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The
Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation (HKIRC), a new private and
non-profit-making corporation, has been set up to perform Internet domain name
administration functions in Hong Kong.

The
HKIRC is designated as the “.hk” domain name administrator with the
mandate to exercise the registration functions of “.hk” domains and
represent Hong Kong in international Internet fora.

An
inauguration ceremony of the HKIRC was held today (April 22) to mark the
successful completion of the transfer of the domain name administration
functions from the Joint Universities Computer Centre (JUCC), the then
administrator of “.hk” domain names, to the HKIRC as proposed in a
public consultation exercise conducted in June 2000.

The
Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting, Mrs Carrie Yau Tsang
Ka-lai, and the Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Alan Wong
Chi-kong, were officiating guests at the ceremony.

Speaking
at the ceremony today, Mrs Yau said, “With the inauguration of the new
corporation, our domain name administration regime has entered into a new
era.”

“I
am glad to learn that the corporation has already planned to roll out new
domain name registration services, including registration for individual domain
names, domain names for information providers, as well as Chinese domain names
ending with ‘.hk’,” she said.

The
Government will endorse the application of the HKIRC to the Internet
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for ICANN’s re-delegation to
administer “.hk” domain name registration in Hong Kong.

The
tripartite relationship amongst ICANN, the Government and the HKIRC has been
set out in a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the HKIRC and the
Government in the ceremony today.

The
HKIRC was represented by the Chairman of the HKIRC Board, Mr Joseph Yu, while
the Government side was represented by Mr Wong.

A
spokesman for the Information Technology Services Department (ITSD) said,
“To address the needs of the HKIRC in requiring a start-up working capital
to fund its initial operations and new registration services, the Government,
with the approval of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council, will
provide a loan of $6.5 million from the Government Loan Fund.”

“Such
arrangement also helps the corporation to develop healthily for the benefit of
Hong Kong’s Internet development,” he added.

The
Government has also provided a grant of about $4.1 million to the JUCC to
finance the extra facilities, equipment and manpower resources for early
implementation of the new registration policies and services. New services
including registration of multiple domain names for a company and transfer of
domain names were rolled out in June 2001.

Within
12 months from its incorporation, the HKIRC will implement a membership scheme
with its members recruited from “.hk” domain name holders, Internet
service providers, the information technology industry, the commercial sector
and the academia.

Besides,
its board of directors will be elected from its members. The Government will be
represented through ITSD on the board to provide input pertaining to public
policies.

Since
the HKIRC is a non-profit-making company, its profits will be used to develop
new services with a view to promoting the Internet and e-commerce development
in Hong Kong.

In
recognition of JUCC’s pioneering work and contributions in setting up the
“.hk” domain name administration regime, the HKIRC agreed to pay a
sum of $10 million to the JUCC.

The
payment will be made from the net profit of the HKIRC over a number of years,
and no payment will be required for a year if the HKIRC does not make a profit
in that year.

It
is anticipated that the $10 million payment can be fully discharged in six
years.

Also
speaking at today’s ceremony, Mr Yu said,”I wish to pay special tribute to
the colleagues of JUCC who actually fathered the company at its embryonic
stage.”

“The
Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau and the ITSD have also played a
quiet but most important role in initiating, steering and supporting the
creation of the HKIRC.

“Our
new corporate structure will ensure the provision of market-oriented and
responsive service to the Internet community,” said Mr Yu.

The
Chairman of the JUCC, Mr C G Large, was presented with a souvenir by Mrs Yau at
the ceremony in appreciation of the Centre’s contribution.

Mr
Large said, “In 1989, the ‘.hk’ top level domain was registered.”

“For
the co-ordination and identification on a regional basis of the growing number
of user institutions in the following years, JUCC inevitably became involved in
the setting up and management of a formal register of Internet domain name
users in Hong Kong under ‘.hk’,” he added.

In
view of the rapid development of the Internet and electronic commerce locally,
the Government conducted in June 2000 a public consultation on the proposals
made by the Task Force under the Information Infrastructure Advisory Committee
on the administration of Internet domain names and Internet protocol addresses
in Hong Kong.

The
public generally supported that the JUCC should gradually transfer the domain
name administration function to a new non-profit making and non-statutory
corporation which would assume the overall responsibility for Internet domain
name administration in Hong Kong.

More
information about the Internet domain names in Hong Kong is available on the
“Digital 21” web site
(http://www.digital21.gov.hk/eng/structure/dnip_main.html).

End/Monday,
April 22, 2002