China

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: All China Lawyers Association (ACLA)

Competition authority: Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM)

Financial regulator: China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC)China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC)

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:

Financial and corporate (published October) – Banking, Capital markets, Competition, Investment funds, M&A, Private equity, Project DevelopmentProject finance

Jurisdiction overview

Buoyed by the state’s continuing encouragement of outbound investment—known as the Go Out Policy (走出去战略)—there has been an emerging ‘red circle’ of PRC firms making inroads into Hong Kong and overseas. Linguistic factors play a key role as PRC firms follow their clients and provide legal services to Chinese companies and enterprises setting up abroad. Chinese firms are also growing in sophistication as overseas trained lawyers return home in a rising pattern of reverse brain drain. Such firms though are likely to struggle with cross-border deals for some time still, so will use international firms especially in outbound transactional work.

It seems that China’s protectionist strategy establishing a quasi-closed system has underlined a long-term capacity-building strategy that appears to be paying off for its legal market. In the US, Japan, and the EU, Chinese law firms are generally able to establish offices, hire local lawyers, and engage in corporate law and litigation services. However, while foreign firms can open offices in mainland China, access to the legal market—excluding Hong Kong and Macau—is restricted. Foreign law firms cannot practice PRC law while PRC qualified lawyers employed by foreign law firms have their licenses suspended for the duration of their employment.

Global law firms can advise on home and international law but will need to turn to local law firms for domestic matters. Following China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation in 2001, foreign law firms were then allowed to open additional offices in mainland China, but need to wait three years between each opening. 

Mergers or joint ventures with Chinese firms involving financial integration are not allowed either, but in recent years we have seen its legal market soften ever so slightly. Hitting the headlines this year, we saw Chinese firm Dacheng combine with Dentons to form the world's largest firm by headcount, which was only the second time ever a Chinese firm completed a substantial ‘merger’ with an international firm after Chinese firm King & Wood, Australian outfit Mallesons and the UK's SJ Berwin formed King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) in 2012.  

The vehicle for such combinations in a restrictive environment is the Swiss verein, which has become a popular entry strategy for international firms into domestic markets. It is a form of voluntary association where members do not share commercial or professional liability for the debts or actions of other member firms and often do not share revenues or pool profits. The idea of large global brands operating under local rules inspired the adoption of the verein structure, which allows firms to overcome jurisdictional obstacles to international mergers.

Another initiative unveiled in September 2013 was the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone—the first free-trade zone in mainland China—being used as a testing ground for a number of economic and social reforms. In April 2015, Baker & McKenzie became the first foreign law firm to take advantage of this and enter into a joint operation with Beijing’s FenXun Partners. It is the only formal structure where global and PRC firms can work together to serve clients in China under the current regulatory framework. 

Adam Majeed - Asia-Pacific Editor

IFLR1000 2019: China and Hong Kong market trends and developments

Financial and corporate
AllBright Law Offices

Shanghai-based AllBright Law Offices was established in 1999 and has offices in 21 mainland cities and a particularly strong office network in eastern China with a good client base in Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu. It has an association with Hong Kong firm Stevenson Wong & Co and a strategic partnership with Bird & Bird.

The firm’s strongest transactional practice areas are in capital markets, private equity and investment funds.

AllBright Law Offices has a wide range of clients, including state-owned enterprises, private and foreign-funded enterprises. Its well-known clients include China Shipbuilding Industry, Shanghai Electric Group and Xiamen Airlines.

In 2019, the firm’s IPO practice was very busy while its broader capital markets team were engaged in issuing corporate and convertible bonds and handling securitisation mandates. Its private equity team was preoccupied with various funding rounds for its clients while the funds practice was busy advising on technology focused limited partnership funds.

The firm expanded its geographical footprint over the research period with new office openings in Wuhan and Urumqi.

Deal highlights

-Taiping Financial Services Rmb1 billion financing

-InnoCare Pharma $160 million series D financing

-Taihe Group Rmb1 billion financing

-Hangzhou DPtech Technologies SZSE GEM IPO

-Rongsheng Paper Rmb410 million convertible bond issue

-Fujian Forecam Optics SSE Star Market IPO

-Jiangsu ToLand Alloy SZSE GEM IPO

-Shanghai Processing Excellence Technology Rmb356 million convertible bond issue

Client feedback

Private equity

“They are professional and dedicated with a quick turnaround.”

Huan Li

“Cost-effective; very experienced; quick turnaround.”

