Neteka Debuts E-Mail Address Service Using Chinese Characters

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Neteka, a software company that focuses on multilingual naming technology, yesterday introduced a Chinese e-mail address service to give international Internet users more of an online identity. The service allows Chinese users to create e-mail addresses with Chinese characters.

"E-mail services today can support Chinese characters in the body of the text," said Greg Bertrand, chief operating officer at Toronto-based Neteka. "Unfortunately, you have to [revert] to the English characters to create an address."

Users can go to to create an e-mail address with Chinese characters. Neteka used numbers for the URL because they are universal, Bertrand said.

The numbers 32101, if manipulated by computer a certain way, form the word "mail" in English and Chinese, he said.

Bertrand said the address service could be beneficial for marketers, allowing them to communicate with an Asian audience on a more personal level. An undisclosed number of companies already have contacted Neteka about hosting the service on their sites, he said.

"By offering that service to [Chinese users], companies then have a line of communication to that audience that is much more tailored and personable," Bertrand said. "If a company sends me an e-mail and they've converted my name into Arabic characters, for example, I really don't feel that they're addressing me as an individual."

Neteka plans to start a similar address service in Korean in the coming days or weeks, Bertrand said. Address services in Japanese, Arabic, French and dozens of other languages also are planned, he said.

There are approximately 22.5 million Internet users in China alone, Bertrand said.

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