China PIPL Requirements: A Comprehensive Guide

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china pipl requirements

China’s PIPL requirements are crucial for businesses working in China or with people in China.

This guide will talk about China’s rules for keeping personal information safe. We’ll look at things like how data is used, stored, and shared, who is responsible for data protection, the rights of data subjects, penalties for non-compliance, and more.

Let’s learn about these rules to ensure your business is compliant with the PIPL requirements.

Key Takeaways

  • The Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) sets strict rules for how businesses in and outside of China handle the personal data of people in China, emphasizing consent and the protection of Chinese citizens’ rights.
  • Beyond obtaining valid consent, businesses must conduct PIPIAs, manage international data transfers, and handle data records properly, while staying informed and prepared for possible breaches.
  • Failing to adhere to PIPL can result in hefty fines, disrupted operations, and a damaged reputation, with the potential for legal actions from individuals affected by a privacy violation.

Understanding What China PIPL is

The Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) is a big rule set by the Chinese government. It’s all about keeping personal information safe. Just like other places in the world, China wants to make sure that businesses treat people’s data properly.

With so many businesses using digital tools, there’s a lot of personal information going around. The Chinese government wanted to make sure that all this data was handled right. They wanted to keep Chinese residents and Chinese citizens safe. So, they made this rule to guide businesses in the right way.

PIPL tells businesses how they should use, keep, and share personal data. It’s a bit like the rules other countries have about data protection. So, if a business wants to use a person’s data, they have to ask first and get a “yes” answer. This “yes” is called consent.

Who Has to Follow China PIPL?

China’s PIPL isn’t just a rule for some ‒ it’s a rule for many! If you’re in the business world, you’ll need to know if this rule is for you. Let’s break down who needs to follow China PIPL:

  • Businesses in China: If a business is set up in mainland China, it has to follow PIPL. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is.
  • Businesses that Handle Chinese Resident’s Data: Even if a business isn’t in China but deals with the personal information of Chinese residents, it still has to follow the rules. For example, if a business from another country sells stuff online to people in China, it must follow PIPL.
  • Data processors: These are businesses or people that handle data for others. They might not own the data, but if they are processing personal information of Chinese residents, they must follow PIPL.

Whether a business is in China, works with Chinese people, or handles their personal data, it should keep PIPL in mind. It’s China’s way to make sure data protection is taken seriously!

Rights of Chinese Citizens Under PIPL

The Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) is a big step by China to make sure people’s data is kept safe. This law has special parts that talk about the rights of the people whose data is being used. These people are called ‘data subjects.’

Let’s take a closer look at the rights data subjects have under this new law:

Right to be Informed

The PIPL says that businesses handling a data subject’s personal information should tell them certain things before they start. This includes:

  • Who they are and how to get in touch with them.
  • Why and how they’re going to use your data.
  • What type of data will they be using, and how long they keep it?
  • How you can use your rights.

If you change any of this info, you will have to tell the data subjects. The PIPL also gives people the right to receive clear, concise, and transparent information about how their data is used. This means businesses must provide clear language when they are collecting or using personal data from someone.

Right to Decide, Limit, and Say No

Data subjects should have the option to choose if they’re okay with how they want to use their data. They can also set limits or even say no to some parts of it. However, lawmakers need more details regarding this right.

Right to See and Get a Copy

Data subjects are able to ask your business to see what info has been gathered on them and receive copies when necessary (unless otherwise stated by law).

Right to Fix and Add More

Data subjects have the right to request information be modified or added if it is found incorrect or incomplete. You should strive to complete these requests quickly.

Right to Delete

Data subjects can request for their data to be erased in certain scenarios, such as when:

  • You are no longer using their data
  • The period of service has ended or was terminated
  • The data subject withdraws their consent
  • You have breached your agreement with regard to using said information

Right to Move Your Data

Data subjects can ask for their info to be sent from one place or person handling it. This is also called the right to data portability. The transfer to the new handler must satisfy conditions outlined by relevant compliance laws.

Rights of People Who Have Passed Away

If someone has passed away, their close family can use some of these rights. They can see the data, get a copy, fix it, or ask for it to be deleted. But this is only if the person who passed away didn’t already say something different.

China PIPL Requirements

The Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) is more than just a list of rights for Chinese citizens. It’s a roadmap for businesses on how to treat personal data rights. If your business operates in or deals with China, these requirements aren’t optional. They’re a must.

Let’s break down the key steps your business should take to make sure it’s on the right track.

Before you start using someone’s data, make sure you’ve got their “okay”. This “okay” or consent should be:

  • Clear: No sneaky language. Keep it simple.
  • Informed: Tell them what you’re going to do and how you’ll do it.
  • Voluntary: Don’t force or trick them into saying yes.

For minors under 14, you’ll need their guardian’s thumbs-up too.

International Data Transfer Rules

If you’re moving data out of China, there are data transfer rules. Know them. Usually, you’ll need to make sure the place you’re sending data to treats it just as safely as China would.

If there is a large amount of data or sensitive data being transferred, there are special rules you must follow.

Conduct PIPIA When Necessary

Think of PIPIA as a health check for data. Before big projects, do a Personal Information Protection Impact Assessment. It helps spot risks before they become problems.

