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ICANN’s Empire Spreads To China With “Global Engagement Office”

It may have closed down offices such as in Sydney in somewhat controversial circumstances, but that hasn’t stopped ICANN spreading its wings. At the ICANN meeting currently underway in Beijing, China, the President and CEO Fadi Chehadé announced the organisation will open its first new global engagement office in Beijing.”Engagement with China is not merely an option, we simply must engage at every level or we will lose our legitimacy,” said Chehadé. “This is part of our effort to embrace the world.”The China office follows announcements that there will be offices opening up in the near future in Singapore and Istanbul, Turkey, and adds to offices that are already in existence in Brussels, Belgium as well as in the US where it has its head office in Los Angeles, another in Washington DC, and strangely still, an office that was opened under Rod Beckstrom’s tenure in Paolo Alto.The announcement of the Chinese office was made during the welcoming session at ICANN’s 46th public meeting in Beijing – the largest meeting in its 15-year history.So far more than 2,100 people have so far show up for the Beijing meeting.”We’ve never seen anything like it,” said Nick Tomasso, ICANN’s Senior Director of Meetings. “Last year 1,821 showed up for our meeting in Prague in the Czech Republic which, until now, was our largest meeting. That record has now been broken and people are still arriving.”The announcement of ICANN’s expanding presence in China was heralded by Chinese Internet leaders.”Our Internet future will now be brilliant,” said Madam Hu Qiheng, the President of the Internet Society of China. “This is bridge for ICANN and China and it will lead to greater expansion of Internet development.”ICANN Board Chair Dr. Stephen Crocker pointed out the dramatic growth of Internet users in China in the past decade.”In the past decade, Internet use has increase ten fold,” said Crocker. “There are now 564 million Internet users in China and that is expected to climb sharply in the future.”
ICANN’s public meeting in Beijing will continue through the week.