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China Seeks To Boost Corporate Cyber ​​Surveillance During Hong Kong IPOs

 


China’s Cyberspace Administration on Sunday released draft rules that would require companies to submit to a cybersecurity review before going public in Hong Kong if it involves national security, threatening a recent change as internet companies seek to register on the territory.

The powerful data watchdog launched an investigation into Didi Chuxing for alleged data breaches two days after its $ 4.4 billion New York Stock Exchange IPO in June, forcing the once-dominant rideshare company stop registering new users during the survey.

After the move, the CAC noted in July, it would toughen the rules for companies looking to sell shares overseas, proposing rules requiring companies with personal data of more than one million users to undergo a security screening. However, the guidelines did not specify whether the requirement applied to listings in Hong Kong.

The rules mark the first time Beijing has said some listings in the territory will need to undergo cybersecurity exams, but did not specify the prerequisites for that extra layer of control.

Global investment banks rushed over the summer to redirect Chinese groups’ IPO to Hong Kong, seen as a more politically acceptable location compared to Beijing for tech companies seeking access to financial markets international.

Ximalaya, a popular Chinese audio and podcast platform, filed for an IPO in Hong Kong in September after abandoning its proposed listing in New York. The Financial Times also reported that ByteDance, owner of the short video app TikTok, relaunched its plan to go public in Hong Kong early next year.

The move comes after the introduction of a radical new data protection regime that gives the CAC greater investigative power over how Chinese companies handle consumer data.

The draft rules, on which public opinion is sought until Dec. 13, also require companies with large amounts of data affecting China’s national security, economy and public interest to comply. submit to a cybersecurity review when pursuing a merger and acquisition or restructuring.

Internet companies seeking to establish overseas headquarters, operational centers or research and development facilities must also report in advance to Chinese regulators, the ACC wrote.

The draft rules came on Monday the day before the Beijing Stock Exchange opened, a new market that will raise money for innovation-driven start-ups as China tries to encourage companies to use the exchanges local.

The Beijing exchange is part of the government’s broader effort to build local high-innovation tech companies to reduce reliance on outside innovation.

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