Data Privacy in Asia – an opportunity for competitive differentiation

Are you doing business in Asia? Is so, the Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CPBR) could offer a good differentiator for your business. The APEC economic zone (which happens to include countries from North America) is increasing adoption of CPBR – which codifies a framework of principles for how to protect consumer and citizen data that is moving across borders. While the EU has been getting the lion’s share of attention with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Privacy Shield, the APEC rules are gaining importance as a way to increase confidence in companies that subscribe to it.

Unlike the EU Privacy Shield which allows self-certification, the APEC CBPR requires certification by a third party “accountability agent”, and those agents are managed by a multi-country oversight panel to keep them honest and promote fairness. The US leader in this space is TRUSTe, a reliable resource for promoting digital trust. Another unique CBPR feature is that member countries can bring their own definition of what’s acceptable in their country, rather than imposing a uniform standard across all members that might not work as well.

While privacy laws in Asia are closer to the US model (sectoral), and not as comprehensive as those in the EU (considered a human right), people everywhere still have concerns about guarding their personal data. The CPBR is intended to increase trust, streamline privacy compliance, and impartially increase economic opportunity across APEC countries – many of whom are still developing.

US companies who have already met the certification standard are generally in the IT sector, but any US company doing APEC business can apply. There is plenty of information available at If you need help navigating the process, please reach out.

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