ICANN has granted approval to three different organizations to create Chinese-language top-level domains (TLDs). According to this report on Computer World, this will allow Web site operators to register domain names written entirely in Chinese characters, including the final characters to the right of the last dot, in a matter of months.
“China uses a script that represents words as one or more ideograms, but the DNS (Domain Name System) infrastructure stores domain names using the “Latin” alphabet, the 26 letters from A to Z. That suits Internet users in English-speaking countries, but poses problems in countries for which the official language is written using other scripts, such as Chinese ideograms, Arabic script or the Cyrillic characters used in Russian. European countries such as Österreich (Austria) or España (Spain) also have problems with the Latin alphabet, as they use accented characters to spell their official name in their own language.
“The Chinese-language internationationalized domain names (IDNs) are not the first IDNs that ICANN has approved. In April it allowed Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to create country-code top-level domain names in their own script.”