Project Introduction

Project title: "The Building Blocks of ISO/IEC 10646 Migration - Hong Kong Glyph Specification and Assisting Tools"

Understanding ISO/IEC 10646


ISO/IEC 10646, an international coding standard, is developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It stands for the Universal Multiple-Octet Coded Character Set (UCS). This standard is applicable to the representation, transmission, interchange, processing, storage, input and presentation of the written form of all major languages (scripts) of the world in electronic basis.

Why do we need to Migrate to ISO/IEC 10646 Platforms in Hong Kong?

Coding standards for Chinese characters include Big5, which is commonly used in both Taiwan and Hong Kong; GB-2312, which is commonly used in Mainland China; and Unicode (regards as the implementation version of the ISO/IEC 10646 standard), which is supported in many computer systems. Chinese is a major language used in Hong Kong, and both traditional and simplified Chinese characters are covered by the well-known ISO/IEC 10646 standard. By adopting the ISO/IEC 10646 standard for the communication of electronic information, we can prevent wrong code conversion between different coding standards and facilitate electronic transactions across geographical areas.

Promotion on using Hong Kong Characters for Chinese Computer Systems


Currently, most of the common computer fonts used in Hong Kong, which are developed by Chinese fonts developers from Mainland China or Taiwan, have not fully considered the written customs in Hong Kong. Nowadays, computers are used for publishing and teaching materials are almost all produced by computers. However, materials used in Hong Kong are often not printed in the right style. For example,
should be the correct shape to print on the text-book, but most computers only supply the font for .

In order to facilitate the publishing industry in Hong Kong and helping the font vendors to produce fonts accustomed to Hong Kong's writing conventions, this project has helped the Hong Kong SAR Government to produce two sets of reference guides on Chinese character glyphs for computer systems in Hong Kong. One of the reference guide, referred to as The Reference Guide of the Kai Style Character Glyphs for Chinese Computer Systems in Hong Kong, closely reflects the handwritten style. The second reference guide, referred to as The Reference Guide of the Print Style (Song style) Character Glyphs for Chinese Computer Systems in Hong Kong is for printed character style.

The reference guides covers all the characters in traditional style in the ISO/IEC 10646-1:2000, especially characters used in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Since ideographic characters are formed through components, the reference guides use the description of the character components to specify a character glyph. Namely, if the "れ(wood)" is used in the character
"情(tree)"appearing in the shape of "", all characters with "れ" on the left hand side should take the same glyph shape of "" , such as "ALAAK" etc.. The key parts of the reference guides are provided in the sessions followed.

ISO/IEC 10646 Chinese Characters and Components Search System

Based on character glyph reference guides, all the Chinese characters in the ISO/IEC 10646-1:2000 standard can be decomposed into components. Our project has developed an assisting tool for bi-directional search of ISO/IEC 10646 Chinese characters and components, namely, you can search from a component to all the Chinese characters containing that component or from a character to all the components contained in the character. This on-line search system can support input either in Big5, GB, or Unicode.

A search example from component to its composite Chinese characters:



A search example from character to its decomposed components:



Relevant Industries on using ISO/IEC 10646 standard

Our project aims for helping some relevant industries to understand and use the ISO/IEC 10646 platform by applying some related assisting tools and techniques. Such relevant industries include Chinese fonts developers, media, press, Chinese software developers, design and publishing, and some related academic institution and research bodies, etc..