China proposes restrictions on text/SMS messaging


China has started proposing stricter regulations aimed at wiping out spam messages sent as text/Short Message Service (SMS) messages through to fixed telephone lines and mobile phones.

Spam is a real problem across all telecommunication platforms in China. In just the first half of last year, there were an estimated 200 billion unwanted messages sent to mobile phones in mainland China according to a report by South China Morning Post. 66% of spam messages are advertising, 7% are illegal and 5% are fraudulent, according Chinese mobile-phone security company, Qihoo 360.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s draft Administrative Provisions on Short Message Services (the “Draft Regulations”) indicates that all SMS operators must have a telecommunications licence and must not send commercial SMS messages without consent of or request by the recipient of a message. Where a recipient has consented to receiving SMS messages, but later clearly refuses to receive more, operators must cease sending messages to that individual.

Under the Draft Regulations, any individual or organisation found to have sent commercial SMS messages without the recipient’s consent would face a penalty of up to 30,000 Chinese Yuan (€3,931). SMS providers must also introduce a complaint-handling mechanism, publish message services details and accept complaints relating to spam SMS messaging.