ICANN this week gave preliminary approval to four countries and two territories in five language scripts for additional internationalised domain names (IDNs) as part of its IDN Fast Track Process.
The announcement sees Hong Kong receiving preliminary approval for ‘Hong Kong’ in Chinese. Others to gain preliminary approval were the Palestinian Territories for ‘Palestine’ in Arabic, Qatar for ‘Qatar’ in Arabic, Sri Lanka for ‘Lanka’ in Sinhalese and Tamil, Thailand for ‘Thai’ in Thai and Tunisia for ‘Tunis’ in Arabic.
In January ICANN gave preliminary approval to four other IDNs. Those successful were Egypt for ‘Egypt’ in Arabic, the Russian Federation for ‘RF’ in Cyrillic, Saudi Arabia for ‘AlSaudiah’ in Arabic and United Arab Emirates for ‘Emirates’ in Arabic.
In addition, two proposals were sent for a further review this week. These were to China for ‘China’ in simplified and traditional Chinese and to Taiwan for ‘Taiwan’ in simplified and traditional Chinese.
“The delay is not over political disputes says” the AP, “but rather because the Chinese language can be written in two ways – using simplified and traditional scripts.”
So while only preliminary approval has been given, it is to be expected registrations for these domains will commence later in 2010. Most likely there will be sunrise and landrush periods, although each registry will no doubt have their own rules.