Assurance offered to VPN users in China

Multinationals, expats and organizations using a VPN service in China won't be affected by the country's regulation on the VPN market, a top industry regulator said yesterday.

Multinationals, expats and organizations using a virtual private network service in China won’t be affected by the country’s regulation on the VPN market, a top industry regulator said yesterday.

VPN services can allow users to access services unavailable on the Chinese mainland such as Google and Facebook. 

Since January 2017, China has been carrying out a regulation campaign in the VPN market, which is scheduled to end in March, to crack down on illegal and unlicensed VPNs. Unauthorized VPN services will be blocked from April, according to the regulation.

The normal VPN usage in China “won’t be influenced” by the campaign, said Zhang Feng, chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

“The campaign aims to regulate the market environment and keep it fair and healthy,” Zhang said at an MIIT press conference in Beijing yesterday.

For those “VPNs which unlawfully conduct cross-border operational activities, we want to regulate this,” Zhang said.

Tech giant Apple has removed many VPN applications from its App Store in China.

The new regulation requires using approved providers such as China Mobile and China Unicom. 

Zhang dismissed concerns that using state-approved providers could jeopardize security of business and individual data. He said the telecom enterprises just offer VPN communications as “channels and service providers.” Neither carriers nor government bureaus are able to access contents of the communications like e-mails and data.

“The rights for using normal intentional telecommunications services is strictly protected,” said Zhang. With VPN regulation, related contents and services, such as e-mails and data transmission, are “secure and protected,” he said.

Meanwhile, MIIT also welcomed foreign business to invest in smart manufacture and 5G industries in China.

“As China’s achievements are closely connected to its opening up, we will, as always, widen market access for foreign investment, and the door will never be closed,” Miao Wei, minister of industry and information technology, said at yesterday’s conference.

For example, China’s 5G development and market opportunities are open to all overseas companies.

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