MERICS comment: As the commercialization of data-hungry autonomous vehicles picks up speed – Baidu recently partnered with BAIC to build 1,000 driverless robotaxis over the next three years – there is an urgent need to standardize and regulate cybersecurity within the industry. Such measures will help to ensure the physical safety of passengers and pedestrians as well as protect data from cyberattacks.
The draft highlights how Beijing views the ICV sector as an opportunity to advance industrial upgrading. Setting standards and facilitating their internationalization can help the industry’s further development and firms in China to gain a first-mover advantage. Standardization can also fast-track R&D and indigenous innovation efforts by eliminating redundancy, which is why standardization has featured heavily in China’s industrial policies like Made in China 2025 and China Standards 2035.
With China’s ambitious standard-setting agenda in mind, foreign companies need to be involved in Chinese standard-making to avoid falling behind technologically and end up as standard-takers. However, they often lack access or voting rights to key institutions in China’s standard-setting system. As China pushes to internationalize its standards, it becomes more urgent that foreign companies in China advocate their rights to access standard-setting activities and financing provided by the government.
Policy name: Guidelines on the Construction of a Cybersecurity Standard System for Connected Vehicles (Intelligent Networked Vehicles) (Draft for Comments) (车联网（智能网联汽车）网络安全标准体系建设指南（征求意见稿）) (Link)
Issuing body: MIIT
Date: June 21, 2021
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