Singapore to Offer Chinese-language Domain Names

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The Singapore Network Information Center (SGNIC) will begin registering Chinese-language domain names later this month, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) said Tuesday.

Despite its location in Southeast Asia, the majority of Singapore's population is ethnically Chinese, largely a result of the city-state's colonial history and waves of Chinese immigrants that arrived in the region during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While English is the language of government and business and is widely spoken, many Singaporeans speak Chinese dialects at home and with friends.

"Businesses and consumers can look forward to using Chinese characters in their website address to better reach their customers or friends who prefer Chinese Web addresses," IDA said in a statement.

The availability of Chinese-language .sg domain names will be rolled out in four phases, with government agencies getting priority.

Beginning on Nov. 23, SGNIC will begin registering Chinese-language domain names ending in the .sg top-level domain for government agencies. Availability of Chinese-language domain names will be extended to trademark holders registered with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore on Jan. 10, 2010, IDA said.

Starting on March 25, 2010, applications for Chinese-language domain names will be opened up to all entities, which will pay a priority fee for registrations during this phase. The fourth and final phase of registrations will begin on June 10, 2010, and will be open to everyone, it said.

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