Domain registrar Melbourne IT commenced the registration of domain names in Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters this morning through its Internet Names World Wide subsidiary (INNW).
The company is marketing itself as an Internet industry pioneer with its foray into the Asian market, where it is selling .com domain names using the Asian characters through its ISP and Web-hosting channel partners.
Kieran Magee, product manager for multilingual domains at Melbourne IT, said the company received an enthusiastic response from its partners and is picking up large volumes of names within hours of the service becoming available.
"This adds an extra string to our bow," he said. "This is opening up the Internet to one of the fastest growing markets in the world."
Magee said the Internet and the country's ethnic diversity have enabled Melbourne IT to run the Asian-character service out of Australia in an effective manner.
"One of the benefits of operating out of Australia is our being multicultural," he said. "Even from within the existing staff in our company, we have a diverse range of resources, such as people fluent in Chinese and Japanese."
Melbourne IT's next gamble in the domain space will be its bid for the new Top-Level Domains on offer from ICANN (International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). ICANN will announce which bids are successful by the end of the year.
"We put in a strong case with our partner Neustar and are excited about the opportunity," Magee said.