China opens '.cn' door to foreign businesses


The Chinese government has announced that it will allow businesses outside China to register domain names in the '.cn' country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) from December. This will give foreign companies an opportunity to tap into China's fast-growing population of internet users, as well as further the government's aim to exploit the Internet commercially.

The government has struck a deal with US registry NeuStar to oversee registrations. Only a tiny percentage of the Chinese population has registered '.cn' domain names - fewer than 130,000 in seven years. By comparison, NeuStar was able to sign up 400,000 '.us' registrants in a couple of months.

According to Richard Tindal, NeuStar's vice president for sales and marketing, a Chinese agency will decide which addresses are appropriate and check the content of all '.cn' sites to address the government's concerns about political content. The agency will be able to bar Chinese users from accessing a range of foreign sites run by news organizations, human rights groups and Chinese dissidents.

Susan Guo, Lehman, Lee & Xu, Beijing

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