On October 15, the local governments of China’s four northeastern provinces are banding together in a cooperative agreement for the co-construction of a regional social credit system framework.
Under the agreement, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia will (The Paper):
- Mutually build a “Credit Dongbei” (Credit Northeast) brand
- Establish “relatively consistent” regulations, credit evaluation systems and credit rating mechanisms
- Mutually recognize each other’s social credit standards
- Create their a distinct credit data sharing platform for the region
- Focus on building a regional credit service market based around this platform
This isn’t the first example of social credit cooperations formed at the local level. At the beginning of August, the central cities of Nanjing, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Suzhou and Zhengzhou signed a similar agreement to recognize the city-based personal social credit scores issued by cooperating cities. In other words, individuals with high social credit scores in one city can take advantage of the incentives offered to citizens with high scores in another city.
Because the national government has left it up to individual cities and provinces to create their own localized social credit scoring mechanisms based on the national credit database, social credit scores differ widely from area to area. But officials are now looking to close the gaps in this decentralized approach (The Paper):
Tang Xianfei, deputy director of Liaoning development and Reform Commission, said that the purpose of building a [regional] credit system is to form a unified credit environment of information sharing and rating recognition.
The outstanding question here is whether or not these agreements signal the beginning of a nationalized interconnectivity between city scoring systems as regional cooperatives gradually coalesce into a country-wide cooperative.