Tech support

China’s cyber agency signals support for tech industry

Regulators at China’s top cybersecurity watchdog sent a conciliatory message on Friday to the country’s tech industry, which has been dogged by a years-long crackdown, including a $1.2 billion fine against the international carpooling giant DiDi.

At a press conference, Vice Minister of Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) Niu Yibing said the agency is committed to the healthy development of local internet businesses, according to a summary posted online. The head of the CAC’s cybersecurity coordination office, Sun Weimin, said the agency also supports domestic companies seeking to list on foreign stock exchanges, according to Reuters – although this is the apparent source of the regulatory problems of DiDi.

The CAC was once known primarily as China’s internet censor, but in recent years it has broadened its scope to become the country’s effective data regulator, including drafting frameworks for China’s data protection law. data security and privacy law.

Last summer, the agency launched an investigation into DiDi just days after the company went public in the biggest launch by a Chinese company in years on the New York Stock Exchange and limited it. to existing users in China. The CAC later announced that companies with more than one million users would have to undergo security reviews before listing on foreign stock exchanges.

This spring, DiDi’s board of directors voted to delist the company. In July, CAC announced the company would face a $1.2 billion fine – which DiDi agreed to, saying it would “commit to full self-assessment, active coordination with regulators , the serious completion of the rectification and the strict observance of the requirements of the law”. decision and applicable laws and regulations.

The crackdown has chilled China’s booming tech sector, adding to a sense of uncertainty about the direction of the country’s cybersecurity policy. ByteDance, a Chinese company made famous for its popular short-form video app TikTok, suspended plans for an offshore IPO last March following CAC actions, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Although the new message is likely intended to deter similar fears, Sun said the agency continues to oversee DiDi’s data efforts and will punish other companies that endanger national security, Reuters reported. DiDi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Andrea (they/them) is a senior policy correspondent at The Record and a longtime cybersecurity reporter who cut her teeth covering technology policy ThinkProgress (RIP) and then The Washington Post from 2013 to 2016, before doing investigative research on public records at the project on Government Surveillance and American Surveillance. Their work has also appeared on Slate, Politico, The Daily Beast, Ars Technica, Protocol and other outlets. Peterson also produces independent creative projects under his Plain Great Productions brand and can generally be found online as kansasalps.