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China releases strictest ever real-name registration for mobile users

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) introduced what some have called “the strictest ever real-name registration for mobile users” on Monday. These measures aim to have 95% of all mobile phone users in China registered with a real name within 2016, and 100% before July of 2017.

It required telecommunication companies to notify users who haven’t registered a real name with their SIM cards, and likewise notify those whose registered information is incomplete. These people must then complete the real-name registration process within a warning period or their numbers would be suspended or deactivated.

The MIIT proposed the idea of mobile phone real-name registration in 2010. In December 2012, the state published bylaws to carry out the idea. In September 2013, real name registration was officially put into effect.

Officials claimed that real-name registration will help to crack down on telecom fraud, a phenomenon which, according to the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, amounted to over 590,000 cases nationwide in 2015 at a total cost to victims of RMB 22.2 billion.

In April, the MIIT asked mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to complete the process of real-name registration of users with insufficient or false information within a month. E-commerce platform JD.com, retailer Suning Commerce Group, and smartphone maker Xiaomi all have MVNOs.

Although 40 million people have redone their registration since last year, and China now has 92% of all phone users covered by real-name registration, 100 million are yet to complete the process, according to the MIIT.

(Top photo from Baidu Images)

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