ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, icann.org) has given tentative approval for the proposed .asia domain, which would replace or supplement suffixes representing individual countries such as China (.cn) and Japan (.jp).
The decision was announced at last week's ICANN meetings held in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Registration would begin six months after ICANN grants final approval. However, analysts expect that before approval is given, there will be significant negotiations between ICANN and the DotAsia Organization, which represents domain name operators in Asia.
Methods for allowing domains to be created in other alphabets such as Chinese and Arabic were also discussed at the meetings and ICANN again delayed final approval of the controversial .xxx domain.