The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced to launch Chinese character options for top-level domains in the second half of this year. A top-level domain is the part of the Web address after the dot, so the Chinese characters will replace the .com, .net, .org’s, etc. that you see in most Web addresses.
The roll-out is part of ICANN’s plan to introduce address endings in characters other than the Roman alphabet. Other languages in the works include Arabic, Korean, Russian, and Japanese.
The announcement marks a change in tune for ICANN, which was created in 1998 by the U.S. Department of Commerce to manage domain names. The organization has resisted previous efforts by China, Russia and other countries to control Internet addresses, and been criticized for not letting each country manage their own Internet addresses. In December at the World Conference on International Telecommunications, China was among a coalition of countries, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, that submitted a proposal to gain more sovereignty over Web addresses.