Britain warns tech firms over risks of China expansion

Under a new law put forward separately today, telecoms companies could be fined up to 10 per cent of turnover or £100,000 a day if they contravene a ban on using equipment made by Chinese technology firm Huawei. — Reuters pic
Under a new law put forward separately today, telecoms companies could be fined up to 10 per cent of turnover or £100,000 a day if they contravene a ban on using equipment made by Chinese technology firm Huawei. — Reuters pic
LONDON, Nov 24 — Britain’s digital and technology firms must be wary of the ethical, legal and commercial risks of expanding into China and accepting Chinese investment, according to a UK government website.

Under a new law put forward separately today, telecoms companies could be fined up to 10 per cent of turnover or £100,000 (RM545,175) a day if they contravene a ban on using equipment made by Chinese technology firm Huawei.

Britain also published this month a bill giving ministers far-reaching powers to intervene in corporate deals which could threaten national security, the culmination of years of growing concern about Chinese and others investment in key industries.

Using the slogan: “China. See the Potential. Know the Challenge,” the government website is designed as a guide for digital and tech firms, encouraging good practice and raising awareness of potential issues.

“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 minister Caroline Dinenage said in a November 6 statement.

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

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

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

Earlier this year, ministers blocked Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from parts of the UK’s telecoms network over concerns about spying. Huawei has said the concerns are groundless. — Reuters

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