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Tianjin’s SASAC Advises Govt Firms To Move Data Into State-Controlled Cloud Services

Government firms in Tianjin were advised to start moving their data from cloud services owned by the private sector to the state-owned "guoziyun", or "state asset cloud", earlier this August 2021.

A city-sprawl picture of the city of Tianjin, China. Credit: English First

According to an online notice from Tianjin's State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) on 27 August 2021, government firms are now prohibited to build new data centres, buy servers or purchase other storage hardware. They are also forbidden to renew or sign new data storage contracts with third-party companies like Huawei, Alibaba and Tencent.

Instead of using third-party managed cloud platforms like those of Huawei, Alibaba and Tencent's, government firms are instructed in a document dated 12 August 2021 to use the "guoziyun", with orders to move all of their data stored in third-party managed cloud platforms into it within two months of their contract's expiration and that all data should be in the "guoziyun" by 30 September 2022.

Tianjin's SASAC mentioned that the request was in line with the instructions provided by China's State Council, which passed a new Data Security Law (DSL) in June 2021 which will allow the Chinese government to tighten its control on how companies store and manage the data they collect.

Although it is unknown if cities other than Tianjin will be enforcing similar instructions at this time, this will probably change as soon as the new DSL comes into effect on 1 September 2021.

Huawei's campus in Shenzhen, China. Credit: Huawei

Tianjin's SASAC, Huawei, Alibaba and Tencent have yet to comment on the State Council's instructions, according to a Reuters report. However, the effects of the new DSL could be seen as detrimental to the influence of China's tech companies, which is being reined in by the Chinese government in its recent clampdowns.

In a recently published article on the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) website, China Hualu Group Chairman and CCP Secretary, Ou Li, wrote that digital data is just as important as the "gun" and "pen", explaining that digital data "has critical importance for the party's long and stable rule of the country and China's overall competitiveness".


Written by John Paul Joaquin

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