The Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection
of Consumer Rights and Interests (the
"Law") was amended on 25 October 2013 to
introduce obligations for the protection of consumers' personal
data (the "Amendment"). This is
the first time it has been amended since its entry into force in
The Amendment introduces regulations designed to cover the
increase in online shopping in China and addresses issues relating
to e-commerce fraud and the illegal disclosure of consumers'
personal data. To that end, the Amendment introduces several
obligations for companies that provide goods or services to
consumers within the People's Republic of China. Such business
abide by the principles of lawfulness, fairness and necessity
when collecting and using the personal data of consumers
inform consumers, in explicit form, of the purpose, method,
scope of collection and use of personal data and obtain their
consent to the collection and use
publish its data practices in relation to its collection and
use of consumers' personal data
keep consumers' personal data strictly confidential, and
not disclose, sell or illegally provide this data to others
take necessary measures to ensure security of consumers'
personal data and upon the disclosure or loss of this data, take
immediate remedial measures
not send any commercial information either to consumers without
their consent or request, or to consumers who have expressly
refused to receive this information.
The Amendment itself does not provide further information on how
the principles should be interpreted (e.g., it does not contain a
definition of personal data). How the Amendment will be interpreted
and enforced is therefore subject to further guidance.
Enforcement The Amendment vests the administration and enforcement of the
Law in the State Administration for Industry & Commerce (the
"SAIC") and its local counterparts,
except for areas or sectors where a specific authority has been
designated. The enforcement instruments of the SAIC include issuing
warnings, confiscating illegal earnings and imposing fines. Fines
may be imposed up to RMB 500,000 (approximately EUR 61,100) and in
the case of illegal earnings, up to ten times the amount of the
illegal earnings. A business operator's business licence may be
suspended or even revoked for serious violations.
Entry into force The Amendment enters into force on 15 March 2014, which is
also Consumer Rights Protection Day in the People's Republic of
China. Companies that fall within the scope of the Amendment are
advised to review their data practices and to take any necessary
steps to ensure compliance with the Amendment prior to 15 March
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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With the increase in usage of technology in businesses, the ease of doing business has undoubtedly gone up, but this also presents certain concerns including the protection of personal information and data.
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