HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s largest financial data provider Wind Information said late last year that some customers had access to certain business and economic data by offshore users as a result of the cybersecurity regulator’s new data rules. said it has restricted access to .
Restricting offshore users’ access to Wind is due to China’s focus on data use and security amid growing geopolitical tensions and privacy concerns in the world’s second largest economy.
The wind movement, with economists, fund managers and others using its services, also comes as China seeks to attract more foreign investment and revive an economy suffering from a post-COVID liftoff. Restrictions include access to details about the shareholding structure of some companies.
Shanghai-based Wind has made some of its regularly updated data, such as home sales figures, inaccessible to users outside mainland China since September last year, according to one of the sources. bottom.
A Wind salesperson told sources in September that the company made the change following instructions from the China Cyberspace Administration (CAC).
A second source was also told by another Wind salesperson that the restrictions were introduced after the CAC announced new data rules last year.
Cybersecurity regulators last July issued a final rule requiring data exports to undergo security reviews as part of a new regulatory framework affecting hundreds, if not thousands, of Chinese companies. Did.
The new rules came into force on September 1st.
Beijing recently issued new cybersecurity, data and privacy laws that require organizations with large user bases to be evaluated and approved when processing data collected.
Lawmakers also passed sweeping updates to Beijing’s anti-espionage law late last month, banning the transfer of any information related to national security and broadening the definition of espionage.
Restrictions on offshore users’ access to certain wind data have been expanded since September last year, initial sources said. It’s unclear if the CAC has tightened its access requirements since the same month.
So far, offshore user access to blocked wind information has included business registry details such as the company’s shareholding structure and its ultimate managers, and details such as sales of houses and land in specific cities. It contains economic data, sources told Reuters.
Wind, which serves numerous domestic and international financial institutions, did not respond to a request for comment.
The CAC did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.
When asked about China’s financial data providers, including Wind, having stopped providing important corporate information to overseas subscribers, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said at a news briefing that she explained the situation. He said he didn’t recognize it.
The source declined to be identified because it is not authorized to speak to the media.
Founded in 1998 by entrepreneur Lu Feng, privately held Wind is by far the largest player in China’s burgeoning financial data market, according to estimates by broker Guotai Junan Securities.
Business groups warn of vague language in China’s new anti-espionage law banning transfer of any information related to national security, increased use of exit bans on foreign executives in the country, increased scrutiny of due diligence firms are doing.
US due diligence firm Mintz Group said in late March that authorities had raided its China office and detained five local staff. At the time, the foreign ministry said it suspected Mr Mintz had engaged in illegal business activities.
Police visited Bain & Co’s offices in Shanghai and questioned employees, the US management consulting firm said last week.
Besides Wind, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), China’s main academic database, has restricted access to overseas subscribers since April 1, with users informed of the suspension.
Access restrictions imposed on the database also apply to dissertations, conference papers, legal and statistical data, the National University of Singapore said in an interruption notice on its website in March.
CNKI did not respond to a request for comment on this matter.
Reuters reported, citing sources, that Chinese data providers such as Qichacha and TianYanCha, whose corporate databases are partly owned by Wind, have stopped opening them to offshore users for at least a few months.
Headquartered in Shanghai’s Lujiazui financial district, Wind has expanded outside China to include Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and London, competing with Refinitiv and Bloomberg LP.
According to Guotai Junan’s estimate, wind power sales will reach 2.5 billion yuan ($361.84 million) in 2021, nearly doubling from 1.33 billion yuan in 2016.
($1 = 6.9091 Chinese Yuan)
Reported by Julie Zhu and Xie Yu from Hong Kong, Yew Lun Tian from Beijing and the Shangahi Newsroom. Edited by Sumeet Chatterjee and Kim Coghill
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