China’s top cybersecurity regulator sent a conciliatory message to the country’s tech industry on Friday. The companies from the rapidly growing tech sector have been punished by years of crackdowns, including a $1.2 billion dollar fine against international ride-hailing giant DiDi.
During a press conference, China’s Cyberspace Administration (CAC) Vice Minister Niu Yibing said the agency is committed to the healthy development of domestic Internet companies.
The head of the Cybersecurity Coordination Bureau, Sun Weimin, said the agency also supports domestic firms that want to be listed on foreign exchanges, Reuters reported.
China’s administration was previously known primarily for enforcing internet censorship, but in the past few years it has expanded its reach and become an effective data regulator in the country – including drafting the framework of China’s Data Security Law and Data Protection Law.
Last summer, the agency began investigating DiDi, just days after the company went public. Its debut became the largest in the history of Chinese companies going public on the New York Stock Exchange, but it did so by limiting it to existing users in China. The CAC later announced that companies with more than 1 million users would have to pass security checks before listing on foreign exchanges.
This spring, the company’s board voted to delist the company. In July, the CAC announced that the company would be fined $1.2 billion, which it accepted, saying it “will engage in a comprehensive self-assessment, active coordination with regulators, completion of activities, and strict compliance with the requirements of the ruling and applicable laws and regulations.”
The crackdown has rocked China’s burgeoning tech sector and contributed to a sense of uncertainty about the direction of the country’s cybersecurity policy. ByteDance, a Chinese company known for its popular TikTok short-video app, shelved plans for an offshore initial public offering last March following the CAC’s actions, The Wall Street Journal reported.