The DotAsia Organisation announced its '.Asia Go Live' registry in Hong Kong recently, on a first-come-first-served 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 include Time.asia, AIG.asia, Yahoo.asia and Amazon.asia, plus celebrities such as StephenChow.asia and KennyG.asia.DotAsia CEO Edmon Chung says his company has 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 at press time are 'ace.asia' (US$20,501), mediaworld.asia' (US$10,000), 'tyco.asia' (US$7,600), 'wellness.asia' (US$5,900), and 'spotlight.asia' (US$5,700). "Being a social enterprise", says Chung, "the revenue generated from domain sales will be channelled back to the community to bridge the digital divide, contribute to education, and to finance research and development work."
Chung expects an '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 says the higher registration rate of companies from America and Europe was a result of their "greater sense of intellectual property rights and the sense of crisis". As for Asia-Pacific countries, most applications were from Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.Chung recalls a relatively slow response and low participation from Asia when .INFO, .BIZ, .MOBI, .EU were launched previously. "I think we have already taken a big step for .Asia, however, many companies are still slow to respond, and from what we see, some prominent companies have still not protected their name in Asia," he says.
Cyber real estate
"Top-level domains are like cyber real estate. In the past, the best real estate is often snatched up by US and European [companies and organisations]. I think the .Asia launch has already created higher awareness, however it is important that multinationals and SMEs alike in .Asia be more proactive in the development of cyber real estate," says Chung.Besides registering their company names, Chung advises CIOs to register their relevant product type so as "to leave a footprint on the Internet". Sin Chung-kai, a member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council, in representing the Information Technology Functional Constituency (ITFC), advises the IT departments of more than 300,000 Hong Kong SMEs to prepare for the commencement of the Asia domain, because it attracts companies to break out of the Hong Kong market into the broader Asia-Pacific region.
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