Residents conduct business at the Lingang Special Area Administrative Service Center in Shanghai on May 12, 2023. The Lingang Special Area serves as a key transportation node connecting waterways, air routes, railways, highways, inland rivers and subways for Shanghai. (GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY)

SHANGHAI – Shanghai has set clearer targets to further strengthen two-way cross-border data flow, which will be conducive to improving production efficiency and high-quality economic growth, according to local industry experts and officials.

Facilitating data flow in major scenarios such as cross-border payment, e-commerce, data outsourcing and supply chain will be the main targets in the near future for International Data Port Co, which is tasked with helping Lingang Special Area of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone realize the strategic goal of becoming a global data hub.

Ni Xiaojie, deputy director of the data department for the Lingang Special Area Administration, said during a media briefing on Friday that the International Data Port, which was founded in August 2020 and is based in the Lingang Special Area, will serve to address China's major strategies and better connect to internationally accepted digital trade rules, such as the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement.

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According to Li Jing, general manager of International Data Port, Shanghai is rich in finance, supply chain and trade data resources. The company can help enhance the efficiency of data utilization and attract foreign investment, as data flow is expected to become smoother, Li added.

Financial and trade companies may be the first to trade on the international board, as most of their business is cross-border, generating demand for such data exchanges

Lu Yong, Vice-General Manager, Shanghai Data Exchange

Ni, the data department deputy director, said efforts are also being made in other Chinese cities to strengthen data exchange. However, Lingang can lead the way in further facilitating data flow, thanks to its complete industrial ecosystem and systematic innovations, which can largely be attributed to the Shanghai FTZ's progress in this regard, he said.

In another effort by Shanghai to facilitate data trading, especially from the global perspective, Wu Jincheng, director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization, announced in late April the construction of an international board at the Shanghai Data Exchange. The announcement was made during the Data Ecosystem Partnership Conference held in Singapore.

Up to 30 data products, such as the latest business intelligence and import and export data, will be listed on the board to facilitate high-level international economic and trade exchanges as well as cultural cooperation, said Tang Qifeng, general manager of the Shanghai Data Exchange.

Lu Yong, vice-general manager of the data exchange, told China Daily on Thursday that financial and trade companies may be the first to trade on the international board, as most of their business is cross-border, generating demand for such data exchanges. Such trading may be promoted to the manufacturing and consumption sectors once the trading mechanism matures, said Lu.

But the ground rule is adherence to the country's laws and regulations to ensure data security, he added.

Initiated in November 2021 as China's first national-level data exchange, the Shanghai Data Exchange saw its annual trading value surpass 100 million yuan ($14.4 million) in 2022. The figure is expected to be more than 1 billion yuan this year.

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According to a guideline released on Dec 19 by the State Council, China's Cabinet, efforts should be made to build a multilayered ecosystem for data, and the development of data exchanges across the country should be coordinated.

The Shenzhen Data Exchange, which was established in December 2021 and officially launched on Nov 15 last year, saw its total trading value exceed 1.2 billion yuan by the end of 2022.

The Chongqing-based Western China Data Exchange began its trial run in December 2021, with total trading value hitting 1 billion yuan in one year.