Coming Soon: A Truly Chinese Internet

Replete with its own thriving news portals, social media and gaming sites, the Chinese Internet could take a major step toward becoming fully Chinese by the end of the year.

Replete with its own thriving news portals, social media and gaming sites, the Chinese Internet could take a major step toward becoming fully Chinese by the end of the year.

Speaking in an interview Wednesday, Fady Chehadé, president of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) – the private body that oversees the basic design of the Internet — said the organization would roll out Chinese character options for top-level domains in the second half of 2013.

A top-level domain is the part of a web address that appears after the dot, such as .com, .net and .edu. ICANN had previously approved only a limited number of address endings using the Roman alphabet but is currently working on introducing a whole array of new address endings both in English and other languages, including Chinese, Arabic, Korean, Russian and Japanese.

Although Chinese characters can already be used in the main part of a web address, Chinese websites have tended to stick with Roman URLs. Mr. Chehadé said many companies and organizations have been waiting for Chinese language address endings before launching full character addresses.

“In China the numbers will be staggering once we release the all Chinese character” domain names, he said.

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