China’s cyberagency calls for ‘affectionate’ ties with sector | Cybersecurity

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An official from China’s Cyberspace Administration says the agency supports the “healthy” development of the sector.

China’s cyber watchdog wants to build a “cozy” relationship between internet companies and the government, a senior official said, the latest verbal reassurance to an industry still on edge after a long and arduous regulatory crackdown.

Niu Yibing, vice minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), said at a press conference on Friday that the agency supports the healthy development of the sector and that, while enforcing the rules, it wants to create a “healthy, advanced, possible entrepreneurial atmosphere.”

The CAC was among Chinese regulators who launched an unprecedented crackdown on the country’s tech giants in late 2020. The campaign overturned long-standing industry practices, set new rules for how companies should operate, and also roiled the markets, wiping billions of dollars of market value from the firms.

While regulators, faced with a slowing economy, have not issued new rules this year at the pace of last year, companies have remained cautious, with many, including giants such as Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings, cutting new investment and laying off thousands of workers.

Among some of the biggest issues that have worried investors are new rules that took effect in February to require Chinese firms with data on more than a million users to undergo a security audit before placing their shares overseas.

Sun Weimin, head of the regulator’s cybersecurity coordination bureau, said the agency continued to support domestic firms seeking overseas listings and that the review was to ensure there was no data that could be misused by foreign governments.

There is also no final word on the saga of Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global, which has been the subject of a CAC-led investigation that forced the ride-hailing chain’s leader out of New York within a year of its debut and drew wary foreign investors according to China’s technology sector.

Although Didi was fined $1.2 billion last month for data security violations, it’s unclear if and when its apps will be allowed back into app stores, or if or when it can resume signing up new users.

Sun said the CAC is overseeing Didi’s remediation work and the regulator will continue to work to remove hidden security risks and punish any behavior that threatens national security or data security.

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