Privacy laws in China take on a nuance that often conflicts with the Western world’s perspective of privacy. In some respects, this is good but, in some respects, one can say there is no privacy when it comes to the government. The free flow of cross-border information in a frictionless medium is a measure of the true tempo of commerce and is a defining feature of today’s information technology age.
In this medium, highly sensitive and proprietary foreign enterprise information such as technical details and drawings, customer data, employee files, financial records, and other proprietary and sensitive information can be “zapped” anywhere across the world unimpeded, but for the “Great Firewall of China.” Encryption aside, certain data will be subject to monitoring, and certain information and keyword sensitivities will be subject to some level of scrutiny – not to mention the object of interest to prying eyes and hackers throughout the world. At IPO Pang, we recognize the opportunities that result from the easy transfer of data, but also recognize the risks it creates and the need for protection and extreme confidentiality and privacy.
The potential for the misuse of sensitive proprietary foreign enterprise data, or worse, the personal information of employees, customers and related third parties is the subject of much debate in China, and one that legislation alone will not solve in the near term. However, strategic internal policies and procedures aimed at preventing misuse and abuse – a form of “self-help” – can often perform more effectively than any legislation or enforcement agency can.
At IPO Pang, we understand privacy, secrecy and bureaucracy and know how to leverage policies and procedures to assist the foreign enterprise with a pragmatic approach to privacy and secrecy. We do so with the clear understanding of the Western perspective of privacy versus the Chinese perspective on privacy, and how to mediate between the two to reach a standard of practice that both complies with both Chinese laws and yet, enables the foreign enterprise to maintain its competitive edge by keeping its most confidential data confidential. By knowing how to maneuver through the Chinese landscape, we help the foreign enterprise avoid false steps and the risk of running afoul of privacy and data protection standards, while still preventing the immeasurable damage of lost consumer trust and confidence should an accidental disclosure be made.
Foreign enterprises should not allow their concerns about data protection to prevent them from establishing operations in China. With our guidance, we can provide a level of internal structure that will maximize the foreign enterprise’s confidentiality and competitive advantage.