There was a recent approval of the country’s first regional law on public data and the digital economy in China’s Zhejiang province, home to companies like Alibaba and NetEase — the legislation has been hailed by tech leaders as a step towards governing digital businesses according to the law.
Zhejiang’s new regulations come at a time when data and digital infrastructure are being highlighted throughout the country
As part of the first regional law for the burgeoning sector of digital economy in China’s eastern Zhejiang province, which is home to tech giants such as Alibaba Group Holding and NetEase, legislative lawmakers have introduced regulations dedicated to the development of the digital economy in the province.
There is a document entitled “Regulations of Zhejiang Province on Promoting Digital Economy” which explains how the province is developing data sharing policies, digital infrastructure, and the digitalisation of its industries pertaining to the development of the digital economy. There is also a provision in the law, which goes into effect in March 2021, that clarifies how local governments in Zhejiang, as well as city-level administrative units, should handle the data they collect.
There is no doubt that the legislation has been hailed by the digital industry as a landmark for governing the industry in accordance with the law.
According to James Tian Ning, chairman of Hangzhou-based cloud service provider Panshi Group, “the implementation of this regulation will ensure and boost the development of the local digital economy at all levels”, with more regions in China expected to follow suit as the new regulations are implemented.
Specifically, the law focuses on the protection of data, in the sense that regulators worldwide are seeking a balance between the protection of data and the sharing of it.
According to this regulation, local authorities are responsible for the accuracy and convenience of the public data they collect, as well as ensuring that open access to data is safe, convenient and efficient, as well as encouraging companies, social groups, and individuals to share their own data resources through collaboration and the implementation of new policies.
In addition to the new regulations in Zhejiang, there has been a national focus on data infrastructure and data protection across the country. A draft of the Data Security Law was released by the central government in July, which is built upon the existing Cybersecurity Law and spells out the technical requirements for data protection, the rights and responsibilities of different stakeholders as well as the responsibilities of various regulators and government agencies.