One of the necessary adjustments brought on by COVID-19 is that remote online work is becoming more and more popular with more and more companies. Combine this with the 2019 Electronic Signature Law of the PRC, which states that reliable electronic signatures, including electronic chops, have the same legal effect as physical signatures, and we have seen an acceleration in what we view as an inevitable trend: the move towards electronic chops as a quasi-replacement of the iconic physical red stamps widely used in China.
What is an electronic chop?
The term “electronic chop” refers to the data included or attached to an electronic message for the use of confirming the identity of the signatory and showing that the signatory has recognized and approved of the contents therein. Basically, an electronic chop is not a visualization of a physical chop, but a string of electronic data keys issued by a certification agency that identifies the person “chopping” the documents.
What kind of electronic chop is “reliable”?
An electronic chop shall be regarded as a reliable electronic signature when:
1.The electronic chop data is owned and controlled exclusively by the electronic signatory at the time of signing;
2.Any potential alterations to the electronic chop and any relevant data after signing are detectable.
When can we use electronic chops?
The parties may stipulate to the use of electronic chops in a contract or other documents in virtually any civil activity. This includes, for example, signing online transaction agreements, approvals for reimbursements, execution of contracts between a company and its subsidiaries, etc. However, electronic chops are not applicable to the following types of documents:
1.Documents concerning personal relations such as marriage, adoption, and succession;
2.Documents related to public utility services such as stopping water supply, heat supply, and gas supply;
3.Other documents as prescribed by law and administrative regulations.
The use of electronic chops has a bright future. If you have any question regarding electronic chops, feel free to contact us.
Responsible Person: Wang Zi