Registrations for Internet addresses ending in China's '.cn' have surpassed those for the global '.net,' showing the continued rapid rise in Internet use in the communist nation, an Associated Press report said.
A study by VeriSign, which runs the '.net' databases and other core directories for helping computers find web sites and route email, found that '.cn' overtook '.net' sometime in the first quarter of 2008, the report added.
VeriSign did not provide registration breakdowns but said '.cn' registrations grew 23% from the previous quarter and were triple those in the same period in 2007.
The organization that runs Germany's '.de' domain pegged '.cn' registrations at 11.8 million and '.net' at 11.6 million as of May.
The findings come as China reported that the number of Internet users there has soared to 221 million, by some measures tying the US online population as largest in the world.
There's no threat of '.cn' overtaking '.com' any time soon, however. The '.com' suffix, which VeriSign also runs, is the overwhelming leader, with 76.5 million registrations worldwide, while '.de' is second with 12.1 million, according to the German group.
Both '.com' and '.net' are global domain names, available to individuals, groups and companies worldwide on a first-come, first-served basis.
VeriSign's study found growth in other country names as well, including Poland's '.pl,' Spain's '.es,' Russia's '.ru' and France's '.fr.'