"Let's twist again…" Whenever I hear about China's management of its namespace these days, I can't help but thinking about that old song.
China just doesn't seem to know whether it's coming or going anymore. First it barred foreign registrants in a surprise December 2009 move, and now it's decided to allow them back in.
But not like before, noooo Sir! Before the December rule change, .CN was open to all, private individuals and companies alike, and had no registration rules beyond the first-come, first served system which meant that the only possible case where a .CN could not be registered is if it had already been registered by someone else.
Since then, .CN has become a bureaucrat's dream and a registrant's nightmare. Individuals are barred. Companies must have a local office and register through that office. Those are the new rules as from today (Feb 10, 2010). Before, foreign companies simply could not register, even if they had a local office, despite what some registrars told their customers as they tried to twist and bend the rules.
So it looks like a lot of people are doing the twist around China these days. Would-be .CN registrants will now have to dance with the Chinese registry's draconian registration rules which include obligations to return documents within a (very short) time limit.
The best advice for prospective registrants at this stage: work with an accredited .CN registrar that not only knows the rules but is also able to assist you to work through the complexities of a registration request on a daily basis, until the name is actually confirmed.