BEIJING, June 13, 2012 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- At a press conference held in London today, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) officially announced a list of 1930 applications for the new generic top level domain (gTLD).
Since the launch of the Internet 40 years ago, there have been only 22 gTLDs such as .com. The announcement represents a historical change to the Internet. For the first time, there are 65 unique applications for Chinese gTLDs.
Chinese gTLD applicants include China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) and premier Chinese corporations and brands such as China CITIC Group and Aigo Digital. Notably, a Chinese Internet company Zodiac Holdings Limited ("Zodiac") has applied for 15 top level domain names, the single largest Chinese gTLD applicant.
James Seng, the founder of Zodiac is well known as the inventor of Internationalized Domain Names (IDN), the underlying technology that enables domain names to be in non-English such as Chinese. Founded in 2008, Zodiac has raised more than US$20 million to invest in the new gTLDs focused on the Chinese market.
"For the half billion Chinese Internet users, Chinese domain names are easier to remember and more intuitive to use," said James Seng, also a veteran at ICANN for over 10 years, "These new Chinese TLDs offer Chinese companies more choices and an unique opportunity to establish their brands online in Chinese."
Zodiac has applied for a wide range of gTLDs, such as generic-use ("website") to e-commerce ("shop") and ("mall") to funky ("I love You"). Interestingly, Zodiac is also the geographic TLD applicant from China applying to operate ("Guangdong").
"We are pleased to work with our Chinese partner to launch the first and only provincial and city-level TLD in China," said Eugene Li, Vice President of Zodiac. Formerly CNNIC deputy director, Eugene joined Zodiac in 2009 to bring his expertise and knowledge of the Chinese domain name industry.
"We are excited to be working with Zodiac to change the way the Chinese population use the Internet and how Chinese businesses develop their online presence," said Lawrence Tse, General Partner of Gobi Partners, one of the investors in Zodiac.
China is a complicated market but represents huge opportunity. Over 100,000 domain name registrations were received on the day CNNIC opened registrations to individuals in May. Based in Beijing, Zodiac has been preparing for its new gTLD applications since 2008 and has established itself as an important player in the inner circle of the domain name industry in China.
Since ICANN announced the acceptance of applications for new gTLDs on June 20, 2011, global stakeholders have been keeping an eye on the huge business potential. As of May 30, 2012, ICANN received US$350 million from application fees for new TLDs.
About Zodiac Holdings Limited:
Zodiac Holdings Limited was founded by James Seng, the inventor of Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) and a 10-year veteran in the domain name industry. Zodiac has raised more than US$20 million from VCs and family offices.
Zodiac's mission is to become an ICANN-approved TLD registry operator focusing on the Chinese market, specifically Chinese IDN TLDs. Its vision is to become the largest commercial TLD registry operator in Asia.
Zodiac has signed an MOU with CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center) to support Zodiac in its applications for Chinese TLDs. Zodiac is working closely with CNNIC and KNET, the subsidiary of CNNIC, which is the technical back-end service provider for Zodiac.
The list of new gTLDs applied by Zodiac is available on http://zodiacregistry.com/
SOURCE Zodiac Holdings Limited