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CN, the ccTLD (country code Top Level Domain name) for People's Republic of China was put into operation on November 28th, 1990. Registration of .CN domains directly under the second level was not possible until March 17th, 2003. This policy was changed and registration of .CN domains under the second level became possible without any restrictions for the registrants. Thus anyone around the world could register .CN domains.
In the end of year 2008 .CN domains outnumbered .DE domains by number of registrations becoming the second TLD, behind .COM TLD.