China’s top internet regulator assured European technology companies on Monday (6 July) that they’re welcome to set up shop in China, saying his agency monitors foreign businesses in a fair manner
“China has promoted a series of laws and regulations to ensure cyber and internet security. It protects the Chinese but also the European enterprises,” said Lu Wei, director of the Cyberspace Administration of China, during a half-day of talks between European and Chinese tech businesses in Brussels.
Following Chinese Premier Li Keqiang‘s visit to Brussels for last week’s EU-China summit, Wei was accompanied by representatives from large Chinese technology firms, including telecoms giant ZTE and Tencent, the developer of popular chat service WeChat.
But European companies hoping to enter the Chinese market were reminded that they face a number of rules guarded by the country’s watchful regulators.
“Cybersecurity is closely linked to our national security,” Wei said. “As long as companies operate under our legal framework, we open our doors to all European companies.”
China implemented strict new rules this year that require non-Chinese firms providing software to banks to register with the government. The EU and US government have criticised that law, and called it a barrier to businesses seeking entrance to the Chinese market.
Some European technology companies have urged caution on investment plans and appealed to China to amend its policies, saying they could harm foreign businesses.
After first addressing the room in Chinese, Sylvie Forbin, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at French multimedia company Vivendi, said that Chinese censorship authorities have to be fair in approving European media for sale. Forbin also cautioned against the piracy of goods in China and called Europe’s copyright laws “The instruments which facilitate the dissemination of cultural content online.”