Alibaba, Tencent back Chinese cyber law facing overseas critics

Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:27am EST
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By Catherine Cadell

WUZHEN, China (Reuters) - China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N: Quote) and Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK: Quote) rallied behind Beijing's recently-imposed cyber security law on Thursday, following criticism of it from overseas technology rivals.

The country's two tech giants also urged closer cooperation between the public and private sectors at China's third World Internet Conference, which has focused on heightened threats to cyber security over the past year, including disruptions to financial systems and online terrorist radicalization.

China says the new law, which formalizes broad restrictions on technology companies working in China, was designed to remove cyber security threats in "critical" industries not to target foreign businesses and will help counter terrorism.

However, overseas business groups and technology organizations say it unfairly targets them with overzealous surveillance measures and local data storage requirements.

Analysts say Alibaba and Tencent operate websites and apps that have a largely local user base, and so face fewer changes in the way they store data as a result of the law.

"This marks a step forward for China. We are asking [Tencent] professionals to learn from these regulations," Yang Peng, director of Tencent's Executive Committee for Information Security, said at the conference, which is organized by China's internet regulator and has also focused on building more robust global governance and the responsibility of the media.

CYBER CLEANSING   Continued...

A sign of Alibaba Group is seen at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2016 in Shanghai, China, May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo