New regulations simplify cross-border data flows for internet companies
China’s top internet regulator has issued new rules that simplify the process of transferring data across borders for internet companies, sparking a rally in tech stocks on Tuesday. The new regulations, which will take effect on October 1, 2023, aim to “promote the orderly development of cross-border data flows and safeguard national security and public interests”.
According to the rules, internet companies that meet certain conditions, such as having a data security management system and obtaining user consent, can directly transfer data overseas without applying for approval from the regulator. The rules also clarify the types of data that are subject to restrictions, such as personal information, important data, and data related to national security and public interests.
The new regulations are seen as a positive sign for China’s tech sector, which has been under intense regulatory scrutiny in recent months. The crackdown on the industry has weighed on the valuations and performance of many tech giants, such as Alibaba, Tencent, and Meituan.
Tech stocks surge on optimism over data flows easing
The announcement of the new rules boosted the sentiment of investors and lifted the shares of many tech companies on Tuesday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 2%, while the Hang Seng Tech index, which tracks the performance of major Chinese tech firms, climbed 2.4%. Some of the biggest gainers included Alibaba, which jumped 4.5%, Tencent, which rose 3.6%, and Meituan, which gained 3.4%.
Analysts said the new rules could help ease the uncertainty and pressure on the tech sector, as well as improve the efficiency and competitiveness of internet companies. They also said the rules could foster more innovation and cooperation in the digital economy, both domestically and internationally.
Data flows are crucial for the digital economy
Data flows are essential for the development and operation of the digital economy, as they enable the exchange of information, services, and value across borders. Data flows also facilitate the growth of emerging technologies, such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and e-commerce .
However, data flows also pose challenges and risks, such as data security, privacy, and sovereignty. Different countries and regions have different laws and regulations on how data can be collected, stored, processed, and transferred, creating barriers and frictions for cross-border data flows. Therefore, finding a balance between facilitating data flows and protecting data rights and interests is a key issue for the global digital governance .