Companies in Hong Kong may shun the .hk domain name in the future as a result of the roll out of generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

Currently, there are only 22 gTLDS – such as .com, .org, .edu and .gov – and 280 country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). However, this is going to be expanded massively by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is responsible for overseeing unique web identifiers and global net operations.

The Hong Kong Standard has said that as a result of this move, global companies may replace the suffix with their own initials, with the example given of MTR Corp, which has paid HK$1.4 million ($185,000) to change to .mtr.

Jonathan Shea Tat On, head of a government-appointed commission that deals with domains in the nation, noted traditional businesses will continue to use the .hk suffix if they are looking to build up a “locally-based image”, while some global firms will stick with it because it allows them to “broaden their business scope”.

But for the most part, the popularity of the URL is set to suffer as a direct result of ICANN’s decision to open up the gTLD market. With 1,900 gTLDs currently under consideration, the internet is expected to undergo a serious re-imagining in the near future.

An article in the New Republic noted two letter ccTLDs could benefit from the move, but the interest in .com and .net could drop as a result.

Online expert Nigel Roberts stated: “We’re looking forward, in a way, to the new environment. Even the publicity so far, it’s made the people at home and abroad used to the idea that .com is not the only fruit.”

However, the greater diversity being introduced into the market does create some problems for businesses, as cases of cybersquatting could be set to increase and this means that firms need to make sure people do not acquire domains in bad faith.

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Hong Kong domain ‘may suffer from gTLD rollout’
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