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China launches big data plan

China's new big data plan is aligned with wider objectives to achieve capabilities in what it calls ‘strategic frontier' technologies. In addition to big data, such technologies include artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and unmanned systems such as this CH-5 unmanned aerial vehicle. (Janes/Kelvin Wong)

China has released plans to support the development of big data technologies and industry. The plan is closely aligned with Beijing's 2021–25 five-year plan (FYP) and its associated emphasis on developing defence capability through military-civil fusion (MCF).

The ‘big data industry development plan' was launched by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in Beijing on 30 November. The plan outlines a series of mechanisms and policies that the ministry will introduce over the coming few years to support capability development.

Although the plan does not mention defence specifically, national defence capability would be expected by Beijing to be a beneficiary of the plan, given China's focus on merging commercial and military sectors. As highlighted in China's 14th FYP, big data and related advanced technologies that are developed by both domains form a key part of the country's military-capability objectives.

The big data industry development plan highlights development goals for local industry and outlines a series of proposed laws and regulations to facilitate activities such as data classification, data security, and enhanced governance and monitoring.

The plan also outlines policies to develop big data industry and technologies in China. These include reforms to improve the industry structure, enhance big data innovation and efficiencies, enable market entry, support financing for big data companies, develop skills, and enable deeper international co-operation on big data technologies.

The plan also indicates the scale of China's existing and targeted big data industry landscape.

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