Chinese security authority launches investigation into CNKI

CNKI investigation
FILE PHOTO: The Chinese national flag is seen in Beijing, China April 29, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

HONG KONG (Reuters) -China’s internet security authority has launched an investigation into the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), about a month after the market regulator targeted the online academic database with an antitrust probe.

China Cyberspace Administration said on its website the probe was aimed at “preempting security risks of national data, protecting national security and safeguarding public interest” and said it had summoned management for a meeting.

A second investigation centred on CNKI in just over a month makes the database one of the highest-profile targets by regulators this year while Beijing starts to wind down its sweeping regulatory crackdown on most other internet platforms.

On May 13, China’s market regulator, the State Administration for Market Regulation launched an antitrust investigation into CNKI.

CNKI came under scrutiny in April after local media reported China’s top research group, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said it would suspend its use of CNKI, citing high subscription fees.

CNKI’s parent company is Tsinghua Tongfang, a state-owned software company linked to China’s elite Tsinghua University.

CNKI said on its website that at the end of 2017 it had the world’s largest readership for academic research, with more than 20 million individual users and an average daily retrieval volume of over 10 million.

(Reporting by Josh Ye; Editing by Edmund Blair and Susan Fenton)

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