This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

China Stretches Its Wires
Dec 05 2000 12:00 AM PST

The Chinese government redraws the line on the Web and fights to keep control of domain names.

China pervaded the tech news this morning, and the wire services had the coverage to themselves.

The San Jose Mercury News was one among many outlets to run an AP story, filed from a Hong Kong International Telecommunications Union conference, on the latest wrinkle in China's struggle to control the Internet without strangling it. China's Ministry of Information Industry wants to lay down rules for online bulletin boards, like requiring its citizens to use their true names. Last month China announced restrictions on chat rooms and on Web sites that post news stories.

Reuters supplied a story on the battle for control of domain names using Chinese characters. The dominant U.S. registrar, VeriSign (VRSN), has unveiled a service for registering such names in the .com, .net and .org domains, but China believes it should be the only one to offer such names, in its assigned .cn "country-code" domain. Reuters sketched the finger-pointing between the Hong Kong registry and western dot-com interests over the absence of Asian mechanisms to iron out domain-name disputes and dislodge cybersquatters.

CNET ran a Reuters story claiming that ATT (T) has won the right to open a telecommunications joint venture in Shanghai. The story quoted an AT&T spokesman and the official China Daily in describing the $25 million deal, which took eight years to negotiate.

Finally, Reuters quoted merchant banking sources who claimed that China Telecom is planning a $6 billion to $7 billion initial public offering in 2001. Merchant bankers will present proposals next week for underwriting an offering to be listed jointly in New York and Hong Kong, Reuters reported. - Keith Dawson

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