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Speech by GCIO at Chinese Domain Name launching ceremony (English only)

    Following is a speech by the Government Chief Information Officer, Mr Howard Dickson, at the Chinese Domain Name launching ceremony today (March 8): (English only)

     Christopher, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     It is my great pleasure to officiate at the launch of Chinese domain names, or CDNs, in Hong Kong. Today is the International Women's Day, the global day connecting all women around the world. I would say that today has also marked the beginning of a new era to connect the Internet community with Hong Kong.

     The Internet has fundamentally changed the way people communicate and companies do business.  However, the primary development of the Internet infrastructure such as domain names system (DNS) is still mainly in English. Considering that 60% of the world population is non-English speaking, we can see how important it is to have domain names in local languages.

     In recent years, various countries and distinct economies have rolled out domain names in their local or preferred languages, which enable domain names to be expressed in a way that the Internet community can easily understand and remember. Today, I would like to congratulate the Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited (HKIRC) for its official launch of the Chinese domain name registration service. It is not only another new product or service launch, but also represents a major significant development of the DNS Internet infrastructure for Chinese domain names in Hong Kong.  I would also like to congratulate the company that the number of '.hk' domain names has been growing substantially over the past years.  
     In fact, the number of registered '.hk' domain names has doubled (from 60,000 to 120,000) since the company assumed the responsibility for the registration of .hk Internet domain names in April, 2002, under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government. This is a great achievement and record for the Internet community. Today's launch of the Chinese domain names system, coupled with Hong Kong's excellent IT infrastructure, and initiatives by both the Government and private sector to further develop the wireless and mobile network channels, I'm certain that the number of Internet domain names will further increase in the coming years with the introduction of Chinese domain names. However, there is no room for complacency and we should always strive for continuous improvements in the administration of Internet domain names in Hong Kong. Changes in demographics, lifestyles and patterns of ICT usage and security considerations mean that we should stay abreast of these developments and review our stance with due regard to the latest international and regional developments.

     The Office of Government Chief Information Officer has recently completed a consultancy review on the institutional framework and corporate governance for the administration of Internet domain names in Hong Kong - with a view to improving the overall governance of the administration of Internet domain names. The consultant conducted extensive research on the state of domain name administration regimes across more than a dozen countries as well as qualitative studies and interviews in a few of them. In Hong Kong, the consultant had also interviewed some 30 representatives from various sectors and conducted an online survey by over 500 stakeholders. Their findings and recommendations are being reviewed by us and we plan to consult the public in the next few months before finalising any proposals on changes and the way forward.

     Once again, I thank the HKIRC and its subsidiary HKDNR for all the hard work you have put in to maintain a robust and customer-friendly country-level domain system for Hong Kong. I wish you and your Service Partners continued success in this worthwhile initiative.

Ends/Thursday, March 8, 2007
Issued at HKT 14:06


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