Korea and IDNs

Asian ccTLD registries were early adopters of IDNs and have coordinated across language and script communities for more than 15 years. We spoke to Kim Boyoung of the Republic of Korea’s ccTLD registry, KISA, about their IDN experiences.

In 2009, the Korean Internet and Security Agency (KISA) was established by integrating three governmental agencies including National Internet Development Agency, which was responsible for IP addresses, DNS infrastructure and the .kr domain. Among its duties, KISA is now responsible for both the .kr ccTLD and the 한국 (.hanguk) IDN associated with the ccTLD.

KISA was one of the first registries to submit an application to ICANN under the IDN ccTLD Fast Track in 2009. KISA’s application for the introduction of IDN ccTLD (.한국) was approved and the IDN went live for general registrations in October 2011.

Prior to making its IDN ccTLD application, KISA, as a ccTLD registry, formed and operated the IDN Task Force (2006~2008) and a multi-stakeholder IDN Advisory Committee (2009) to discuss the introduction of IDN ccTLD and related policy. The Committee supported the introduction of the IDN ccTLD for the following reasons:

  1. To improve Internet access and enhance the benefit of using domain name for the non-English speaker
  2. To expand domain name space and extend options for users
  3. IDN ccTLD enable full IDN and that strengthens the foundation for the revitalization of Internet business. Also it will contribute to resolve the digital division through the enhancement of Internet access and user benefits

KISA offers IDNs at the second level under .kr and the top level under .한국.

In 2018, .한국 domain registrations went up to 250,000 due to a price promotion. During a one month period, the registry exempted registration and renewal fees and several registrars also offered price promotions for their customers as a result. However, a year later, there was a sharp reduction in registrations as the price promotion did not continue.

Over the years, KISA has been active in supporting research on universal acceptance and advocating for the support of IDNs among Korean applications such as Naver and Daum.