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Preparing for Universal Acceptance in Wuzhen, China

Universal acceptance wuzhen 750x475 07jan20 en

(Top) ICANN org engaging the Chinese community in discussions on UA and IDNs in Wuzhen.

(Bottom, from left) Newly appointed UA Ambassador Zhijiang Liu with ICANN org's Sarmad Hussain and Jian-Chuan Zhang.

Universal Acceptance (UA) is a requirement for a truly multilingual Internet, one in which users around the world can navigate in their local languages. To achieve UA, Internet applications and systems must treat all top-level domains (TLDs) in a consistent manner, including new generic TLDs (gTLDs) and internationalized TLDs. Specifically, they must accept, validate, store, process, and display all domain names.

Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) enable people around the world to use domain names in local languages and scripts. IDNs are formed using characters from different scripts such as Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, or Devanagari.

At ICANN org, we share the belief that by advancing IDNs and UA, we will help to remove the language barriers for the next billion Internet users.

IDNs and UA in China

The Chinese community is well-known for its long-standing passion for IDNs. It views domain names in Chinese script as a powerful tool to expand Chinese culture on the Internet. At the same time, it can bridge the digital divide and enable the remaining 500 million people in China, who have yet to come online, to enjoy the benefits of the digital economy. Having already built a robust Chinese IDN market, including 27 Chinese new gTLDs, the community is now focused on creating an even more IDN-friendly usage environment.

China is a key region that the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG) will focus on in the coming months through local initiatives. The UA local initiative is a key working group established by the UASG.

Engaging in Wuzhen

To further increase awareness about IDNs and UA in China, my colleague Sarmad Hussain, IDN and UA Programs Director, and I recently attended the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, China. In addition to speaking about unique identifiers at the conference, we also discussed the UA local initiative with key members of the Chinese community, as well as with the newly appointed UA Ambassador Zhijiang Liu.

The UA local initiative aims to involve all of the key stakeholders in China, including the Chinese UA Ambassadors. Critical UA projects targeting search engines, email, mobile browsers, speech input, and social media platforms will need to be launched.

We look forward to working with the Chinese community to implement the UA local initiative. If you'd like to participate in this important work in China, please contact me at, or subscribe to our WeChat account at ICANN_CN.


    Keith Brian Tomo  07:52 UTC on 09 January 2020


Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."