The new software that allows China's Internet users to navigate the web and send email in Chinese was launched Monday in Hong Kong by Verisign, a NASDAQ-listed provider of digital trust service.
Web-based Navigation and i-Nav plug-in software developed by Verisign will promote more global usage and adoption of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) -- domains using non-English characters -- and give Internet users a choice of Chinese and 350 other languages for domain names ending in .com and .net.
Verisign announced Monday that it has signed distribution agreements with 3721.com and Foxmail, making the i-Nav software available immediately to China's 56 million Internet users.
"Over 655 million worldwide Internet users must type English character domain names to navigate the web or send email, but 63.5percent of Internet users do not speak English as their first language," said Christopher Parente, IDN communications manager of Verisign Global Registry Services, at a press conference.
"English language domain names should not be the only way to navigate the Internet today," he added.
Web-based Navigation has been installed on VeriSign's 13 DNS server locations around the world, making Internet navigation in any language available globally to every Internet user for .com and .net domains.
The i-Nav plug-in software companion provides a complete multilingual experience for popular browser programs like Internet Explorer and email programs like Outlook and Outlook Express.
"IDNs provide Internet identities in the Internet user's own language," said Zhou Hongyi, CEO of 3721.com. "Offering this localized navigation service will accelerate the Internet's popularization and development in China."