TLD Registry's executive chairman Taneli Tikka announces the successful contracting with ICANN for Dot Chinese Online & Dot Chinese Website. The state ceremony in Beijing was witnessed by Finland's prime minister Jyrki Katainen,  China's Director General, National Center for Climate Change Strategy Li Junfeng, and Finland's Minister of the Environment Ville Niinistö.

TLD Registry's executive chairman Taneli Tikka announces the successful contracting with ICANN for Dot Chinese Online & Dot Chinese Website. The state ceremony in Beijing was witnessed by Finland's prime minister Jyrki Katainen, China's Director General, National Center for Climate Change Strategy Li Junfeng, and Finland's Minister of the Environment Ville Niinistö. (photo (CC) by-nd)

After an arduous and complicated five-year journey, TLD Registry has finally passed the most important milestone since our formation: the all-important Registrar Agreements with ICANN have been signed and countersigned.

And in Beijing, in the presence of Finland's prime minister Jyrki Katainen no less!

Read the news story at the Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch.

Dot Chinese Online & Dot Chinese Website, and our vision for a vibrant, open, culturally relevant and linguistically relevant Chinese web have taken a huge step forward.

Prime Minister Katainen made us feel very proud when he told the assembled media, "It is reasonable to expect that this innovation made real by entrepreneurs from Finland will bring tremendous, long-term benefits for China's Internet users. Bridging the last gap in a fully Chinese web is a milestone achievement and it will be remembered. I am very proud it was my countrymen who came up with this solution that is so significant economically and culturally."

With ICANN RAs in hand, we are now on a clearly signposted path towards our "eligible trademark owners only" Sunrise period, followed by our "open to entire world" Landrush period where anyone can apply for favorite or highly valued available 'premium' names, followed by another "open to the entire world" General Availability period where anyone can register available names on a first-come, first-served basis.

When exactly will these phases start? A great question.

In fact, this is the single most common question our registrar relations and marketing teams are asked every day.

Our simple answer: soon.

We wish we could be more precise, however the next steps which ICANN requires us to take -- pre-delegation testing (to ensure we comply with ICANN's operational and technical rules), Trademark Clearinghouse integration (to better protect the privileges of trademark owners), and delegation into the IANA root (so registrant's domain names work correctly) -- will all start and end at currently-indefinite times. Once we have achieved delegation into the IANA root, we may issue a mandatory 30-day notice for our Sunrise period. At that time we'll have a clear set of dates to announce.

Our best guess?  We'll be in full General Availability either by Christmas (December 25, 2013) or by the Chinese New Year (January 31st, 2014). However these goalposts may move due to situations and stakeholders beyond our control!

We'll be blogging our progress right here at the home of Dot Chinese Online & Dot Chinese Website. Please join us on our journey to make the Chinese web better and safer for Chinese netizens and the enterprises and organizations which inform, entertain and empower them.

Taneli Tikka, Arto Isokoski and Jarno Marjamäki

Co-Founders, TLD Registry

10th September 2013