Data trading expected to play bigger role

Data trading should play a bigger role so that data, an important production resource, can be better integrated into different economic sectors to nurture new growth engines and facilitate high-quality economic

development, according to industry experts attending the annual conference of the Shanghai Data Exchange.

The annual meeting, held on Sunday, was part of the Global Data Ecosystem Conference, which marked its third consecutive edition this year.

Liu Liehong, head of the National Data Administration, said at the opening ceremony on Saturday of the two-day Global Data Ecosystem Conference that, in light of the multiplier effect of data, China's advantage in data resources can be transformed into competitiveness in economic growth.

Therefore, an action plan will be rolled out to advance the integration of data in the key sectors of smart manufacturing, trade circulation, transportation and logistics, financial services and healthcare, in order to nurture new industries, novel business models and new services and ways of governance, Liu said.

Wang Chenhui, managing partner and president of market consultancy Frost & Sullivan Greater China, said that data trading can significantly improve production efficiency and facilitate the development of the real economy, as digitalization is a major trend.

Data trading in China will increasingly migrate to exchanges, allowing companies to better explore the value of data in a safe and regulated manner, and even transforming data into assets. Exchange trading will account for more than 20 percent of all data trading by 2030, Wang said.

According to a report released during the annual meeting, the annual value of China's data trading was about 87.7 billion yuan ($12.3 billion) in 2022. The value is expected to reach 204.6 billion yuan in 2025 and further increase to 515.6 billion yuan in 2030.

The finance, telecommunication, manufacturing, healthcare and transportation industries have shown an increasing demand for trading data products, according to the report.

Shan Dongming, head of the informatization promotion department of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization, said that similar to financing generated from stock exchanges, which usually accounts for no more than 5 percent of the total financing of the entire market, data transacted at data exchanges only accounts for a small portion of total data transactions. But the transactions made at the data exchanges feature high-quality companies, good products and optimized trading rules, Shan added.

It is data exchanges' responsibility to set up industry benchmarks and consensus on trading rules, Shan said.

Jiang Xiaojuan, president of the China Society of Industrial Economics, said that data product trading at the exchanges is institutional innovation, as it enables assessment of data value, the use of public data and the building of data chains and data security systems.

Up to 48 data exchanges had been built across the country till the end of October, Jiang said.

The Shanghai Data Exchange, which was founded in 2021, is among them. The exchange saw its monthly trading value exceed 100 million yuan in October, and the annual amount is expected to surpass 1 billion yuan, according to the exchange's management team. Up to 2,000 data products are now trading at the exchange.

On Sunday, the exchange announced its 2024 data market prosperity plan, setting up a special incentive of more than 100 million yuan. One major purpose of the incentive is to further encourage data product trading.

However, Jiang said the prospect of over-the-counter data trading should not be overlooked, as all smart transformation requires data. Some companies will directly purchase digitalization solutions or database services from suppliers, which is over-the-counter trading.

Therefore, a balance should be struck between exchange trading and over-the-counter trading to further complete and regulate data circulation rules, she said.