China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has launched a new plan for the cybersecurity industry to boost the development of the country’s cybersecurity sector. The three-year plan of action, worth more than 250 billion yuan, proposes to secure more networks and modernize infrastructure in sectors such as energy, health, education, finance and transport. The proposals made in the plan reflect an effort by Chinese authorities to better regulate data storage, data transfer and personal data protection. The country’s drive to increase the efficiency of its cybersecurity industry is a consequence of concerns about data security.
MIIT introduced the cybersecurity plan as part of an effort to process and protect data, as one of China’s most critical assets in the digital landscape. The plan offers the most comprehensive development strategy to date for the cybersecurity industry in China. As part of the plan, key industries are required to allocate 10% of their information technology (IT) upgrade funds to cybersecurity protection by 2023. According to MIIT, mandates like These are crucial to ensure that the country’s major industries invest more in data security.
Cyber security threats are becoming more and more apparent around the world, as hackers are increasingly adept at breaking into technology supply chains and carrying out attacks in the digital space. This has led countries like China to devote more resources to cybersecurity, in the same way they invest in national security and state sovereignty. According to Kenn Yee, political analyst at Access Partnership, “China’s three-year cybersecurity plan is also China’s cyber defense plan, which aims to bolster China’s digital assets in its quest for a resilient digital economy.”
Data protection has become a major issue in the current national and international context. In China, efforts to protect the storage, transfer and privacy of data are seen as essential to protect the country’s digital economy. The proposed plan for the cybersecurity industry emphasizes that data protection is not a one-sided problem with a single solution. Rather, it presents cybersecurity as an issue to be addressed broadly, given the country’s critical industries and building a more sustainable basis for data security in the future.
China is moving towards building a more resilient digital economy, for example, by making greater use of regulators to conduct cybersecurity reviews and by offering online services for regions. Since the creation of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) in 2014, it has put in place more regulations for online services to enforce China’s data protection rules.
For example, the CAC called on smartphone app stores to stop promoting the Didi Global Inc (DIDI.N) app. The CAC found that the DIDI.N application illegally recorded users’ personal data. Didi Global responded by complying with orders, removing the app, and stopping the unauthorized collection of user information.
In an effort to enforce Chinese data privacy laws, and in the wake of Didi Global’s cybersecurity breach, the CAC drafted rules for security reviews by tech companies with more than one million users. China has also imposed tougher restrictions on China’s most powerful tech companies to address concerns about data security and antitrust laws. The proposed plan for the cybersecurity industry is seen as a next step for Chinese authorities to maintain control over data security and privacy.
The cybersecurity sector will remain important in China. As the world becomes more and more interconnected in the digital space, the threat of cyber attacks and hackers will only grow, raising damaging concerns about data security. The drive of countries like China to increase their digital resilience indicates a broader understanding that cybersecurity is a crucial part of national security. A country’s stability is now closely linked to its ability to protect itself from the ever-changing nature of cyber attacks. The drafting of China’s cybersecurity industry plan indicates the current understanding that data security will continue to be key to a country’s digital landscape and security.