ICANN approves '.asia'


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced that it has approved '.asia', a new sponsored top-level domain (sTLD). This follows the launch of various other sTLDs such as '.jobs', '.travel', '.cat' and '.mobi' (for the latter, see Guidelines for use of '.mobi' premium list by mark owners published).

The new extension will be aimed at individuals or entities based in Asia, rather like '.eu' is intended to serve those with a presence within the European Union. It is estimated that the launch will take place in some six to nine months' time and will be preceded by a sunrise period allowing the holders of IP rights to register in priority.

The registrar for the '.asia' sTLD is DotAsia, a not-for-profit corporation made up of different membership bodies from ICANN's Asia-Pacific Region, including:

  • organizations that operate ccTLD registries in the region; and

  • internet, IT, telecommunications, non-profit, non-governmental or other relevant community organizations in the region.

DotAsia claims that a regionally dedicated domain will help to cement a common regional identity and provide the continent with a unified front. Given the success of the '.eu' launch in December 2005 one can expect '.asia' to be a very popular sTLD too.

For background information on '.asia', see '.asia' moves closer to reality.

David Taylor and Jane Seager, Lovells, Paris

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