For most of the member attendees, it was the first time to Beijing, and to mainland China, and a real opportunity to be invited by Zhong Lun as part of thePrivacyRules delegation. Not only is Beijing a beautifully modern, bustling city of approximately 23 million people – nearly twice the size of New York and roughly equivalent to the population of Australia – the municipality and surrounding areas are home to 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, the Ming Tombs and Zhoukoudian, some of which our members enjoyed seeing together!
Beijing is also a business center, home to more global Fortune 500 companies than any other city, and evident by the audience greeting our members the day of the conference. Our members spoke to a packed room about privacy law in their homecountries while guests asked questions. The Chinese business community, represented by the finance, tech and accounting professionals attending the ZhongLun PrivacyRules event came prepared with well-researched, specific questions about the GDPR and other data protection regulation. For example, one woman from a prominent bank asked about how the GDPR and the ‘right to be forgotten’ squared with the ‘Know Your Customer’ rules and a bank’s right to maintain records for a reasonable time period. Another gentleman from a Canadian bank asked how to address differences between the GDPR and Canadian privacy laws. With more Fortune 500s than any other city, many Beijing-based companies are already multinational and, with the world’s largest digital economy and currently leading AI research and development, Chinese companies hoping to expand internationally will soon need to comply with international data privacy laws.
There is currently no agreement, such as an adequacy decision, between China and the EU regarding privacy. Whatever the reason, it was evident in Beijing on March 29 that many Chinese professionals wanted to hear from our member experts. If you have not seen their speeches, please find them in the PrivacyRules YouTube and Youku Channels.