Chinese authorities have banned individuals from obtaining web domain names, effectively banning personal websites.
Under new rules issued by the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC), only government departments and registered businesses can register domains.
Domain applications without a business or government chop would not be approved, said CNNIC, which supervises China’s domain name registration system.
It said the new system would protect the authenticity and integrity of mainland domain names. CNNIC also told scmp.com the rules had arisen because of the hosting of obscene material on personal websites.
The announcement did not make clear whether existing sites would be closed down. However, a CNNIC employee told scmp.com that if an individual’s registration details were incomplete or fake, “we will kill their domain names as well.”
Industry figures predicted a massive contraction in China’s domain registration business as a result of the new measures.
The business is worth 4.2 billion yuan a year and manages 13 million .cn web names, according to CNNIC figures.
“The whole industry is depressed,” Wang Quanfeng, the founder of mainland registrar Zunmi, told sina.com. He predicted China’s domain registration business would fall by more than half.
Another firm, eName.cn, said .cn registrations accounted for 90% of its business.