Beijing: A Chinese official's suggestion that Chinese internet companies pay data tax has caused concern among firms.
A former Chinese official Huang Qifan suggested the "data tax" in a speech he gave in a Shanghai forum on October 24, Asia Times reported.
Huang said that the Chinese internet companies should pay a tax when trading their users' personal data, a levy that, if implemented, would represent another regulatory risk and a possible drain on their bottom lines.
The policy suggests that profits made by tech companies through data must be returned for the people's good, but experts believe that the imposition of a "data tax" could be used to fulfil Xi Jinping's agendas.
As reported by Asia Times, it is unclear whether the Chinese Communist Party backs Huang's suggestions, but experts have said that small internet companies would support the launch of a "data tax" as it could help break the monopoly of internet giants.
Experts have also suggested that the new tax would hit Alibaba, Tencent, Didi while its policy could be used to finance the Chinese Communist Party's 'own' programme to address the nation's wealth gap.
"Data is a new fundamental resource for a nation and has a major and profound influence on economic development, social governance and people's livelihood," Huang was quoted as saying by Asia Times.
"Data has the characteristic of a public good. Its jurisdiction and transaction rights should belong to the state while all data activities should follow national data security regulations," the ex-official added.