On July 10, the China Cyber Space Administration published a draft version of a new data security law. It asked the public to provide feedback by July 25. The new law requires that Chinese companies seeking to list in foreign countries must first pass a cyber security review.
The statement stated that companies with a data base of over 1 million users must apply for cybersecurity approval before listing in other countries. The reason is that the data and personal information might be “influenced, controlled and abused by foreign governments.” The review includes an evaluation of the potential national security risks of the company’s overseas initial public offering (IPO).
According to data from Bloomberg News, 37 Chinese companies have been listed in the U.S. They raised a total of $12.9 billion this year.
As early as three months ago, Chinese authorities requested Didi Chuxing, the Uber of China, to postpone its IPO in the US. Despite inconsistent orders from various agencies, Didi Chuxing moved forward with its listing plan on June 30. On July 2, Beijing ordered a cyberspace security inspection on DidiChuxing and banned the new users from signing up. On July 9, 29 Didi Chuxing Apps were taken down online. All these measures are considered to be Beijing’s deliberate retaliation against companies that don’t follow its order. According to Didi Chuxing financial disclosure, in the first quarter of 2021, it had 156 million active users and an average daily transaction volume of 25 million in China while it had 493 million active annual users and 15 million active drivers annually worldwide.
On July 8, a number of companies withdrew their IPOs from the New York Stock Exchange including LinkDoc Technology, a medical data solutions and oncology big data service provider; Keep, a modile fitness company, and Meicai, a food delivery firm.
The new law could push more Chinese Internet companies to list in Hong Kong, rather than listing in other countries, in order to bypass such scrutiny.
1. Epoch Times, July 10, 2021
2. Central Cyberspace Affairs, July 10, 2021