 

Anli Partners

Established in 2001, Anli Partners is a Beijing-based law firm with over 70 partners and further offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Nanjing, Zhengzhou, Hohhot and Tokyo.

The firm is strongest in banking and project financing, asset management and M&A. 

Key clients of the firm include China Development Bank, China CITIC Bank, R&F Properties and Binhai Construction Investment.

During the research period, the firm has been focused on developing its practices in aviation, competition, natural resources, energy, cloud computing and blockchain technology.

In 2019, the firm hired several partners including Ji Xuefeng from Dentons who moved to its Tianjin branch. Zang Hongliang from Global Law Office and Yin Hongliang from Broad & Bright joined its Beijing headquarters.

The firm also opened new offices in Tokyo, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Zhengzhou and Kunming last year.

Deal highlights

-Beijing government Rmb900 million urban transformation bond issue

-Beijing Zhidemai Tech SZSE IPO

-Sinotrans acquisition of Sinotrans Development 

 

Broad & Bright

Broad & Bright is a full service Chinese law firm that opened in Beijing in 2004 and then in Shanghai in 2008. It has further offices in Guangzhou and Hong Kong. The firm is one of two Chinese member firms of Meritas, a global alliance of business law firms. 

The firm’s main practice strengths are in M&A, private equity, project finance, real estate, financial technology, asset financing and securitisation.

Key clients of the firm include Sino-German Huajian, Dongguan Development, Mingyuecheng Real Estate, and Tuhu.

During the research period, the firm’s projects practice was highly active in a range of public-private partnerships (PPPs) and build–operate–transfer (BOT) projects. For example, its Guangzhou office handled the Dongguan Rail Transit Line 1 PPP project, which is significant to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay region. The firm’s M&A team advised on joint ventures and acquisitions in the technology, chemical and food and beverage sectors. 

Last year, Broad & Bright recruited partners Sunny Shen from Electronic Arts and Liang Peng from CMS. 

Deal highlights

-Dongguan Rail Transit Line 1 PPP

-Fengkai Domestic Sewage Disposal and Recycle PPP

-Freudenberg & Co Rmb1.2 billion acquisition of 75% stake in Apollo Environmental Equipment

-Shantou Construction Waste Disposal and Recycling BOT 

-Stratacache $4 million acquisition of Ningbo Plus and Popscreens Electronic Technology

-Tuhu Rmb1.4 billion joint venture with Exxon Mobile and Tencent 

-Wuchang Kitchen Waste Disposal PPP

 

Commerce & Finance Law Offices

Established in 1992 as a small law office in Beijing, Commerce & Finance was among the early formed private partnership law firms in China. It has since grown into a full service law firm with additional offices in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

The firm has a traditionally strong IPO practice, especially in overseas listings. Its private equity practice is adept in taking its clients across the investment chain, from the initial angel investment to venture capital, private equity, pre-IPO and exit.

Key clients of the firm include Ping An Asset Management, GIC, Evergrande Group, Export-Import Bank of China, Maoyan Entertainment, Zhongliang Holdings Group Company, Tangshan Delong Steel and Tsinghua Holdings.

The firm completed over 30 overseas IPOs in 2019—mostly in Hong Kong and the US—including Zhongliang Holdings Group Hong Kong IPO, which was the biggest IPO project in China's real estate industry in the past 10 years. In one other mandate, the firm provided legal advice on the bankruptcy and reorganisation of Bohai Steel, which was the largest bankruptcy and reorganisation case in China in 2019. 

It was also active in corporate and convertible bond issues, pre-IPO investments and a range of funding rounds, and in joint ventures and acquisitions in the shipping, power and heavy industries. 

In the research period, the firm brought in M&A partners Wang Hui from King & Wood Mallesons and Huang Kai from Llinks Law Firm.

Deal highlights

-Beijing Yi Jiu Pi E-Commerce $300 million series D financing 

-Bloomage Biotechnology SSE Star Market IPO

-Bohai Steel restructuring 

-Evergrande Group $3 billion high-yield bond issue

-COSCO Shipping Holdings Rmb6 billion acquisition of Hainan Harbour & Shipping Holdings

-Shimao Property Holdings $1 billion 6.125% bond issue

-Wanda Sports Group Nasdaq IPO

-Zhongliang Holdings HKSE IPO

Client feedback

M&A

“The team of Commerce & Finance that we worked with, led by Catherine (Shen), demonstrated good and solid level of knowledge about PRC law, strong communication skills, in-depth sector experience, and high standards of responsiveness. They were also very conscious of proposing constructive and feasible solutions for potential transnational issues.”

