August 10, 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

Miners Try to Get Covid-19 Vaccines Into Areas Where Shots Are Scarce

June 12, 2021

June 12, 2021

Mining companies are throwing their weight behind vaccination efforts as Covid-19 continues to ravage much of the developing world. Miners...

The Clubby World of Venture Capital Finds a New Bet: Black Entrepreneurs

June 18, 2021

June 18, 2021

Austin Clements was ready to give up. He’d quit his job in venture capital in 2019 to try to launch...

Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates Explore Changes to Foundation

May 27, 2021

May 27, 2021

Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates are discussing changes to the structure of their foundation to add more governance and...

WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar Says He Will Stay at Company at Least Through 2021

May 27, 2021

May 27, 2021

WarnerMedia Chief Executive Jason Kilar said in a companywide address Thursday that he has no plans to step down this...

Google Removes Diversity Executive Over Blog Post About Jews

June 3, 2021

June 3, 2021

Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Photo: Cayce Clifford for The Wall Street Journal Updated June 3, 2021 7:43 pm...

Covid-19 Testing Could Be a Viable Long-Term Business Bet

June 6, 2021

June 6, 2021

With slow vaccination rates threatening the likelihood of herd immunity, companies and federal and state governments are pouring billions of...

China’s Tech Clampdown Is Spreading

June 6, 2021

June 6, 2021

TAIPEI—The latest salvos in China’s campaign against its tech companies make one thing clear: Jack Ma’s businesses aren’t the only...

Planes Grounded by Covid-19 Largely Avoid the Junkyard—for Now

June 4, 2021

June 4, 2021

SYDNEY—After the coronavirus pandemic grounded air travel, many of the thousands of aircraft that were parked at storage facilities around...

‘Do We Need to Be in Hong Kong?’ Global Companies Are Eying the Exits

June 6, 2021

June 6, 2021

Apprehensive about Hong Kong’s future as the best place to do business in China and beyond, multinational firms are pulling...

Kansas City Southern to Combine With Canadian National Railway in Roughly $30 Billion Deal

May 21, 2021

May 21, 2021

Kansas City Southern KSU 0.45% said it would combine with Canadian National Railway Co. CNI -1.97% in a roughly $30...

EA, Other Videogame Companies Target Mobile Gaming as Pandemic Wanes

July 3, 2021

July 3, 2021

Videogame companies are increasing their financial bets on mobile games as pandemic restrictions ease and people ditch their PC and...

U.S. and EU Near Deal on Boeing-Airbus Trade Fight

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

The U.S. and the European Union are near to a deal that would suspend their trade dispute over government subsidies...

Novavax Covid-19 Vaccine Is 90% Effective in Key Study

June 14, 2021

June 14, 2021

An experimental Covid-19 vaccine from Novavax Inc. was 90.4% effective at preventing symptomatic disease in adults in a large clinical...

Drought’s Toll on U.S. Agriculture Points to Even-Higher Food Prices

July 1, 2021

July 1, 2021

The Southwest is suffering through one of its worst droughts on record amid a critical reduction in the amount of...

How Nike Handled Scandals Through the Years

May 29, 2021

May 29, 2021

The sneaker giant cut ties with Neymar and Lance Armstrong and stood by Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods.