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First Tibetan search engine offers unified portal

Updated: 2016-08-24 07:58
By PALDEN NYIMA (China Daily)

China's first Tibetan-language search engine was launched on Monday in the northwest province of Qinghai.

The search engine, yongzin.com, will serve as a unified portal for all major Tibetan-language websites in China, said Tselo, director of the Tibetan Language Work Committee of the Hainan Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Qinghai.

Yongzin means "master" or "teacher" in Tibetan.

It will also be a major global source for information in Tibetan online, he said.

The search engine has eight sections for news, websites, images, videos, music, encyclopedia, literature and forums.

Since the engine's trial operation one month ago, it has been drawing users from 34 countries and regions, with hits exceeding 10 million, according to a report by China News Service.

The engine will greatly meet the needs of Tibetan netizens with different retrieval demands, according to the Hainan Prefectural Tibetan Information Technology Research Center, the developer of the engine.

It will also help to boost technology transfer and the application of research findings of Tibetan information processing, the center said.

Sangye Janma, a Tibetan student in Minzu University of China, said the engine has a great effect on her studies.

"Without such an engine in the past, I had to find most of the Tibetan data from books in the library. It is time-consuming and inconvenient," said Sangye Janma, who majors in Tibetan history.

"When I find what I need for my thesis, I can copy and paste instead of typing out every part, and I can search useful results of Tibetan studies by overseas countries online," said the 25-year-old.

Norbu Dradul, a Tibetan filmmaker in Sichuan's Aba Tibetan autonomous prefecture, said he has been using the engine for a month.

"I am really pleased with such a breakthrough. Although there is still a gap compared with search engines such as Baidu, I believe it will grow stronger in the near future," said the 33-year-old.

The project, which cost 57 million yuan ($8.7 million), was initiated in April 2013.

"Our preliminary estimate is that more than 1.2 million Tibetan language speakers from China will use it. In the future, the number of users is likely to hit 2 million," said Dorjee Rabthen, director of the Hainan Prefectural Tibetan Information Research Center.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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