China will accelerate research into the establishment of a public data pricing mechanism amid a broader push to promote the efficient circulation and use of public data — a move that industry experts said demonstrates the country's determination to bolster sharing and application of public data and unleash the value of massive data resources.
The National Development and Reform Commission's Department of Price, alongside the National Data Administration, recently held a symposium to discuss policies for establishing and improving pricing mechanisms that conform to the characteristics of public data, and bolstering the paid use of public data for digital development in accordance with the pricing procedures guided by the government, the NDRC said on Thursday.
The Price Monitoring Center of the NDRC, the Credit Reference Center of the People's Bank of China — the country's central bank — as well as lenders and related enterprises attended the symposium, it added.
Public data refers to information available for everyone to access, use and share, and is usually collected and generated by government departments, public institutions and organizations in the process of performing public management duties or providing public services according to existing laws, experts said.
"The country's latest move to speed up the building of a public data pricing mechanism is conducive to facilitating the circulation and transaction of public data resources," said Ouyang Rihui, assistant dean of the China Center for Internet Economy Research at the Central University of Finance and Economics.
Ouyang said data elements own the attributes of commodities, which could be effectively allocated through market evaluation and trading, so as to create huge economic and social value.
He said the pricing mechanism for data is highly related to transaction scenarios, models and systems, as well as digital technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain, which will affect the trading mechanism, assessment and pricing methods of data elements.
The National Industrial Information Security Development Research Center said revenue derived from China's data elements market is projected to rise from 81.5 billion yuan ($11.2 billion) in 2021 to 198.9 billion yuan in 2025, with the compound annual growth rate surpassing 25 percent during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period.
How to put data resources to better use is a top priority, and therefore, the current pricing of public data should not be too high, as it could be gradually adjusted later, said Zhu Xianfeng, a senior economist from the Price Monitoring Center of the NDRC.
Pan Helin, co-director of the Digital Economy and Financial Innovation Research Center at Zhejiang University's International Business School, said improving the data pricing mechanism is a "prerequisite" for boosting the prosperity and development of the data elements market, and the building of basic data systems.
Highlighting that data has become a new type of production factor, Pan said Chinese authorities are accelerating steps to promote the circulation of public data on open public data platforms and data exchanges, and are playing an active role in formulating laws and regulations for data circulation and trading, adding more efforts are needed to build a multilevel and diversified market transaction system.