News: China’s top companies to have Chief Trust Officers


China’s top companies to have Chief Trust Officers

The increasing importance placed on corporate trustworthiness reflects the growth of China’s ICT sector, and also a long tradition of relying upon trust in business dealings.
China’s top companies to have Chief Trust Officers

By 2023, as many as 150 of China's top enterprises will have a Chief Trust Officer, according to a prediction by International Data Corporation China’s Chief Research Analyst Wu Lianfeng. Speaking at IDC’s Futurescapes 2020 forum in Beijing on Tuesday, he said that in a highly digitized society, establishing trust is extremely important, and any failure of trust would constitute a significant crisis.

Trust has long been a mainstay of doing business in China, with the term guanxi--social connections, based upon establishing mutual trust through personal connections and interactions--having entered mainstream usage even in the English-speaking countries. In past decades, when Chinese products were overshadowed by a sorry reputation for shoddy quality, trust has also been a bugbear for companies and officials eager to restore customers’ faith in the competence of the China brand.

Hence, it is unsurprising that in China’s digital age, top enterprises are rushing to formalize the importance that trust holds in their business model. This is doubled by the immense size of China’s ICT sector. Estimates put the sector’s value at some RMB2.86 trillion (US$406 billion, and it is projected to grow to RMB8.1 trillion (US$1.15 trillion) by 2021 despite challenges such as surging labor costs and the Sino-US trade war.

The role of Chief Trust Officer is a new addition to the C-suite, having come into play just this decade with the increasing digitalization of business. The CTO’s original function was to ensure data privacy for customers and business partners, that being one of the major trends in trust and privacy. It is generally associated more with cybersecurity, but is now expanding to cover all aspects of trust between a business and its partners, whether suppliers, clients, corporate customers, or individual consumers.

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Topics: C-Suite

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