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Domain name speculation skyrockets in China

Published July 23, 2010

Cyber-squatting and domain name speculation fever is sweeping across China.

ICANN recently announced domain names containing Chinese characters will be available in August and the People's Daily Online reports that over 30,000 Chinese domain names related to a single city, Wuhan, have already been registered. Many of the registrations have been made by parties seeking to profit on resale of the domain names at a later date.

Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province and most populous city in central China, with just over 9 million residents. Wuhan is the scientific and educational hub of Central China, with dozens of higher educational institutions such as Wuhan University and Huazhong University of Science and Technology; and as such has an Intenet-savvy population.

Compared to domain names in English or other Latin character set based languages, Chinese character based domain names are more convenient for the nation's Internet users, particularly the elderly.

China now has the most Internet users of any country in the world. In May of this year, the State Council Information Office said the number of Chinese online exceeded 400 million and the nation's Internet penetration rate had reached 28.9%. The total number of broadband connections at that time eclipsed 346 million.

By comparison, the European Union had 319 million Internet users (2009 figures), the USA 234 million (2009) and Japan, 95 million (2009).

Australia has in excess of 17 million Internet users (2009) representing an 80% penetration rate. In terms of overall users, Australia ranks number 25 in the world.

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