Jul 31, 2021 05:35 AM

China Orders 25 Tech Giants to Fix Raft of Problems

(Bloomberg) — China ordered 25 technology companies to carry out internal inspections as part of a campaign to root out illegal online activity.

The Ministry of Industry Information Technology told its largest internet and hardware companies including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. Friday to carry out internal reviews and fix issues ranging from data security to consumer rights protection. The Internet Society of China, acting on behalf of the MIIT, separately ordered the twin giants and 10 other businesses Wednesday to step up data security protections including the export of key information.

The internet industry regulator said Monday it was beginning a six-month campaign against illegal online activity. Days later, it told Tencent and 13 others to address problems related to pop-ups within their apps. The crackdown is the latest move by Beijing to rein in the country’s internet leaders in areas from antitrust to data security and ride-hailing.

Meituan, Xiaomi Corp. and ByteDance Ltd. were among enterprises summoned to both meetings. The MIIT ordered the companies Friday to address eight types of problematic behavior including pop-ups, data collection and storage, and the blocking of external links.

At the earlier session, the businesses were asked to ensure that they establish data security management systems and appoint personnel responsible for data security, as well as strengthen oversight of how important information is exported, according to a statement issued Friday. The companies didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

President Xi Jinping’s government has made data security one of the top priorities in its campaign focusing on the internet industry. The cyberspace regulator cited data security risks as a key reason for its investigation into Didi Global Inc. and proposed a law requiring virtually all companies seeking to sell stock outside China to seek approval.

Big data is quickly turning into the next major battleground, with implications that potentially could reshape the global economy for decades to come. With the U.S. lobbying other nations to prevent China from obtaining technology like advanced computer chips and Xi undertaking a national project to develop them, stringent data security controls risk further disrupting supply chains, balkanizing financial markets and forcing countries to pick sides.

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