By Ka Yan Hui
First, we found Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Facebook. Then, there was the week-long China 2.0 Tour in November. And it looks like China’s fascination with dominating the internet is showing no signs of slowing. Last week, the national campaign for the use of the new domain name, “.中国 (China)”, finally took off in Beijing.
The domain name will be the first time anyone has challenged the predominant English alphabet-based system. By 2011, most mainstream websites are expected to have something that ends with .中国.
Planned less than a year ago, the “.中国” campaign will transition existing websites smoothly by automatically assigning the new domain to websites with a “.CN” domain. An official from the China Internet Network Information Center (CINIC) told the People’s Daily News:
…developing the domain name of .中国 is an important means to accelerate the application and popularity of the Internet in China, allow the Internet to better play its role in supporting and advancing the Chinese economy, and spread the excellent culture of the Chinese nation.
It won’t only be us getting used to the new domain name – mainstream browsers and search engines Yahoo and Google have all agreed to recognize .中国. The campaign is part of the all-encompassing international effort to include multiple language scripts in the universal domain name system – and it just so happened to be that China received dibs first. Makes sense to us, considering Mandarin, by most estimates, is still the most popular language in the world.
Just how quickly the use of new the domain name spread? Look to the governmental organizations, traditional online media, and engineering universities, says People’s Daily Online, and you’ll discover that most of them have already hopped on board.