New rules impose limits on access to offshore financial data in China: Reuters

China’s leading financial data provider, Wind Information Co, is limiting offshore access to certain business and economic data, in response to new rules from the country’s cybersecurity regulator finalized last September.

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China’s biggest financial data provider, Wind Information, told some customers late last year that it was blocking foreign users from accessing certain business and economic data due to the regulator’s new data rules. cybersecurity, two sources said.

The restricted access to Wind by offshore users comes as China focuses more on data usage and security amid rising geopolitical tensions and privacy concerns in the world’s second-largest economy.

The move by Wind, whose services are used by economists, fund managers and others, also comes as China seeks to attract more foreign investment and revive an economy struggling for post-Covid takeoff. . Borders include access to details about certain companies’ shareholding structures.

Shanghai-based Wind made some of its data such as home sales figures, which were regularly updated, inaccessible to users based outside mainland China since September last year, the company said. one of the sources.

A Wind vendor told the source in September that the company made the changes in accordance with instructions from the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), which asked it to stop providing certain data to offshore users.

The second source was also told by another Wind vendor that the restrictions were put in place after the CAC unveiled new data rules last year.

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The cybersecurity regulator issued final rules last July requiring data exports to be subject to security reviews, part of a new regulatory framework that will affect hundreds, if not thousands, of Chinese companies.

The new rules came into effect on September 1.

Beijing has issued new cybersecurity, data and privacy laws in recent years that require organizations with large user bases to undergo reviews and approvals when handling the data they collect.

Lawmakers also passed a sweeping update to Beijing’s anti-spy legislation late last month, banning the transfer of any national security information and expanding the definition of espionage.

Access restrictions for offshore users to certain wind data have been extended since last September, the first source said. It is unclear whether the CAC has tightened access tightening requirements since the same month.

So far, offshore user access to information from Wind that has been blocked includes corporate registry information such as the company’s shareholding structure and its ultimate controller, as well as economic data such as home and land sales in some cities, sources told Reuters.

Wind, which serves many domestic and foreign financial institutions, did not respond to requests for comment.

The CAC did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.

Asked if Chinese financial data providers, including Wind, have stopped providing key company information to foreign subscribers, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told a press briefing that she was unaware of the situation.

The sources declined to be identified as they were 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 growing financial data market, according to estimates by broker Guotai Junan Securities.

Business groups have warned of vague language in China’s new anti-spy law, which bans the transfer of any information related to national security, increased use of exit bans for corporate executives in the country and increased monitoring of due diligence companies.

US due diligence firm Mintz Group said in late March that authorities raided the company’s Chinese office and detained five local employees. The Foreign Office said at the time that Mintz was suspected of engaging in illegal business operations.

Police visited the Bain & Co office in Shanghai and questioned staff, the US management consultancy said last week.

Besides Wind, China’s leading academic database China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) restricted access to overseas subscribers from April 1, according to users briefed on the suspension.

Access restrictions imposed on the database apply to dissertations and conference papers as well as legal and statistical data, the National University of Singapore said in March in a notice posted on its website about of the disturbance.

CNKI did not respond to a request for comment on the issue.

Reuters reported, citing sources that Chinese data providers, including enterprise databases Qichacha, partly owned by Wind, and TianYanCha have stopped opening up to offshore users for at least months.

Based in Shanghai’s Lujiazui financial district, Wind has expanded its presence outside of China to places including Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and London, and competes with Refinitiv and Bloomberg LP.

Wind generated 2.5 billion yuan ($361.84 million) in sales in 2021, according to Guotai Junan’s estimate, almost double the 2016 revenue of 1.33 billion yuan.

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