ANNOUNCEMENT 28 Dec 2015
December 28th, 2015 - China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced an update to its regulations classifying telecommunications services, which now includes cloud-based Internet services. Such services must now locate all their operational equipment in the PRC; any data transfer abroad is effectively prohibited, making it near impossible for foreign firms of this type to do business in China.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
PRC Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, December 28th, 2015. (工业和信息化部关于发布《电信业务分类目录（2015年版）》的通告)
On December 28th, 2015, the PRC Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released a new version of its 'Classification Catalogue of Telecommunications Services'. Under this updated regulation, cloud-based services have now been reclassified from 'computer and related services' to telecommunications services, meaning such services will no longer be subject to the WTO requirement to provide nondiscriminatory treatment and market access for foreign firms which applied to the former category.
As with related measures, any services which find themselves in the new catalogue must conduct all their data operations, storage and analysis in the PRC - effectively blocking the entry of any foreign firms into the Chinese market without registering as a domestic company and setting up operations within the borders of the PRC.
Examples of services affected are: email, voicemail, online information and database retrieval, electronic data interchange, et cetera.