For more than 17 years, Charmian Aw has built a track record of representing market-leading global corporations in navigating the increasingly complex, diverse and fast-evolving tech and data legal landscape in the Asia Pacific region.

Charmian has acted in dozens of strategic, high-value technology transactions, including the development and deployment of AI solutions, commercialization of data and digital assets, transitioning to electronic platforms, cloud migration and the procurement and integration of IT systems.

Having obtained certifications in information privacy for Asia, Europe and the US (FIP, CIPP/A, CIPP/EU, CIPP/US, CIPM), Charmian has counselled hundreds of corporations on multijurisdictional data law compliance and spearheaded projects (covering up to 82 territories) on regulatory compliance, data governance and cross-border transfers.

She provides group-wide cybersecurity readiness support, including incident response planning and training and has successfully resisted sanctions for dozens of companies in semi-contentious data investigations, information disclosure requests, and time-sensitive breach reporting, covering multiple countries across APAC and beyond.

While her practice is largely sector-neutral, she has supported industry players in digital health, retail, social media, e-commerce, fintech, hospitality and aviation (to name a few) on cutting-edge projects, typically on a region-wide or global basis, including product reviews for the launch of online payment platforms, direct-to-consumer advertising campaigns, and the roll out of e-commerce websites and applications.

Charmian’s experience extends to a broader sweep of commercial work, where she has acted as sole or lead counsel covering all of Asia Pacific for two leading global media companies, advising on their digital marketing efforts, mobile content distribution contracts, gaming, employment, corporate governance and franchising, as well as regulatory matters where she has advised on licensing, consumer and competition issues spanning the healthcare, telecoms and media sectors, among others.

Charmian is ranked in leading legal directories including Chambers, The Legal 500, Who’s Who Legal, Global Data Review, and Best Lawyers.

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Data and Product Counselling

  • Lead counsel for one of the world’s largest technology conglomerates in data privacy surveys, some covering up to 82 jurisdictions each. Topics surveyed include data protection officer and local representative requirements, children’s privacy and cross-border transfer and localization rules.
  • Global lead counsel for an international technology company/developer of apps whose functions include social networking, instant messaging, audio and text chats, voice recordings, speech to text recognition, role-playing gaming, in-app purchases and AI-powered smart keyboards. Areas of advice include biometrics, minors, content, consumer, AI, privacy, export controls and trade.
  • Global lead counsel for a video game company/publisher of internationally acclaimed immersive games. Advised across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East on age verification, content moderation, consumer protection, in-app purchases and refunds, cybersecurity measures, digital advertising, cookies and tracking technologies, law enforcement and export sanctions.
  • Lead counsel for a global fast fashion e-retailer supporting international business units on consumer and privacy issues impacting product and operational functions.
  • Legal and regulatory counsel for an AI-powered credit scoring platform in Australia, Singapore and the US.
  • Advised one of the world’s largest fintech companies on its negotiations with a leading payments provider on the parties’ data processing contract.
  • Advised a leading payments processor on a confidential and sensitive regulatory request for information disclosure.
  • Advised a healthcare services provider on data law and contract implications relating to its distribution of pharmaceuticals in Asia.
  • Assisted a listed hotel and property developer regarding compliance with applicable obligations under Singapore’s data protection law and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.
  • Supported a publicly listed technology multinational corporation to conduct a data protection and cybersecurity impact assessment for Asia, starting with Vietnam, Singapore and Japan.
  • Advised a publicly listed multinational technology company headquartered in China of its data protection obligations in connection with its e-commerce, retail, internet and technology businesses in the region.
  • Supported a leading airline on company-wide data protection in the implementation of measures for compliance with the requirements in Singapore and the California Consumer Privacy Act.
  • Conducted gap assessments for a publicly traded financial information and analytics company to comply with applicable obligations under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act.
  • Developed compliance programs to enable the operationalization of practices and procedures to comply with data protection law on a day-to-day basis, including preparing questionnaires and establishing self-conduct, and developing and implementing standard operating procedures to ensure that business practices comply with applicable requirements for a variety of clients.
  • Acted for over one hundred companies in data breach and incident response, successfully resisting financial penalties and other regulatory sanctions across the APAC region for data incidents arising from a wide array of internal risks and external attacks.

