Explosive demand expected for .asia domains

Companies and organizations in the Asian-Pacific region now have a new option for their Website domain names — the suffix “dot Asia.”

The DotAsia Organisation announced its “.Asia Go Live” registry in Hong Kong Wednesday, on a first-come-first-serve basis. The DotAsia Organisation is a not-for-profit, community-based group, incorporated in Hong Kong, that is sponsoring the operation of the .Asia top-level domain registration.

Patent and trademark-registered bodies have already had the opportunity to register for the new “dot Asia” domain, in the first two phases of the project.

Early adopters have included Time.asia, AIG.asia, Yahoo.asia and Amazon.asia, plus celebrities such as StephenChow.asia and KennyG.asia.

DotAsia CEO Edmon Chung announced that his company had already received more than 500,000 domain registration applications. Some 45,000 domains that attracted more than one interested applicant will go into auction in the next few months.

The top five domains to be auctioned, to date, are “ace.asia” (US$20,501), mediaworld.asia” ($10,000), “tyco.asia” ($7,600), “wellness.asia” ($5,900), and “spotlight.asia” ($5,700).

“Being a social enterprise,” said Chung, “the revenue generated from domain sales will be channeled back to the community to bridge the digital divide, contribute to education, and to finance research and development work.”

Chung expects “explosive demand” for .Asia domains. Of all the applicants, 40 per cent came from North America, 35 per cent from Asia, 24 per cent from Europe, and one per cent from other regions. He said the higher registration rate of companies from America and Europe was a result of their “greater sense of intellectual property right and the sense of crisis.” As for Asian-Pacific countries, most applications were from Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Chung advises CIOs to register first because “.Asia domains are now available while they last. Besides registering their company names, CIOs are also advised to register their relevant product type so as “to leave a footprint on the Internet,” said Chung.

Sin Chung-kai, a member of Hong Kong”s Legislative Council, in representing the Information Technology Functional Constituency (ITFC), advised the IT departments of more than 300,000 Hong Kong SMEs to prepare for the commencement of the .Asia domain, because it attracted companies to break out of the Hong Kong market into the broader Asian-Pacific region.

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