The impact of EU’s GDPR in China

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    During the roundtable sessions of CBLJ Forum 2019, Shen Xiao-yu, a partner at East & Concord Partners, moderated a panel discussion on “The impact of GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] on the business model of China’s internet companies and its future trends”. The other panelists included Anna Xue, IP director at the Legal Department of Perfect World, Helen Gu, general counsel at Sina Corporation, Michael Chen, founder and CEO of BIPO, and Xu Chen, dean of the Department of Public Economics, University of International Business and Economics.

    Shen pointed out in her keynote speech that data controllers were obliged by the GDPR to disclose to data subjects in a concise, transparent and comprehensible manner. In her opinion, the laws and regulations relating to the protection of personal information in China are quite scattered. However, she believed that the relevant legislation would be more systematic in the future.

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    From left: Anna Xue, Xu Chen, Shen Xiaoyu and Michael Chen

    Gu shared her view from the perspective of an in-house counsel, indicating that the high cost to achieve GDPR compliance would make some enterprises cut their overseas business. She pointed out that compliance in the area of advertising and marketing was critical for a news and social media business like Sina. In addition, she said relevant supervision in China differed from that of overseas, as Chinese laws and regulations relating to data protection were scattered in different legal hierarchies, and there were more law enforcement departments in China.

    “When I noticed that more and more staff handling overseas business started to consult their colleagues at the legal affairs department, I realized that they actually went there for the GDPR,” said Xue.

    Xue held that an economical way to achieve data and privacy compliance in multiple jurisdictions would be to design a set of privacy policies with the GDPR benchmark as the template, and make additions or deletions depending on the requirements in that jurisdiction. In the meantime, she said that corporate counsel should familiarize themselves with the supervision by country of destination, thus securing more room for business-related departments to conduct operations.

    Michael Chen is the CEO of BIPO, a company delivering HR services. He shared his experience in processing the information of employees. He said that when they were dealing with the information submitted by eligible interviewees for the application of employment permits, they would send an authorization request to those who had submitted special information, such as religion, and arrange special holidays for them accordingly.

    The media coverage on the roundtable conference is organized based on shorthand transcripts. Any remarks by the guest speakers and scholars represent their own opinions, and not the opinions of the organizations to which they belong. Read the full report of the CBLJ Forum 2019 here.