China To Appoint Unicom CEO Liu Liehong As Head of New Data Bureau


China intends to name Liu Liehong, the CEO of state-owned telecoms giant China Unicom, as the head of its new national data bureau, placing him in charge of efforts to turn the nation into a digital superpower. Liu, 54, a veteran of electronics and information technology who also serves as China Unicom's chairman, will take over as director of the National Data Bureau soon.

In March, China made plans for the data bureau public as part of a significant political shake-up. Its duties will include organizing China's digital economy, developing and sharing the nation's data resources, promoting smart cities, and facilitating the sharing of information resources across sectors. Its creation is a part of efforts to create the "digital China" that President Xi Jinping envisions, where data management serves as a significant economic driver alongside labor and capital. The nation has also stepped up its enforcement of data security laws by enacting new restrictions in areas like information exports.

China revealed a plan in February to take the lead in global digital development by 2035. According to three sources, the bureau will have vice-ministerial level regulatory authority as a symbol of its political significance, placing it on par with China's National Anti-monopoly Bureau, whose position was increased in 2021 during a vigorous antitrust crackdown.

The new data bureau will receive some employees from the NDRC's Innovation and High-Tech Development Department, which is in charge of China's big data policy. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), China's internet censor, will also move some employees to the data bureau.

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