According to Reuters, Liu Liehong, 54, a veteran of electronics and information technology who now serves as the chairman of China Unicom, will take over the National Data Bureau in the coming days.

China aims to choose Liu Liehong, the CEO of the state-owned telecoms firm China Unicom, as the head of its new national data bureau, giving him control over initiatives to turn the nation into a digital superpower, according to four sources.

Reuters reports that Liu, 54, a seasoned executive in electronics and Information Technology who now serves as chairman of China Unicom, will take over the National Data Bureau soon.

In March, China revealed plans for the data agency as part of a major government restructuring. Its responsibilities will include managing China’s digital economy, sharing and developing the country’s data resources, promoting smart cities, and facilitating the exchange of information resources across industries.

Its establishment is part of President Xi Jinping’s vision of a “digital China,” in which data is controlled alongside labor and capital as a vital economic driver. Additionally, the nation has tightened data security legislation, adding new limitations on things like information exports.

China launched a strategy in February to lead global digital development by 2035.

According to three sources, the bureau would be a vice-ministerial level regulator, putting it on the same level as China’s National Anti-monopoly Bureau, whose rank was increased in 2021 during a strong antitrust crackdown.

According to the three sources, some workers from the NDRC’s Innovation and High-Tech Development Department, which is in charge of China’s big data policy, would be transferred to the new data bureau.

According to one source, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), China’s internet regulator, would also shift some workers to the data bureau.

The State Council Information Office, which handles media inquiries on the government’s behalf, did not react quickly to a faxed request for comment.

The NDRC and CAC did not answer immediately either.

In a response to Reuters, China Unicom’s Hong Kong-listed subsidiary said it would publish an announcement on the city’s stock exchange if the company’s board or management structure changed.

“Whether Mr. Liu Liehong will take up any role in the National Data Bureau shall be subject to the decision of the PRC government,” it added.

Liu, a Sichuan Province native from Chengdu, has approximately three decades of experience in the electronics and IT sectors. In 1990, the rather low-profile technocrat began his career as an engineer at a state-owned research center.

Later, in 2004, he began working for the state-owned China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) and progressed through the ranks to become its president five years later.

Liu was appointed vice chairman of the CAC in 2018. According to local media, he became vice minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology two years later, where he oversaw 5G initiatives.

He was appointed as an alternate member of the ruling Communist Party’s new Central Committee during the party’s twice-decade convention last year.