On October 26-27, 2015, the “Symposium on Credit Reporting in Asia Pacific and Personal Data Protection” organized by the Credit Reference Center, the People’s Bank of China (“CCRC”) (“PBC”) with the support of the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank Group (WBG), was held in Xi’an, China. The symposium aimed at promoting the exchanges and cooperation among credit reporting agencies in the Asia-Pacific region, and discussing the protection of personal data in the era of digital economy.

Yang Ziqiang, Assistant Governor of the PBC, attended the meeting and delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony. Li Bin, Deputy Inspector of the Credit Information System Bureau of the PBC, and Tony Lythgoe, Head of technical assistance for global financial infrastructure construction of WBG were also present at the event and made speeches. Wang Xiaoming, Head of the CCRC, presided over the opening ceremony. The topics for discussion included the reform and development of the credit reporting system in the Asia Pacific, credit reporting services for small and micro-sized enterprises, data analysis of credit reporting agencies, and anti-fraud services, among others.

Mr. Yang Ziqiang introduced the developments of the global credit reporting industry, and the progress China has made in building and developing a credit reporting system, and raised new regulatory requirements for the Chinese credit reporting industry against new backdrops. He pointed out, as an indispensable financial infrastructure, credit reporting system can effectively alleviate the information asymmetry, lower credit costs and enhance credit availability, thus playing an increasingly prominent role in the economic and financial development of the countries all over the world. Based on its own actual conditions and by drawing on the advanced experience overseas, China’s credit reporting system, since its establishment, has adhered to the principle of reporting comprehensive credit data covering all types of positive and negative information on credit businesses in all areas of all lending institutions and borrowers, effectively driving consumption, investment and employment and contributing a lot to China’s economic development and establishment of a credit system. Along with the promotion of establishing a credit reporting system, the protection of information owners’ rights and interests has become increasingly important. The Regulation on Credit Reporting Industry has fully defined the rights of information owners to know, consent, dissent and correct errors, effectively safeguarding the healthy and sustainable development of the credit reporting industry.

CRC C15_7526 (2) Madam WangAs Mr. Yang further stressed, with the Chinese economy entering into a “new normal”, more and more people need to obtain credit from regular financial channels; the development of new financial forms powered by the Internet and big data has constantly given rise to new demands for credit and credit reporting services; and the improvement of credit reporting rules (including the Regulation on Credit Reporting Industry) becomes a new driving force for the development of China’s credit reporting industry. Under such new circumstances, the credit reporting regulation shall invigorate and protect innovation in the sector. Meanwhile efforts shall be made to avoid excessive innovation so that a balance between protection of rights and interests and data application can be achieved. To this end, China should exercise strict access control over the credit reporting market, introduce the concept of “regulated innovation in credit reporting”, raise innovative regulatory methods for credit reporting, and ensure the industry can grow legally with self-discipline and externally regulation. Mr. Yang noted that it is a long-term and arduous task for China to develop a healthy credit reporting system, which requires it work hard independently on the one hand and enhance international exchanges and cooperation for common development on the other hand.

In analyzing the new development trend of the global credit reporting industry, Mr. Tony Lythgoe from the WBG noted particularly that the application of new technologies and data to the credit reporting industry in the era of Internet and big data would profoundly change the service modes and the course of development of the industry. Meanwhile, he also emphasized that the regulatory authorities of all countries should strengthen the protection of personal data, enable individuals to protect their rights and interests in a convenient, clear and simple way, and educate them to better protect their privacy and take their own information security seriously.

Mrs. Li Bin, Deputy Inspector of the Credit Information System Bureau of the PBC, introduced in her speech the work the Chinese credit reporting regulator has done in recent years to improve the relevant regulations and systems, and promote the development of the credit reporting market. He pointed out particularly, in a new stage of China’s economic transformation and development, the credit reporting market faces both opportunities and challenges; under such a context, equal attention shall be paid to the development of the credit reporting market in compliance with laws and regulations, and the protection of legal rights and interests of information owners. To do so, China’s credit reporting regulator shall remain cool-headed, open and inclusive and take a step-by-step approach which is vigorous yet prudent.

Mr. Wang Xiaoming remarked that it was of critical importance to the economic and financial development of the Asia-Pacific region that efforts would be made to promote the building of a credit reporting system in the countries within the Asia-Pacific region, facilitate the extensive use of credit data, strengthen cooperation in credit reporting across the region, and improve the quality of credit reporting. As the countries in the region have achieved impressive progress in their credit reporting market, this symposium aimed to provide an opportunity so that they could share their experiences in developing the industry, further promote industry exchanges and cooperation in the region, and discuss how to achieve a new balance between the protection of individual rights and interests and information sharing in the era of digital economy.

Around 200 people attended the event, including the officials from the regulatory departments of central banks, experts from the International Finance Corporation of the WBG, senior executives from credit reporting agencies in Asia, personal data protection experts, as well as experts from relevant government departments and representatives of some credit reporting agencies in the Chinese mainland.

Source: Courtesy of BIIA member Credit Reference Center, the People’s Bank of China

BIIA editorial note:  Mr. Neil Munroe, Member of the BIIA regulatory committee participated in the symposium