Chinese Central Bank’s New Credit Ratings Rules Target Big Data of Online Platforms

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The People’s Bank of China’s (PBOC) seeks to step up regulation of the use of big data obtained from online platforms for credit ratings purposes.

PBOC officially issued the “Credit Ratings Operations Regulatory Measures” (征信业务管理办法) on 30 September, with an implementation date of 1 January 2022.

The Measures outline more specific requirements with regard to the entire credit ratings process, encompassing data collection, storage, processing, supply and usage.

These requirements include:

  • Credit information gathering should abide by the principle of “minimum” and “necessary.”
  • Excessive collection of credit information is prohibited.
  • Collection of individual credit information requires consent, as well as clear notification of the purpose of such information gathering.
  • Credit ratings agencies are required to inspect the source, quality, security and authorisation status of credit information.
  • Information users must use credit information for appropriate, lawful purposes, and must obtain clear consent and authorisation.

A PBOC official said that the new regulations specifically target the use of big data collected by China’s online platforms.

“The Internet, big data and other new technologies have been broadly applied to the credit ratings sectors in recent years, following the rapid development of the digital economy,” said the official.

“A large volume of effective ‘alternative data’ has been collected, analysed and applied to determining the credit status of enterprises and individuals, and credit ratings have already broken through the scope of traditional loan information sharing.

“At the same time financial institutions have continually seen an increase in their demand for credit ratings with a focus on micro and small-enterprise financing, and financial inclusion services for long-tail clients.

“In order to satisfy this demand, the central bank has formulated these Measures, based on the foundation of credit ratings implementation experience over the past several years.”

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