Data Retention Policy

Updated date: May 15, 2024


Data Retention Policy (hereinafter referred to as “this Policy”) is applicable to the processing of personal information by AHK Greater China, i.e., the three Delegations of German Industry and Commerce in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou (hereinafter referred to as “Delegation”), China German Chamber of Commerce (hereinafter referred to as “GCC”) and German Industry and Commerce (Taicang) Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “GIC”) and its branches. The purpose of this Policy is to provide AHK Greater China and its employees instructions on whether and when records of personal information should be retained or destroyed. This Policy aims at AHK Greater China complying with legal requirements set out in relevant Europe Union law, People’s Republic of China law, and the AHK Greater China Privacy Policy.

This Policy will come into effect as from May 15, 2024. AHK Greater China reserves the right to revise, amend or adjust this Policy at any time.

1. Principles

(1). In the course of carrying out its business, AHK Greater China accumulates a variety of personal information. AHK Greater China strives to ensure that only relevant and required records of personal information are kept, and that such information is kept only for the required period of time. Where possible, the need to retain records or personal information is backed-up with evidence as to explain why the data should be retained for a specific period of time.

(2). In certain circumstances, it may be necessary to retain records in order to comply with legal requirements, for evidentiary purposes or to meet operational needs. Premature destruction of records of personal information could result in a failure to comply with applicable regulations, inability to defend litigious claims or operational difficulties or disadvantages.

Equally, in certain circumstance it may be necessary to destroy records containing personal information in order to comply with legal requirements, such as rules on the protection of personal information. Furthermore, eternal retention of all records containing personal information is impractical and appropriate destruction is encouraged because it helps AHK Greater China to maintain sufficient electronic and office storage space to facilitate a more efficient and sustainable working environment.

Therefore, AHK Greater China will follow the logic of “need to know” instead of “nice to know” when assessing whether to retain records of personal information.

(3). When defining the data retention period, AHK Greater China keeps in mind that records of personal information should be up-to-date and accurate during this period of time.

2. Applicability

(1). This Policy applies to all employees, interns, labor dispatch staff of AHK Greater China. Therefore, all employees, interns, labor dispatch staff of AHK Greater China must comply with this Policy, including the Data Retention Schedule attached hereto and any litigation hold communications as referred to herein.

(2). This Policy applies to all records of personal information held by AHK Greater China and third parties processing personal information on behalf of AHK Greater China, if and to the extent such information is relevant for AHK Greater China’s business.

3. Retention and Destruction Principles

(1). Records of personal information shall only be retained as long as there is a legitimate business purpose and legitimate basis for doing so. When records of personal information are no longer needed for the purpose for which it was collected, the records of personal information should be disposed. Disposing of records of personal information may be through; (i) secure deletion or destruction; (ii) anonymization or (iii) transferring to an Archive when ceasing the processing of personal information other than storing and taking necessary security protection measures for such personal information, provided that above two approaches are not feasible (unless this is prohibited by law or an applicable records retention schedule).

(2). For the avoidance of doubt, e-mails qualify as records of personal information under this Policy so that the storage and destruction of e-mails (sent from or received by a corporate e-mail account) is covered by this Policy. The same applies to chat sessions (sent from or received by a corporate chat account), provided that such correspondence will in most cases not be required to be maintained under this Policy.

(3). Physical records of personal information should be disposed by using the paper shredder located in the offices of AHK Greater China or disposed by the records shredding vendor entrusted by AHK Greater China. The destruction of electronic documents must be coordinated with IT department, also to ensure that any back-ups are also deleted. For the systems that not maintained by IT department, the destruction of electronic documents must be handled by relevant business departments.

(4). Material destruction of personal information, e.g., massive destruction, should be communicated to Data Protection Officer. Records of destruction should be maintained, and should detail the data disposed of, former location of the data, the date, the person who authorized the destruction of the data, the person who implemented the destruction and approach of destruction.

4. Litigation Hold

(1). In some particular events an exception applies to the destruction principles of this Policy, e.g., in case of a current or potential litigation or investigation. This exception is referred to as litigation hold or legal hold and replaces any applicable destruction schedule for those records of personal information. To announce a litigation/legal hold, is subject to the decision of Internal Legal. In this case, you must preserve and not delete, dispose, destroy or change that data, until you have been informed that the records of personal information are no longer needed.

(2). In addition, you may be asked in exceptional circumstances to suspend any records of personal information destruction procedures in connection with certain other types of events, such as the replacement of information technology systems.

5. Liability

Any violation of this Policy may result in appropriate measures taken in accordance with applicable laws and company policies, including termination of labor relationship.

6. Contact

For any questions and suggestions about this Policy, please contact Data Protection Officer. 

Please click here to download the old version of AHK Greater China Data Retention Policy.