Follow PIPL’s Localization Requirements

PIPL is clear – your business must build and maintain localized data systems in China if there is personal information processed by state agencies, contains information of critical infrastructure operators, or if your business processes a large amount of data as outlined by Article 40.

Handle Data Records Right

Keep records of how you use data. Think of it as a diary of what you did and when. If the authorities ask, you’ll need to show them.

Breach Notification Procedure

Accidents happen. If data gets out or is lost, have a plan. Know who to tell, what to say, and how to fix it. And do it fast.

If the breach doesn’t cause any harm, you don’t need to alert the individuals, but you must alert the authorities within 8 hours in all cases.

Manage DSARs

DSARs or Data Subject Access Requests are when people exercise their data subject rights. Have a system to take care of these. Answer quickly. And be clear.

Appoint a DPO and China Representative

A Data Protection Officer (DPO) is your data expert. They help you follow the rules. And if you’re not based in China but do business there, get a local representative. They’ll be your bridge to Chinese authorities.

China PIPL Best Practices

Understanding and adapting to the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) in China within a compliance framework can sometimes seem like navigating through a dense forest.

However, by embracing a few best practices, businesses can pave a clear path and ensure they’re not just compliant but also building trust with their clients and stakeholders.

Conduct Data Mapping & Classification

Begin by understanding the landscape of the data you handle. Data mapping is the act of creating a visual representation of where and how data flows in your business.

As you map, classify the data based on its sensitivity and importance. This foundational step ensures you know what data you have, where it is, and how it should be treated.

Regularly Update Data Privacy Notices

Privacy policies and banners are the backbone of transparency in data protection. They act as the bridge of trust between businesses and their clients. To ensure clarity and continued trust, it’s vital to keep these notices current and reflective of your actual data practices.

Train Your Employees

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to corporate compliance and data protection. Equip your employees with the knowledge they need about PIPL through effective compliance training.

Regular training ensures that everyone in your business understands their role in protecting data, the nuances of Data Subject Rights, and the importance of adhering to PIPL principles.

Consult with Captain Compliance

While it’s important for every business to have a basic grasp of PIPL, some might choose to outsource compliance, consulting with a compliance experts like Captain Compliance to provide deeper insights.****

Our experts, from Captain Compliance, have an in-depth understanding of the PIPL’s intricacies.

We can offer tailored advice through our data protection compliance services, ensuring that your business doesn’t just meet the minimum requirements but excels in its data protection practices.

Penalties for PIPL Non-Compliance

For businesses operating in China, adhering to the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) isn’t just a good practice ‒ it’s a must. Slipping up and not following the PIPL can lead to severe consequences. This isn’t just about fines; the damages can extend beyond financial loss, affecting a business’s reputation and future operations.

A business found breaking the rules could face fines up to RMB 1,000,000 ($140,000 or €130,000). This is no small slap on the wrist. It’s a financial blow that can seriously hurt a business’s bottom line.

On top of this, the business might also be required to halt its operations until it addresses the areas of non-compliance. This halt can be a disruption, causing financial strain and lost opportunities. But it’s not just about money. Businesses found to be non-compliant can also suffer damage to their reputation.

A publicized PIPL violation can also erode trust, making it hard for a business to win back clients and partners.

Moreover, there’s the risk of legal action. Apart from the government’s penalties, individuals who feel their rights were violated due to a business’s non-compliance with PIPL might decide to sue. Legal battles can be lengthy and costly and further tarnish a business’s image.


Navigating China’s PIPL and crafting a robust compliance plan can be daunting for businesses. Protecting personal data is about building trust with consumers and valuing their privacy. Unsure about your next step?

Captain Compliance is here to offer data compliance solutions and simplify complex PIPL compliance concepts for you. With our comprehensive compliance solutions and compliance services, we help ensure your business aligns with China’s regulations, building a bridge of trust with your consumers. Dive into PIPL with confidence. Reach out to us today!


What is China’s Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL)?

The PIPL, or Personal Information Protection Law, is China’s answer to data protection. It sets guidelines for how businesses in and outside of China should handle and protect personal data, emphasizing obtaining consent and ensuring Chinese citizens’ rights are respected.

Want to delve deeper? Let us help you!

Who needs to comply with PIPL?

PIPL is not just for businesses operating within China. If a business handles the personal data of Chinese residents, regardless of where it is based, it needs to comply. This includes online platforms, data processors, and even international businesses selling to Chinese residents.

Is your business affected by PIPL? Reach out to us!

How frequently should businesses conduct PIPIAs under PIPL?

A Personal Information Protection Impact Assessment (PIPIA) should ideally be conducted before launching major projects that involve the collection or processing of personal data. This helps identify potential risks early on.

However, regularly reviewing and updating these assessments, especially in the context of changing operations or regulations, is crucial.

For a deeper dive into best practices, Check out our services!

What data does PIPL specifically aim to protect?

PIPL is designed to protect personal information, which refers to information related to identified or identifiable individuals. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, date of birth, biometric data, online identifiers, and more. It’s a broad scope, similar to other global data protection laws.

For an extensive guide on data protection, click here.

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