The municipal government of Beijing has got the Cabinet clearance to allow foreign entities to invest and own Virtual Private Network (VPN) services in the country, South China Morning Post reported.
As per the new policy, foreign investors can only own up to 50% of VPN businesses based in China. The move will allow China to maintain governmental control over local products while offering a substantial incentive for investment.
In addition to VPNs, the policy modification includes changes to investment limitations on information services like app stores, internet connection services, and more.
But There’s a Catch
The move may surprise you since China has been fighting VPNs for years. Such products allowed internet users to bypass the “Great Firewall” and hence, government censorship.
But there’s a catch. China is still pressurizing foreign firms to comply with internet censorship requirements. Hence, they have to maintain local servers, provide access to local authorities, and block and report users who appear to be using censorship bypassing tools.
It’s unclear what changes the new policy will bring about in China’s stance on censorship. At first glance, it seems counterintuitive.