Maglev link for eastern cities
A high-speed magnetic levitation train line connecting Shanghai and Hangzhou was given the green light by the National Development and Reform Commission. Meanwhile, a 220mph link between Beijing and Shanghai is also to be constructed, with both projects costing a combined US$22 billion. France, Germany and Japan have all tried to convince the government to use their technology, but China wants to use domestic technology. Construction of the 200km-long maglev link should be completed by 2010, at an overall cost of US$4.3 billion. Transrapid, which groups ThyssenKrupp, Siemens and the German government, currently operates a similar line in Shanghai.
All change for domain names
The Ministry of Information Industry launched a set of domain names based on Chinese characters, fueling speculation it may be planning to break away from US-based Internet regulator ICANN and the Domain Name System. Experts are concerned that the shift to a Chinese-language .cn, .com and .net will see China administrating domains with its own separate root servers, which could cause a split in the Internet. Last year, several countries unsuccessfully objected to ICANN's power over the Internet, because it is ultimately under the control of the US government. The objectors demanded that the US share responsibility with the United Nations.
Sales boost for software
Software sales in China reached US$4.03 billion in 2005, a 22.2% year-on-year rise, according to a report by technology, media and telecom business information provider Analysys International. Application software took up the largest share of the market with 57.7%, followed by system software on 32% and supporting software on 10.3%. In terms of the industrial distribution of this software, the manufacturing sector led the way on 16.4% with finance on 15.6%, telecom on 14.1%, government on 12.2% and scientific research and education on 8.5%.
Broadband calls to HK
China Telecom Corp is expected to launch a Hong Kong broadband telephone service to Mainland telephone numbers. By using a broadband telephone box and connecting it to the Internet and a traditional telephone device, users can make calls to the Mainland without paying international rates. In turn, Mainland telephone users will be able to reach broadband telephone users in Hong Kong or overseas and be charged the price of a local call. It will be the first time that a Mainland fixed-line number service will be sold officially outside China. Broadband telephone services in China are tightly controlled by the Ministry of Information Industry, and voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) and international calls through broadband telephones have been strictly forbidden.