China’s recently adopted Personal Information Protection Law (“PIPL”) is a new weapon in its arsenal to tame big tech companies. As the first comprehensive legislation to protect personal information within China, the PIPL was adopted amidst a broad regulatory assault on Chinese big tech companies by multiple enforcement agencies, including the State Administration for Market Regulation (“SAMR”), which is responsible for enforcing the PRC Anti-Monopoly Law (“AML”). The PIPL’s adoption will have a profound impact on the enforcement of the AML and, in this paper, we explore the interplay between the AML and the PIPL, in particular as it relates to abuses of dominance. We examine the jurisdictional challenges that may arise when anticompetitive conduct involves breaches of the PIPL. In addition, we analyze how the strict criteria for handling personal information under the PIPL may impact SAMR’s ability to address the potential anticompetitive effects of abuses of dominance. As an increasing number of courts and administrative agencies outside of China are dealing with issues at the intersection of competition and data privacy laws, with the adoption of the PIPL, issues involving both the AML and the PIPL will soon also come to the forefront in China.
By Sébastien J. Evrard, Felicia Chen & Hayley Smith
China has (finally) adopted a comprehensive data protection law, the Personal Information Protection Law of the People’s...