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Coming in 2009: Yourname@somewhere.中国

The era of online domination by the Roman alphabet will come one step closer to its end next year when a new top-level domain for China, .中国, is deployed.

The era of online domination by the Roman alphabet will come one step closer to its end next year when a new top-level domain for China, .中国, is deployed. Xinhua reports that ICANN expects the domain, which uses the two-character modern Chinese word for "China," will be ready in 2009.

The report also notes that people will be able to use Chinese characters for their mailbox name (the part before the @ sign) as well.

In the future, Internet users (will be able to) use their native languages as mailbox names to send and receive e-mail, which means (the) English-dominant (Roman characters only) era which began in 1982 is about to end.

I hope the encodings will be flexible enough to communicate across deployments of Chinese characters. If someone writes a name in simplified characters and then someone whose computer can only type traditional needs to write an e-mail, this could get challenging.