Rod Beckstrom, president and CEO of ICANN, visited China this week. In the visit, Beckstrom explained the new general top-level domain (gTLD), expressed the importance he had laid on the Chinese market, and urged companies and organizations in China to be well prepared for the new domain. The president also announced that Doc. Li Xiaodong, an expert on Internet in the Chinese Academy of Science, was to be appointed as the organization’s vice president in charge of the affairs in Asia.
“Half of the Internet users are in Asia, while a quarter of them are here in China, so it is extremely vital for us to have a top manager from Asia,” explained Beckstrom. This is surely a sign which showcases the importance that ICANN has laid upon the Chinese market.
It is originally intended by ICANN that any organization can have the chance to apply for a new gTLD. Yet, the plan may meet with many obstacles here in China. The mere application fare for a new gTLD is 185,000 US dollars, which does not include the fee for consultation. To make the matter even worse, the annual fee of a new gTLD amounts to as much as 25,000 US dollars. Thus, high price is one of the elements preventing the further spread of this plan in China. “Only the really capable companies will care to apply for a new domain.” said Doc. Li Xiaodong.
In the meeting on December 8th, a representative from China’s Internet administration showed concerns: “We suggest that companies and organizations have a clear and comprehensive idea about the application for the new gTLD. The threshold for the application is high in both finance and asset, so it is better not to go in for it blindly.” Yet, the representative also said, “It is not advisable to turn a deaf ear to the new gTLD, either. We hope that companies and organizations which have the capability in this regard can expand their influence by using a new gTLD.”
Hu Qiheng, chairman of Internet Society of China, appealed that ICANN should set up an arbitration mechanism on Internet. The chairman explained that, “since the new gTLD permits the use of different languages, conflicts in culture, politics and other related fields can hardly be avoided. Internet can be compared to high seas. Once located in the high-sea area, none of the laws of any country is effective but arbitration mechanism. Thus, an Internet arbitration mechanism set by ICANN would be highly appreciated so as to better resolve these conflicts.”
Yet, here comes another question deserving more discussion: Where does the value of the new gTLD lie? Xia Yong, editor-in-chief of Commercial Value, put forward his idea: rather than promoting the influence, big companies such as IBM and Apple apply for the new gTLD to protect their own domains from being registered by others. For these companies, does the new gTLD bring new value or new trouble? This question is open for the public to answer.