Clifford Chance is a London-based magic circle law firm with over 3300 lawyers and 34 offices across 23 countries. The firm opened its Hong Kong office in 1980 which now has 150 lawyers servicing clients’ Greater China interests in conjunction with its Beijing and Shanghai offices.
Focusses / specialisms
Arguably the most visible magic circle firm in the Hong Kong and China market, Clifford Chance has market leading transactional practices across an array of practice areas as it has the largest banking team in Hong Kong and strong relationships with Chinese policy and commercial banks. The firm’s IPO practice enjoys a dominant market share and huge deal flow when it comes to debt securities.
Key clients of the firm include Bank of China, Jindal Steel & Power (Mauritius), China National Petroleum Corporation, Carrefour Nederland, Permira, Huatai Securities and Panview Capital.
Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)
During the research period the firm kept busy advising on a raft of Hong Kong IPOs, GDRs, dim sum bonds, perpetual securities, renminbi bonds, exchangeable bonds and green bonds.
The corporate team acted in disposals, joint ventures and acquisitions in the renewable energy, real estate, transport, telecommunications, education, and food and beverage sectors.
In private equity, the firm advised on acquisitions, investments, pre-IPO financings and various funding rounds for its clients, while on the fund side acted in fund formation, restructuring, venture capital, SFC-authorised funds, hedge funds and real estate.
The projects practice was engaged with outbound and inbound mandates in transport and oil & gas across jurisdictions such as China, Niger and Colombia.
In the regulatory space the firm has acted in SFC investigations, market misconduct, cryptocurrency and ePayment matters, while the restructuring team has handled debt recovery and debt restructuring mandates, and insolvencies in the seafood and sustainable solutions industries.
Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)
-Agricultural Development Bank of China Rmb1.5 billion 3.40% dim sum bond issue
-ARCM Fund IV
-Baowu Steel Group $660 million acquisition of Maanshan Iron & Steel
-Budweiser Brewing Company APAC HKSE IPO
-Huatai Securities SSE-LSE GDRs
-Jindal Steel restructuring
-Niger-Benin crude pipeline project
-Permira $260 million acquisition of Topcast Aviation
-Shenwan Hongyuan Group HKSE IPO
-Suning.com €1.4 billion acquisition of 80% stake in Carrefour China
Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)
“They had provided sufficient and effective help to the project. The team did a great job.”
Capital markets: Debt
“The lawyers at Clifford Chance have solid technical and execution skill that can be significantly distinguished under sophisticated transactions or an extremely short timeframe. In addition, they are always reachable which is really important from clients' perspectives. I am always happy to work with Clifford Chance’s team and have a strong preference to have that team on my deal.”
“Very experienced and professional. The lawyers can work with tight time schedules, and cooperate quite well with JLMs.”
Financial services regulatory
“Possesses in-depth knowledge of law whilst the commercial practicality and usefulness of the advice is not compromised.”
“Knowledge of regulatory environment. Lawyers that work well with our team.”
“We really like Clifford Chance's always-ready-to-provide-solutions attitude. They simply advise us 24/7 restlessly with no compromise in quality.”
“Very knowledgeable in PRC regulations and market trends; particularly good in cross-border issues.”
“In-depth knowledge and practical solutions.”
“Matt and his team were extremely knowledgeable and up to date. We felt very comfortable that we were creating our fund in the right way despite the ever changing regulatory landscape. They were also very responsive to all of our questions.”
“The firm has consistently provided proactive, practical advice and has been very responsive to queries.”
“Clifford Chance has top lawyers from top to bottom and is responsive, commercial, and transparent with respect to fees/billing.”
“Creative solutions to problem solving, very reliable in terms of quality and timing of the work product, extremely nice team to work with who know your business well and make you feel home.”
“CC was not only appointed for its M&A expertise but for the structuring/funding part, we also received the key input from Clifford's regulatory team in the financial services sector. This combination of expertise was extremely efficient. Whenever the client is facing a grey area under PRC laws, they take positions and give very clear recommendations based on market practice.”
“Responsive attention to detail but ever-conscious of commercial elements. They provide a perfect bridge between local legal market knowledge and foreign investor expectations.”
“High quality, in-depth knowledge, problem solving.”
“Excellent quality and practical solutions.”
“The law firm is very efficient and is able to turnaround and provide feedback quickly. The team is also knowledgeable in the private equity area.”
Restructuring and insolvency
“Very talented team with a lot of experience and strong technical skills. Extensive market network means the team is able to add insights and current thinking on both commercial and legal issues.”
“Clear and concise advice. Responsive and adaptable.”
“Pro-active and focused on problem solving. Takes the lead to push the matter forward and seeks guidance from clients where appropriate.”
“Well positioned in the market and responsive. Knows how to get the deal done and the key pressure points. Consistently solid.”
“Expertise in multiple dimensions that are relevant to our businesses. Quick turnaround, and accessibility to senior and knowledgeable lawyers.”