the Information Infrastructure Advisory Committee on the administration of Internet domain names and Internet protocol addresses in Hong Kong.

The public generally supported that the JUCC should gradually transfer the domain name administration function to a new non-profit making and non-statutory corporation which would assume the overall responsibility for Internet domain name administration in Hong Kong.

More information about the Internet domain names in Hong Kong is available on the "Digital 21" website (http://www.digital21.gov.hk/eng/structure/dnip_main.html).

About HKIRC

HKIRC was established as a non-profit-making and non-statutory organisation to oversee the administration and assignment of the country-code top level domain (ccTLD), i.e. ".hk", for Hong Kong. In addition, HKIRC represents Hong Kong in international Internet forum and plays a key role in facilitating Hong Kong's e-business development.

As the administrator of ".hk" domain names, HKIRC assumes the responsibility of registration and assignment of Internet domain names ending with ".com.hk", ".org.hk", ".net.hk", ".edu.hk" and ".gov.hk" and any other Second Level Domains to be introduced from time to time in Hong Kong.

If you need further information, please feel free to contact our Marketing & Communication Officer, Ms Lute Yip at +852 2319 3828 / +852 2319 3824 for details.