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Donuts blames “license” problems for Chinese gTLD delays

Kevin Murphy, December 8, 2014, 16:16:15 (UTC), Domain Registries

Donuts says that problems obtaining “licenses” from the Chinese government are to blame for the fact that it is yet to launch any of its Chinese-script new gTLDs.
Currently, four of the company’s portfolio of 156 gTLDs are in Chinese. Three have been delegated to the DNS root but none of them have been launched.
The first, .游戏 (for “games”) has been in the root since October 2013, but does not yet have a firm date for Sunrise. Another, .商店 (“shop”), was delegated just last week, almost a year after Donuts signed its Registry Agreement with ICANN.
Donuts explained the .游戏 delay with the following statement:

The Chinese government division which handles this area is MIIT [Ministry of Industry and Information Technology] and in conjunction with [.cn registry] CNNIC they are still to advise of the licensing application process. We hope to make these TLDs available during the first half of 2015.

No additional details were available and it’s not clear what licenses Donuts — which is based in the United States — thinks it needs to obtain before launching.
I’ve heard rumors that China may introduce a licensing system in future, but other new gTLD registries with Chinese-script strings in their stable have managed to launch their gTLDs just fine without a Chinese government license.
TLD Registry — legally based in Dublin, Ireland, founded by Finns — launched .中文网 and .在线 earlier this year and has tens of thousands of names under management.
Thousands of those domains, which match Chinese geographic names, were allocated to Chinese government, however.
“No licenses are currently possible, because the new law is MIA,” TLD Registry chief marketing officer Simon Cousins told us.

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Comments (8)

  1. Rubens Kuhl says:

    Possibly related to a regulation that comes with a gag order, requiring registries to block specific names (usually related to opposition leaders / slogans) without telling anyone about it (so they can’t make it to published reserved name lists).

  2. Tom says:

    If you want to get anything done in China, you have to pay the piper.

  3. Pam Little says:

    The registry and registrar licensing requirements and domain name regulations have been in place since 2004 but may not have been strictly enforced, see the Measures for the Administration of Internet Domain Names These Chinese regulations apply to gTLD domain names to the extent that such domain names are registered or used in China.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Yes, I learned that earlier today. I also gather that the rules started getting enforced in August this year. May do a follow-up post later.

  4. anony (eroyalmail) says:

    Email servers are non-compliant to RFC 6530. ICANN tested full IDNs when Tina Dam was there and have put full IDNs at root without real testing for email.
    In Gmail you cannot register IDN encoded /punycode mailbox. You could in Google Apps though you cannot login in and actually use it.
    Getting unicode mailbox is not possible either:
    ICANN way for full IDN has been, IDN website is all you need, leaving out communication needs and thus it is not possible to get easily workable unicode full IDN email addresses and punycode full IDN email addresses have login issues as explained above.
    Donuts and others registries and also registrars are not asking the major players for RFC 6530 compliance. So a huge population wanting to use full IDNs is not supported. According to answer at See, this is going to take years.

  5. Colin says:

    Allow me to clarify, as our team has gone to China 6 times this year. And almost 8000 .CLUBs have been registered in the mainland.
    Currently all new gTLDs can be registered in China; however, they can not set up a website without an ICP number. China monitors websites and requires that all websites have this ICP number. This only applies to the mainland China. To date, I am not aware of any new gTLD who has received approval to have a live site in China including all of the IDN sites.

  6. Silver says:

    “I am not aware of any new gTLD who has received approval to have a live site in China including all of the IDN sites.”
    In terms of new gTLD live site in China, http://凡客.在线 is live and being used. It’s a popular e-commerce site in China.
    On the other hand, the used-to-be-live site, is no longer working and they shifted back to CITIC Bank owns their own gTLD, wondering what happened and if that’s the reason.

  7. Donuts Inc. says:

    We’re working with the Chinese authorities to ensure the names will resolve once registered. Launching without that capability would benefit neither the program nor registrants — we want to ensure a proper sunrise and GA launch for these IDNs, especially in China.

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