China has issued guidelines that encourage companies that generate industrial big data to better manage and share it, in another move to drive forward the development of smart manufacturing and the Internet of Things.

Why it matters: China has a lot of industrial data which the government believes has not been fully leveraged.

  • The new guidelines show government resolve to develop commonly held norms for handling industrial data, and sharing it.
  • It also puts an onus on companies to take responsibility for industrial data management through setting up systems, reviewing their practices, and realizing the value of their data.

Details: The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) makes clear (in Chinese) in the new guidelines that responsibilities for making data more useful will fall on owners and users of industrial data, and Internet platforms. 

  • The guidelines define industrial data as information generated and applied in the full life cycle of industrial products and services, including research and development, operations, and maintenance. 
  • Data is graded at three levels, with Level 3 signifying data that should not be shared on principle due to the impact that faking, damage, leaks, or illegal use of the data could pose.
  • Companies with Level 3 data should make sure systems are built to resist large-scale hostile attacks.
  • Companies are encouraged to share Level 1 and 2 data to increase its potential value.

Context: The government wants the foundations of an industrial big data system to be in place by 2025. MIIT released draft opinions on big data development on Sept. 4.

  • The opinions highlighted clean energy, constriction, and aviation as key areas.
  • Millions of companies, however, have not yet digitized. Chen Chen, K2Data’s chief operating officer, said that fusing types of data and generating value is a “prominent challenge,” mentioning that businesses are hampered by the cost of changing their existing systems and bringing in data professionals.
  • Big data development gained a higher profile in August 2015, when the State Council issued an “Action outline on speeding up big data development,” which framed it as necessary for restructuring the economy and upgrading industry.

Lavender covers regulation and its effects on people. She previously worked in a policy advisory analyzing China’s internal governance for foreign governments and multinationals. A History graduate from...

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