Data Protection in Hong Kong Part 1:

Data Protection in the International Market

 Hong Kong is one of the busiest port cities in world and is a significant financial centre, which means that it handles personal information for people all over the world. It is therefore very important for companies within Hong Kong to comply with the data protection laws in the countries where these people are from, otherwise they could not only face massive fines but also find themselves unable to do business with these countries.

In terms of requirements and restrictions, Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one of the strictest. The key points of GDPR that will affect organisations based in Hong Kong are:

  • Organisations based outside the EU will need to designate a representative within an EU country. 
  • Transfer of data to countries outside the EU is prohibited unless certain conditions are met.
  • People have the right to know and access the data you hold on them.
  • People have the right to have their data updated, deleted and moved.
  • Organisations must take appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect the data that they hold.
  • Any suppliers that a company uses that has access to personal data must be governed by legally binding agreements on how they should process and protect that data.

Two of the largest trading partners of Hong Kong are Japan and South Korea, so many businesses in Hong Kong will need to comply with Japan’s Act on Protection of Personal Information (APPI) and South Korea’s Personal Information Protection Act. These acts are less strict than GDPR but still have a number of requirements and restrictions in place that need to be considered when handling personal data.


Hong Kong based organisations also need to consider their own laws and standards.

The primary legislation being the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO), which requires organisations to adhere to six principles when handling personal data.

….To be continued in Part 2

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