Are electronic signatures legal in China?

Yes! Since the PRC electronic signature law, enacted in 2004, e signatures have been recognized as legal, provided that they adhere to certain criteria.
Chinese courts must be able to verify the following in order for electronic signatures to hold legal validity:

  • Data from the signature is used for the e signature and owned exclusively by the signatory
  • Data made by the e signature is controlled only by the electronic signatory at the time of signing
  • Any alteration to either the signature and/or corresponding data after signing, can be identified
Are there any restrictions for the use of electronic signatures in China?

Although the use of electronic signatures is widespread throughout China, it is important to bear in mind the restrictions that apply. For example:
The documentation of personal relations such as marriage, adoption and succession

  • Documents related to real estate such as the transfer of land and houses
  • Documents related to the termination of public utility services such as water, heat, gas and power supply
  • Other circumstances where electronic documentation is not applicable, as provided for by relevant laws and administrative regulations
Disclaimer: We suggest you contact a local attorney for more information as laws are subject to change and this is not legal advice. The information on this page should be used as a guideline only.