BEIJING: The Chinese government should introduce new laws as soon as possible to protect internet users' personal information, the chairman and CEO of Lenovo, the electronics company, has warned.
Yang Yuanqing, head of the world's largest PC maker, told legislators in China that personal information leaks could happen "anywhere anytime, without us knowing it" and the absence of effective legislation constituted a serious challenge to data safety.
Speaking at the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, he said regulation is required to "raise the bar of safety standards for smartphone apps and streamline the information technology market," China Daily reported.
His intervention came as statistics from the Internet Society of China showed financial losses caused by leaks of personal information amounted to roughly 150bn yuan ($24.4bn) in 2013 and that almost two-thirds (65.5%) of websites in China have had security flaws.
Meanwhile, a report released at the end of February by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) revealed almost three-quarters (74.1%) of domestic internet users were victims of information leaks in the second half of 2013.
Jiang Yaoping, a member of CNNIC and the nation's former vice minister of commerce, said the rise of e-commerce as well as online bookings for travel and services via mobile devices could put users' information at risk.
"Although it is considered safe in many cases, we should also be discerning and learn to screen those out where our bank account information could be easily stolen," he told China Daily.
Yang's call for action coincides with evidence that the smart technology sector is continuing to grow exponentially in China.
CNNIC has calculated that the country had over 500m mobile internet users by the end of last year while Gartner, the technology research firm, has forecast that a further 400m smartphones will sold in the country this year with penetration rates reaching up to 95% of the population.
Data sourced from China Daily; additional content by Warc staff