Asia Business Channel

EIU study: Asian firms are better prepared than European’s to comply with data-privacy regulations

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has just released a new report, “ The transparent business barometer: Preparing for the end of easy data” which finds that the collection and use of personal data for commercial purposes are on the rise, but concerns over privacy and cyber-security breaches are causing concern among consumers, companies and regulators alike.

The report was written by EIU reporters and staff and was sponsored by Ant Financial and attempts to assess the preparedness of companies to face an increasingly privacy-conscious world. The reports conclusions are based upon a survey of 250 executives who live and work in China, Europe, Southeast Asia and the United States.

Some of the reports findings:

• Nearly 100% of respondents agree that data privacy is important to their organization

• Companies in China and Southeast Asia are more confident than companies in Europe in their ability to deal with potentially stricter rules around data acquisition and usage

o A surprising finding considering European companies have had many years to become educated on and deal with issues related to the EU's General Data Protection Regulations

• Companies and organizations realize the importance of data privacy today and 54% of the survey respondents said that it will be even more important in the future

• Companies in China and Southeast Asia are more likely to tie data-privacy practices to good corporate governance than those in the West. 88% of the executives surveyed across all regions and 98% of Chinese executives surveyed, believe that perceptions of good corporate governance are related to the perceived importance that a company places on data-privacy

• Companies generally, and more so Chinese companies, believe people are willing to trade data privacy for improved services and that the release of data by consumers to companies is a natural part of a digitally based society

Companies worldwide are now contemplating whether stricter data laws may be enacted in the countries that they operate in. The EIU survey asked the respondents whether, using the EU General Data Protection Regulations as a “base”, to rank whether their companies were prepared to manage the regulations, which cover their ability to acquire, manage and use data.

On a one-to-ten scale, American’s were the most optimistic about their ability to evolve and face new regulations; China and Southeast Asian’s executives were moderately optimistic about their ability to face new regulations; and Europeans were the least confident.

Although European companies said they were somewhat confident, they are willing to take change their business models or take other actions that would reduce their reliance on consumer data and database marketing if regulations would be too complex or cumbersome.
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