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China gets big data fever, backed by security push

Government promises more data-sharing and analytics of everything

Chinese premier Li Keqiang has graced an otherwise obscure big data conference with his presence and outlined a new national analytics strategy.

Speaking at the Big Data Industry Summit & China E-commerce Innovation and Development Summit in Guiyang this week, Li said China will accelerate efforts to share information between all levels of government to spur business growth and reduce red tape. Li also outlined a plan to gather supply chain and transport data from around the nation in order to optimise both efforts and accelerate China's transition from manufacturing to whatever comes next.

The premier also said China's government aims to harden the nation's digital infrastructure, to protect agains commercial and state-backed espionage. Privacy scored a mention in Li's speech, too, as part of an intention to combat online crime.

Development of telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas will be accelerated to help things along.

It's widely believed that China is an aggressive supporter of online criminals and also an active participant. Pledging a security crackdown may not therefore feel entirely sincere to businesses and governments beyond the Middle Kingdom. Businesses and governments may also feel a little insecure at the prospect of China getting its act together with big data and open government data, because China's already grown astoundingly in the last 20 years. If China can unlock all the benefits analytics advocates promise, who knows what else might become possible? ®

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