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China: New Provisions on Foreign Financial Information Services

(May 22, 2009) Effective June 1, 2009, new provisions will regulate foreign institutions that provide financial information services in China. The document, entitled “Provisions on Administration of Foreign Institutions Providing Financial Information Service within the Territory of China, was issued jointly by the State Council Information Office (SCIO), the Ministry of Commerce, and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce on April 30, 2009. (Three Departments Issuing the Provisions to Regulate the Foreign Institutions Providing Financial Information Service in China, 16 ISINOLAW WEEKLY (May 4-10, 2009), available from; text available in the subscription database iSinolaw, Reference ID 10052615.)

The services covered by these new provisions include providing information or financial data that may impact the financial market, to be used by those engaged in financial analysis, transactions, or other activities. The regulatory authority will be the SCIO, which will have to approve an application from any foreign institution before that institution can provide financial information services within China. The application must be signed by the head of the institution applying and must include a description of the institution; a copy of a certified document related to the establishment of the institution; a summary of the products, subjects, and information sources involved and a sample of the services to be provided; and a description of the technology to be used, including dissemination methods for the products. The SCIO will approve or reject the application within 20 working days, issuing either an approval document or an explanation in writing for a rejection. (Id.)

The new provisions specify that the information provided by these foreign institutions must not include content that is contrary to the basic principles of the Constitution or anything damaging to national unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. The content must not threaten Chinese national security or interests or in any other way violate China's laws. Any foreign institution that violates the provisions will be subject to orders to make restitution, warnings, and fines as determined by the SCIO. If other crimes are committed, the perpetrators will be pursued by the relevant authorities for criminal liability. (Id.)