Technology Transactions

  • Acted for a health data analytics company on a high-profile partnership with a leading wearables manufacturer.
  • Acted for a software company in preparing its license agreements for a suite of AI-enabled products.
  • Assisted a leading German car manufacturer to draft template information technology and software licensing terms and conditions to fulfil business operation and procurement requirements.
  • Advised a tech conglomerate on a scoping questionnaire for a prospective delivery/courier product involving the use of AI.
  • Advised a multinational corporation on its procurement of AI­-enabled software for use in its recruitment efforts, including reviewing the terms of use and licence agreement.
  • Assisted a major Singapore-based insurance company in drafting software customization and licensing agreements with its IT solutions vendors.
  • Acted as lead counsel for a liquified natural gas provider in a large-scale systems integration project, including advising on consultancy agreements, reviewing and negotiating dozens of information technology license and maintenance contracts, as well as quotes from software vendors.
  • Successfully represented one of the largest regional banks in structuring and closing a strategic business partnership with Google, where the bank’s payment systems would be made available on Google’s G Pay platform, allowing customers of the bank to use that platform to send and receive funds, and pay merchants.
  • Advised and drafted contractual documentation for National Payments Corporation of India on the linkage of Singapore’s PayNow system and India’s Unified Payments Interface that enables users to make instant and low-cost fund transfers directly from one bank account to another between Singapore and India.
  • Advised a utilities provider on its proposed disruptive technology platform, which would enable users to pay for their utilities bills as well as transact at bricks-and-mortar stores using a proprietary mobile application, including considering legal risks spanning financial regulations, telecoms and media laws, content and advertising, and data protection issues.
  • Advised a major internet service provider and search portal regarding its legal needs for the Asia Pacific region, including instructing and directing counsel in various countries, drafting template service and distributor agreements, adapting end-user software licensing arrangements, and drafting marketing agent agreements.
  • Advised the largest bank in Asia on its development of a partnership agreement to distribute products and services through e-commerce platforms such as online shopping websites and ride-hailing apps, to be rolled out across multiple jurisdictions including Singapore, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China.
  • Advised an American multinational technology company regarding its legal needs for the Asia Pacific region. This included instructing and directing counsel in various countries, drafting template service and distributor agreements, adapting end-user software licensing arrangements, and drafting data centre documentation and marketing agent agreements.
  • Advised and assisted a leading internet service provider with drafting the terms and conditions of use for its web security services, which were part of the cloud computing service offered to its customers.
  • Delivered an extensive training workshop to an international bank on the legal and regulatory treatment of application programmer interfaces (APIs).
  • Advised on and drafted the contractual documentation for major e-commerce and payment services collaborations between banks and technology companies.

Media and Entertainment

  • Advised a social media conglomerate on regulatory requirements applicable social media influencer marketing in over a dozen jurisdictions in Asia Pacific.
  • Advised a global gaming company on an Asia Pacific-wide project for its marketing and promotions activities.
  • Advised a global medical device manufacturer on its digital marketing campaign spanning a dozen jurisdictions in Asia, covering direct-to-consumer marketing, medical advertising, consumer protection and data privacy.
  • Advised on a master license agreement between a key Singapore print media company and a foreign online advertising solutions provider in relation to targeted video commercials on a newly launched web-based platform that allowed internet users to view rich media and video commercials online without buffering. The scope of work included advising on and drafting contractual provisions relating to intellectual property rights (including copyright, patent and trademark issues), not only in relation to each party’s individual media platforms, but also with respect to a newly created co-branded platform.
  • Advised an advertising company in the rollout of a presence and online advertising initiative for all the major internet service providers in Singapore.
  • Advised a leading gaming company on the introduction of a revolutionary gaming console, including drafting, reviewing and negotiating numerous regulatory requirements (including multiple market regulators) for the rollout.
  • Advised on all commercial and regulatory aspects of a go-to-market launch of a virtual reality music service, including licensing, content and contractual aspects.

Some of the experience represented here may have been handled at a previous firm.


  • National University of Singapore, LL.B., with honors, 2005


  • Singapore, 2006

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Fellow of Information Privacy and member, International Association of Privacy Professionals
  • Certified Information Privacy Professional for Asia (CIPP/A)
  • Certified Information Privacy Professional for Europe (CIPP/E)
  • Certified Information Privacy Professional for the US (CIPP/US)
  • Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM)
  • Ranked for Singapore Technology, Media, Telecoms (TMT): Domestic, Chambers Asia-Pacific 2019-2023 (Band 2 of 4 in 2023): “Charmian Aw … is a well-respected TMT lawyer frequently advising on data protection compliance mandates as well as IT and cybersecurity and is particularly active advising clients in the e-commerce space”; “Charmian is a very capable lawyer who provided commercial, practical and legally sound advice.”
  • Next Generation Partner in The Legal 500 (Legalease) for Data Protection and Cybersecurity.
  • Recommended as a Global Leader in Data – Data Privacy & Protection, and Telecoms & Media, and as a National Leader in Southeast Asia – Data, Who's Who Legal 2017-2023.
  • Ranked as Most Highly Regarded Individual in TMT and recognised for her reputation for “excellence and achievement” founded on her “extensive experience”, and praised for the “breadth and depth of [her] data protection law knowledge”, Who's Who Legal 2016.
  • Selected through peer review for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in Singapore 2022-2023 for Media Law.
  • Featured in The Legal 500 2022-2023: “Charmian Aw provides practical legal advice keeping in mind business and commercial sensibilities.”
  • Recognised as one of “40 Under 40” data lawyers in the world, Global Data Review 2018.
  • Singled out as one of “40 Under 40” bright legal minds in the region, Asian Legal Business 2015.
  • Recognised as one of Singapore's 40 most influential lawyers aged 40 and under, Singapore Business Review 2015.

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