China’s Information Technology Services Industry: Regulation or De-Regulation?

Paper Delivered to the Hong Kong International Computer Conference, Guangzhou 5-7th September 1994, by John Ure

Information technology is only the hardware and software supporting a variety of uses. Stand-alone PCs  provide the first important step in the use of applications, but the second step, and the vital one for the information technology services industry, is the spread of networking. It is at this point that the largely unregulated information technology industry meets the highly regulated telecommunications industry. Experience from other countries shows that a  policy contradiction arises at this point, often reflected in the fine distinctions of language, for example, the distinction between ‘basic’ and ‘value-added’ services, and between value-added network services (VANs) and valued-added services (VASs). These policy issues need to be resolved if a rapid evolution of networking and the network services industry is to be successful, and success is a vital part of China’s drive towards economic and industrial modernization. These questions are gaining even greater importance as trade-in-services issues, such as open markets, intellectual property rights, standards and approvals, become critical in international trade negotiations. The paper will conclude by reviewing some of the different approaches being adopted in Asia.



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