November 27, 2022

China’s New Power Play: More Control of Tech Companies’ Troves of Data

Shortly after rising to power in late 2012, Xi Jinping made his first company visit in his new job as China’s Communist Party chief, to Tencent Holdings Ltd. There, he raised a topic that has become both an opportunity and a challenge for his rule: the vast troves of personal data being gathered by the country’s technology companies.

Mr. Xi complimented Tencent’s founder, Pony Ma, on the way the company was accumulating information from millions of users, and harnessing that data to drive innovation. He also suggested that data would be useful to Beijing.

“You have the most sufficient data, then you can make the most objective and accurate analysis,” he told Mr. Ma, according to state media accounts. “The suggestions to the government in this regard are very valuable.”

More than eight years later, those suggestions are becoming demands. The government is now calling on big tech companies like Tencent, online retailing giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and TikTok owner ByteDance Ltd. to open up the data they collect from social media, e-commerce and other businesses, according to official documents and interviews with people involved in policy-making.

The complex new web of laws and regulations around sharing digital records is being driven by the huge growth in data held by China’s tech giants—and a belief that the government should be able to access it. The efforts are also part of Mr. Xi’s quest to rein in the increasingly powerful tech sector, which has pushed back on some of Beijing’s previous data-sharing efforts. The most recent law, passed Thursday, will make it harder for companies to resist such requests.

Related Posts

As Cruises Resume, a Positive Covid-19 Case Doesn’t Spell the End of a Voyage

June 11, 2021

June 11, 2021

Two passengers sharing a room on a Caribbean cruise ship tested positive this week for Covid-19, triggering safety precautions that...

Former Fox News Anchor Ed Henry Sues Channel’s CEO Over Misconduct Allegations

July 1, 2021

July 1, 2021

Former Fox News anchor Ed Henry sued the cable channel Wednesday, accusing his former employer of defaming him in a...

FTC, Broadcom Agree to Settlement Around Illegal Monopoly Charges

July 2, 2021

July 2, 2021

The Federal Trade Commission and Broadcom Inc. have agreed to settle charges that the company used its dominance in some...

U.S. to Downgrade Mexico’s Air-Safety Rating

May 22, 2021

May 22, 2021

U.S. officials are planning to downgrade Mexico’s aviation-safety rating in coming days, people familiar with the matter said, complicating a...

Ford’s Maverick Truck Reverses Trend Toward Hulking Pickups

June 8, 2021

June 8, 2021

Pickup trucks in the U.S. have trended for years toward the bigger, brawnier and more expensive. Now, Ford Motor Co....

Germany Targets Google Market Power in Expansion of Tech Rules

May 25, 2021

May 25, 2021

Germany’s competition regulator is investigating whether Google is dominant enough to be subject to the country’s new digital-competition law, broadening...

Americans Are Leaving Unemployment Rolls More Quickly in States Cutting Off Benefits

June 27, 2021

June 27, 2021

The number of unemployment-benefit recipients is falling at a faster rate in Missouri and 21 others states canceling enhanced and...

U.S. Airports to Receive $8 Billion to Help Pay Bills as Travel Recovers

June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021

U.S. airports are set to receive $8 billion in government grants to help them emerge from the coronavirus pandemic that...

As Travel Complaints Soared, the DOT Stood By

June 30, 2021

June 30, 2021

Most years the U.S. Transportation Department receives about 15,000 complaints about air travel. Last year? 102,550. The torrent stemmed from...

U.S. Trade Deficit Widened in May as Economic Rebound Fueled Demand for Imports

July 2, 2021

July 2, 2021

WASHINGTON—The U.S. trade deficit widened in May, as American consumers and businesses stepped up purchases of imported products and materials...

Far From Texas, Huge Gas Bills Stoke Anger After February Freeze

June 27, 2021

June 27, 2021

An angry backlash is building across the middle of the U.S. as states step in to help their constituents pay...

Southwest Airlines Flights Thrown Into Disarray by Technical Problems

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

Southwest said it was in the process of resuming normal operations; one of the airline’s planes in Houston in 2019....

Hong Kong’s Apple Daily Will Close After Government Choked Funds

June 23, 2021

June 23, 2021

Copies of Apple Daily for sale in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Photo: jerome favre/Shutterstock HONG KONG—Apple Daily, Hong Kong’s defiant...

Peugeot Is Latest Auto Maker Charged in French Emissions-Fraud Probe

June 10, 2021

June 10, 2021

PARIS—Peugeot has become the latest auto maker to face preliminary charges in France on suspicion of emissions fraud, extending the...

Fed Inching Toward Discussion of Slowing Bond Purchases

June 4, 2021

June 4, 2021

WASHINGTON—Friday’s jobs report keeps the Federal Reserve on track to begin informal internal discussions about reducing the pace of its...