September 01, 2017

Global Litigator: Asia’s Data Transfer Landscape—As Diverse as Its Cultures

Vasu B. Muthyala and Jason J. Kang

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In recent years, multinational corporations (MNCs) have increasingly faced government investigations stemming from their Asian operations, including investigations relating to corruption, money laundering, and sanctions. In 2016, the Asia-Pacific region accounted for almost one-third of the total fines and penalties the U.S. Department of Justice assessed in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions. At the same time, many Asian jurisdictions have established and are enforcing data protection regimes governing the transfer of data outside their jurisdiction. Running afoul of these rules can have serious consequences. As a result, MNCs routinely must navigate local data protection laws in attempts to comply with U.S. requests for information. Similar to the cultural, linguistic, and historical differences between Asian countries are their approaches to data protection. Here we provide an overview of the data protection regimes in four busy jurisdictions in Asia: China, South Korea, Hong Kong, and India.

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