The ccTLD registry for China, CNNIC, has been established and in continuous operation since 1997. At one stage, .cn was the largest ccTLD in the world, and had the same market share as .com in China. Registration numbers have fluctuated in recent years.

As well as managing the operation of .cn and 中国/中國, it conducts research and development and publishes an annual report on the development status of China’s Internet.

CNNIC was one of the first registries in the world to implement internationalised domain names (trial under .cn in 2000). There are still over 300 000 Chinese script domain names under .cn.

The IDN ccTLD 中国/中國 launched in 2010. CNNIC had offered a locally resolving version of these TLDs since 2000, but they did not work outside of China. In the first month of registration over 380 000 domains were ported over to the 中国/中國 domain. Over the subsequent two years, registrations decreased by 25%. However, through 2013, registrations have remained steady at 270 000.

The 中国/中國 TLD allows a combination of Chinese and ASCII characters. This is the only IDN ccTLD that the authors are aware of which allows ASCII registrations at the second level.

CNNIC operates a system for handling character variants, and as reported in last year’s study, has been active in developing standards for IDNs in collaboration with others in the region. CNNIC has also been active in its advocacy for Chinese IDNs, with browser manufacturers, and in the field of internationalised email. During 2013, CNNIC has been working through the Internet Engineering Task Force to develop standards for POP and IMAP.

“.政务”Government and Government Affairs and “.公益” (Public Interest) new gTLDs

In April 2012, authorised by the Chinese Government, China Organizational Administration Center (CONAC), applied for two Chinese new gTLDs “.政务” (government and government affairs) and “.公益” (public interest) in ICANN’s new gTLD programme. Both “.政务” and “.公益” TLDs launched in December, 2013.

Locally resolving TLDs

Before application of “.政务” and “公益” gTLDs, CONAC had begun domestic operations of a testbed for tentative “.政务.cn”, “.政务”, “.公益.cn” and “.公益” TLDs since 2008. These worked within the networks of domestic operators only. The testbed has proved successful, and as of 30th May, 2014, the registration volume of “.政务.cn” and “.公益.cn” has reached 700 000. Strict eligibility criteria apply for both the “.政务” and “.公益” TLDs.

IDN applications in browsers and IDN emails

CONAC has been promoting IDN applications in browsers in China and has cooperation with Baidu.Inc, the largest Chinese search engine, and has been researching IDN technology in Chinese-script email systems.

Previously published in World Report on Internationalised Domain Names, 2014