Data Trading Centres in China Exceed 30 in Number, Expert Warns of Excess Creation and Data Fragmentation

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The number of data trading centres in China is set to further increase after the central government flagged further support for the use of data as a factor of production.

The 2022 Government Work Report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang over the weekend called for “improving digital economy management and unleashing the potential of data as a factor of production,” leading to much buzz in the Chinese press and politic circles about future data-related economic policies.

Wang Qian (王茜), chair of Xi’an Future International Information Co. (西安未来国际信息股份有限公司), said in aspeech delivered at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on 6 March that China is currently host to over 30 data trading centres, with several established in Shaanxi province alone.

“Data trading centres are platforms for the gathering, circulation and trading of data as a factor of production, and expediting the high-efficiency and secure usage and circulation of data,” said Wang. “They are a key link in the development of the digital economy.”

Wang points out however that the breakneck creation of data trading centres in China has already created problems that warrant concern, including a lack of coordination, incomplete regulatory systems and data security issues.

“The regulatory agencies are all different, and they have never yet discussed standardization,” said Wang. “In some cases a single province has established multiple [data centres] whose functions and positions are unclear, leading to fragmentation and isolation of data assets.”