TDCC’s Systems Officially Switched to Unicode Encoding for Standardization of Data Exchange


To better adapt to the market and the government’s push for establishing information systems, the encoding of Chinese characters on TDCC’s systems has officially switched to Unicode from Big-5 on October 18, 2021 for data exchanges between participants and TDCC. The new encoding conforms to national and international standards, and ensures better data accuracy in the capital market.

Over the years, TDCC has maintained a database of rare Chinese characters to ensure the smooth operations of its online services— inquiry, printing, filing, book entry, name lists of security holders. As the Big-5 encoding was growing insufficient for rare characters, TDCC received government approval to phase it out, and conducted a pilot research of key technology for Chinese character encoding in late 2018, which was followed by the “Switch of Encodings for Chinese Characters Project” in November, 2019. The project encompasses securities depository system, and front end (four in total) and peripheral systems (25 in total). It also entails adjustments of the Chinese encoding for information systems, which will switch to Unicode for exchanging data with third parties. Expected results include greater flexibility for encoding, a broader selection of fonts, and the standardization of data switch.

To better prepare participants for the switch, TDCC has held numerous events as well as online seminars in previous months to explain the plan. A Unicode testing platform, along with test data-sets, was made available to participants for familiarization purposes. In the first half of 2021, TDCC also commissioned information technology firms to install the Unicode version of the SMART Participant Operations Platform at over 1,000 locations. Since the internal systems used by participants also need adjustments for Chinese encoding, TDCC kicked off a reward campaign for those who help test the encoding switch process. The campaign was well received and attracted many testers.

In addition, TDCC recently arranged two testings on non-trading days to ensure a smooth transition to the Unicode version of the SMART platform. A total of 1,124 people from head and branch offices of clients were invited to simulate trading-day operations on the new system. The simulations successfully completed, and the system went online the following day. After nearly 3 years, the entire process for switching encodings finalized on October 18, and the new systems have been running smoothly ever since.

“The transition was smooth with the guidance of the FSC and the assistance of all the participants. Moving forward, TDCC will continue to bring innovative technology to information management, and strengthen our competitiveness while adapt to market changes. We strive to bring more quality services to the market,” said TDCC Senior Executive Vice President Jane Chang.