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NSI enters Asia domain market

Network Solutions signs agreements with eight Asian Net firms for domain registrations in their host countries.

Furthering its reach outside the United States, Network Solutions today announced agreements with eight Asian telecommunications and Internet companies for domain registrations in their host countries.

The announcement comes a week after Network Solutions signed on six Scandinavian Internet companies in a similar deal. Network Solutions expects the agreements to give its brand greater international recognition.

The eight Asian companies involved in the agreement include China Telecom and HiChina Chuanglian in China; Hongkong Telecom, China Internet Corporation and Hong Kong Supernet in Hong Kong; Dacom Corporation and Korea Telecom in Korea; and Singapore Telecom in Singapore.

Network Solutions Dueling domains has been making a concerted push overseas before its contract with the National Science Foundation to be the sole registrar of domain names expires September 30.

By partnering up with international ISPs and Net companies, the firm hopes to expand its brand recognition worldwide, before potential competitors enter the fray when the contract expires.

Earlier this month, Senior White House adviser Ira Magaziner pushed for Internet companies to reach a consensus over how the U.S. government should phase out its management of domain name registrations. Magaziner also said the government is beginning discussions with Network Solutions over how to make the turnover of its authority a smooth transition.

The government proposed last month that the private sector establish a nonprofit organization with wide representation from all parties interested in the domain naming system. See related story: 
NSI could see downside That group would be charged with making key decisions, such as whether to add new top-level domains.

With today's deal, Network Solutions gained a significant foothold into one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. Recent government reports out of China pinned the number of Internet users at 1.175 million, which has skyrocketed from 505,000 at beginning of the year.

Asian e-commerce is projected to grow from $83 million in 1997 to $8.24 billion in 2001 in large businesses and from $29 million in 1997 to 4.9 billion by 2001 in small businesses, according to studies conducted by International Data Corporation.

"The demand is there," Hyojong Kim, president of Domain Asia, a New York-based consulting firm working with Network Solutions, said in a statement. "But for the majority of companies, securing a domain name has been difficult."

NEWS.COM's Paul Festa contributed to this report.