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Standard for representing the characters of all the languages of the world, including Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. In comparison to ASCII, which uses 8 bits for each character and represent only 256 (2^8) unique characters, Unicode uses 16 bits per character to represent 65,536 (2^16) unique characters. Simultaneous with the development of Unicode by the Unicode Consortium, ISO and International Electro-Mechanical Commission (IEC) together created a different 16-bit coding scheme called basic multilingual plane (BMP). Now both Unicode and BMP have been merged to create a single 16-bit standard character set called universal character set (UCS).

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