MI6 chief Richard Moore has warned of China's "debt traps and data traps" in his first live broadcast interview, BBC reported.
Mr Moore -- known as "C" -- told BBC Radio 4's Today programme these traps threatened to erode sovereignty and have prompted defensive measures.
In a wide-ranging interview before he gave his first major public speech since taking on the role as head of MI6, Moore warned that China has the capability to "harvest data from around the world" and uses money to "get people on the hook".
Speaking about the threat posed by China, Moore described its use of "debt traps and data traps".
He said Beijing is "trying to use influence through its economic policies to try and sometimes, I think, get people on the hook", BBC reported.
Explaining the "data trap", he said: "If you allow another country to gain access to really critical data about your society, over time that will erode your sovereignty, you no longer have control over that data," the report said.
"That's something which, I think, in the UK we are very alive to and we've taken measures to defend against."
Speaking later at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, Mr Moore said China was now "the single greatest priority" for his agency and warned that a "miscalculation" by an over-confident regime in Beijing over an issue like Taiwan could pose a "serious challenge" to global peace.
He also said it was essential for the Western countries to stand up to the "full spectrum" of threats from Moscow -- from state-sanctioned attacks, such as the Salisbury poisoning, to using political proxies to undermine stability in the Balkans.