On March 7, 2023, during the annual National People’s Congress (“NPC”) sessions, China’s State Council revealed its plan to establish a National Data Bureau (NDB) as part of a broader reorganization of government agencies. The plan is being deliberated by the NPC and is expected to be finalized soon.
According to the draft plan, the new National Data Bureau will be a deputy ministry-level agency under the National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”), China’s main economic planning agency that is in charge of industrial policies. The new bureau will be responsible for, among other areas, “coordinating the integration, sharing, development, and utilization of data resources,” and “pushing forward the planning and building of a Digital China, a digital economy, and a digital society.”
The plan specifies the new agency will take over certain portfolios currently managed by the Communist Party’s Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission (the party organ that supervises the Cyberspace Administration of China, “CAC”) and the NDRC. Specifically, the NDB will assume responsibility for “coordinating the development, utilization, and sharing of important national data resources, and promoting the exchange of data resources across industries and across departments,” a function currently performed by CAC. The NDB will also absorb the NDRC teams responsible for promoting the development of the digital economy and implementing the national “big data” strategy.
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