HK's opportunity to serve as data hub in Greater Bay Area

February 28, 2019 10:46
Hong Kong can take up the data hub role as China pushes the Greater Bay Area plan, observers say, Photo: Reuters

I've been actively involved in work related to safe data flows in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau over the last three years. I believe Big Data is critical for pushing digital economic transformation in the future.

Now I am very excited about the Outline Development Plan for the Greater Bay Area.

As the most international city in the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong can take up the data hub role, in addition to its financial and trading center roles.

Talking of data hub, it does not just refer to data centers, but more importantly an operating hub for extracting value from data and data security protection, on top of storage and computing.

To harness Big Data technology, one requires a high-speed network. Given this, the Outline Development Plan has stressed the need to enhance the internet infrastructure in the Greater Bay Area.

Yet, the biggest issue is the security of cross-border data flows.

Hong Kong and Macau are two Special Administration Regions of China. But they are listed as 'overseas' in China’s cybersecurity law. Therefore, data flows from mainland China to Hong Kong and Macau have to go through data security assessment.

The Greater Bay Area covers cities with different systems and legislations. That has hampered cross-border data flows. Navigating different data security policies in Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau will be one of the main challenges.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb 27

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Venture Partner of Sequoia Capital China, former head of the data committee and vice president at Alibaba Group.