UK warns tech firms over risks of China expansion

Platform News: UK Parliament, Technology and Policy

The UK’s digital and tech businesses must be wary of the ethical, legal and commercial risks of expanding to China and accepting Chinese investment, according to a UK government website.

Under a new law put forward individually on Tuesday, telecoms firms may be fined up to 10% of earnings or 100,000 pounds (approximately $133,140) per day if they contravene a ban on using equipment made by Chinese technology firm Huawei.

Britain also released this past month a bill giving ministers far-reaching powers to intervene in corporate deals that could threaten national security, the culmination of years of growing concern about Chinese and others investment in crucial sectors.

Using the motto, “China. See the Potential. Know the Challenge,” the authorities website was created as a guide for digital and tech companies, encouraging good practice and increasing awareness of potential difficulties.

“The UK is determined to support our businesses to engage with China in a way that reflects the UK’s values and takes account of national security concerns,” digital ministry Caroline Dinenage said in a November the 6th statement.

Alongside case studies, guides on how best to conduct due diligence and links to specialist consultancies, the website contains some warnings.

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“There is a risk that your company’s technology could be used to violate human rights,” stated a section on ethical risks, highlighting concerns about facial recognition software censorship, and mass surveillance among other issues.

Another section warns: “Taking legal steps to protect your IP (Intellectual Property) in China is important, but you should also consider your cybersecurity.”

Before this year, ministers blocked Chinese company Huawei Technologies from portions of the UK’s telecoms network over worries about spying. Huawei has stated the worries are groundless.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by William James. Editing by Michael Holden and Stephen Addison.

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