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China inaugurates national data administration, its significance explained

Source: Xinhua Updated: 2023-10-27

BEIJING -- China on Wednesday inaugurated the National Data Administration (NDA). Here is a quick summary of why it was established, its functions, and what it means for the digital economy.


The NDA's establishment was first unveiled in March in a plan on reforming Party and state institutions released by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council.

According to the plan, the NDA is responsible for setting up data-related fundamental mechanisms, coordinating the integration, sharing, development, and application of data resources, and advancing the planning and building of a Digital China, a digital economy, and a digital society. Its functions also include promoting smart cities, implementing the national strategy on big data, and improving digital infrastructure.

Experts believe the new government agency will help modernize China's governance capacity, open a new chapter of building a Digital China, and contribute to the development of the global digital economy.


The digital economy is playing an increasingly important role in upgrading traditional industries and building new growth drivers. China generated about 8.1 zettabytes of data last year, the second highest in the world.

The NDA's establishment will help make better use of these huge data resources.

Zhang Li, head of the China Center for Information Industry Development, expects the NDA to activate data productivity. Digital innovation in areas from the Internet to big data and artificial intelligence will be accelerated, and the integration of digital technologies with the real economy will also be promoted.


As China is the first country to list data as a factor of production, the NDA needs to promote its work in many unexplored areas.

Zhang Li believes an important task of the NDA is making rules and systems for data property rights protection, data circulation, and transaction, public data authorized operation, and the oversight of cross-border data flows, among others.

The NDA should give full play to data's role as a fundamental resource and innovation driver so as to help build a new development pattern and a modern economy for the country, said Yu Xiaohui, head of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.