China Internet Network Information Center

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CNNIC logo.png
Type: Non-Profit
Industry: Network Administration
Founded: 1997
Ownership: The Ministry of Information Industry
Headquarters: 4, South 4th Street,
Haidian district,
Beijing 100190
Country: China
Key People
Yaling Tan, Senior Policy Advisor

Mao Wei, Chief Scientist
Jian Zhang, Director of International Business and Policy
Ting Chen, International Business Development Manager
Yaling Tan, Senior Policy Advisor
Dr. Yang Liu, Senior Int'l Policy Stategist
Jiankang Yao, Chief Architect for IDN
Lynn Xing, Oversea Registrar Supervisor
Guang Hao Li, Deputy Director of Administrative Office
Li Linna

China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) is a state-run administration and service organization responsible for fundamental internet reources.[1] It is established under the Ministry of Information Industry for the government of China.

Main Business

CNNIC self-describes its main intentions and endeavors as:

  • Domain Name Registry Service- Responsible for the administration of the .cn ccTLD registry,and the Chinese Domain Name system. Registering a .cn domain is straightforward and offers significant benefits for businesses looking to tap into the Chinese market. The process requires providing identification documents and a Letter of Commitment, ensuring that the domain is not hosted on Chinese servers. This registration can enhance trust and improve search engine rankings within China, particularly on Baidu.[2]
  • IP Address and Autonomous System Number Allocation Service- CNNIC initiated the IP Allocation Alliance, which provides IP address and AS Number application services to domestic ISPs and users.
  • Catalog Database Service - Maintains the state top level network catalog database, providing information search services of internet users, web addresses, domain names, AS numbers, etc.
  • Technical Research on Addressing- Undertakes research on typical network infrastructure in an attempt to improve it.
  • Internet Survey and Information Services- Undertakes statistical surveys regarding internet services for the public. Some of its surveys can be found here.
  • International Liaison- as a Network Information Center, or NIC, it works closely with NICs of other countries.
  • Secretariat of the Internet Policy and Resource Committee, Internet Society of China- Undertakes projects, research, and policies to better administer the internet for the people of China.[3]

Security, Censorship, and Controversy

The Green Dam Youth Escort was an attempt to mandate all computer producers to distribute filtering software with their products. The project received government backing in April, 2009, and a few months later it was pressing forward with a universal requirement of the filter.[4] The filter was immediately downloaded and used by schools and other areas of the public sector, but many businesses and individuals took issue with the mandate. The project was eventually scaled back and a universal requirement never seems to have been fully enforced.[5]

However, in December of that year, new and very broad restrictions were announced. About 700 websites were shut down, and others came under scrutiny with threats of termination. Individuals were banned from registering .cn websites, which are now only open to Chinese corporations.[6] The ban against foreign individuals, registrars, and other entities registering .cn domains came in January, 2010.[7]

Constant pressure is put on blocking pornography, and other threatening material, which include bans on Facebook and Twitter.[8]

CNNIC has been accused of monitoring its internet users with malware and spyware;[9] this is compounded by Mozilla, Microsoft, and Mac's addition of the CNNIC root to its CA, Certificate Authorities, where malware is not required but monitoring is achieved through trusted encryption tools.[10]

On August 25, 2013, Domain Incite reported that CNNIC was hit by DDoS attack, possibly the largest ever experienced by the Center. All five of .cn's name servers were inaccessible, and an unknown number of .cn websites could not be accessed by users. The attack lasted for more than six hours.[11]


ICANN has been working with CNNIC in its efforts to expand TLDs in Chinese characters. In May, 2010, CNNIC announced that it had received approval from ICANN to create the TLD ".zhongguo" (written in pinyin).[12] .Zhongguo domain names are available in both simplified and traditional Chinese characters.


In December, 2011, CNNIC announced that they planned to officially apply for .公司 (company) and .网络 (network) in ICANN's New gTLD Program,[13] which are already operational in China.[14] This move was seen as potentially problematic as it may infringe on Verisign's own .com and .net, and their plans to seek the IDN equivalents of those TLDs.