Private equity

“They provided professional legal advice. Comprehensive solutions and service capability were offered.”

Lingyun Dai

“Excellent communication and problem solving; excellent legal knowledge and ability.”

Catherine Shen

“Catherine Shen demonstrates very solid knowledge about law, market/deal practice and sectors of relevance to her practice area. She is highly committed to clients and work, and sets high standards for herself and her team. She is very efficient in team and client management, and has impressive communication skills.”

 

DeHeng Law Offices

DeHeng Law Offices is an independent PRC law firm that was established in 1993 as China Law Office before renaming itself in 1995. The firm has 35 domestic offices including in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen; and a further eight overseas offices in Hong Kong, New York, Paris, The Hague, Dubai, Brussels, Silicon Valley and Almaty.

The full service firm is strong across the transactional board with expertise in M&A and private equity, capital markets and projects. 

Key clients of the firm include China Coal Energy Company, China Three Gorges Corporation, Shanghai Kindly Medical Instruments, Beijing United Information Technology, Chengdu Global Century Exhibition & Travel Group, Shenzhen Qianhai Development & Investment Holdings, Beijing Dayue Consulting and China Mobile.

The firm’s projects team has been very busy over the research period advising on transport PPPs—for example in Tianjin, Wenzhou and Urumqi—alongside a spate of utilities and real estate development projects, while exercising its project financing capabilities in outbound mandates. 

Its capital markets team was preoccupied with corporate, US dollar, green and convertible bond issuances alongside Hong Kong and Chinese mainland IPOs; while the M&A and private equity team were active with acquisitions and corporate restructuring mandates across the real estate, industrials, construction, pharmaceuticals, mining and energy sectors.  

During 2019, the firm welcomed M&A partner Li Hua to its Beijing headquarters from China Petrochemical International. It also strengthened its M&A team in Xiamen with Zhang Junfeng and Zhu Shuting, in Yinchuan with Zhou Wenjing, and in Xixuan New Area with Song Huan. 

Deal highlights

-Beijing United Information Technology SSE IPO

-Chengdu Global Century Rmb15 billion acquisition of Yunnan Metropolitan Real Estate Development

-China Three Gorges Corporation Rmb20 billion green exchangeable bond issue 

-Shanghai Kindly Medical Instruments HKSE IPO

-Shenzhen Capital Rmb1.8 billion acquisition of Clou Electronics

-Tianjin Rail Transit Line Z4 PPP

-Wenzhou Regional Railway S1 Phase I PPP

-Zhaojin Mining $300 million 5.5% bond issue 

Client feedback

Capital markets: Equity

“Professional service, dedicated lawyers and high efficiency.”

“Professional, timely, accurate and good attitude. DeHeng is very nice.”

Investment funds

“Extremely knowledgeable and professional first class service by partner David and his team. They are efficient.”

M&A

“Very good strategic thinkers, particularly David, the managing partner of the Beijing office. High level of knowledge of international M&A transactions. Strong team that works collaboratively while supporting David.”

Project development

“Responsive and serious. They have rich experience in engineering construction, land policy and financing affairs.”

“Can solve difficult and complex problems. Team lawyers have strong comprehensive ability.”

“Quick comprehensive responses with many ways to resolve risk.”

“Dealt effectively with construction engineering, PPP projects, investment and financing, and resolution of engineering disputes.”

“Experienced in large-scale infrastructure PPP projects such as urban sewage treatment PPP projects.”

“Efficient and professional.”

“Efficient service. Very professional and reliable.”

David Chen

“Very strategic and has good communication skills in both Chinese and English.”

Li Hongyuan

“Rich experience in large-scale investment, construction and operation projects, patient and meticulous service.”

“Optimistic, meticulous and versatile.”

“Responsive, responsible and familiar with infrastructure construction.”

“He has the foundation of construction project management, he is familiar with bidding, conscientious and meticulous.”

“Familiar with engineering construction business, rich experience in handling large-scale infrastructure tracking and development projects; works patiently and meticulously.”

“Rich comprehensive knowledge in construction project management, bidding, legal services, investment and financing, professional, meticulous and efficient.”

“He is more conscientious and efficient and he likes to discuss with us and accept our suggestions.”

 

Dentons

Dentons China was formerly known as Dacheng Law Firm before its merger with Dentons in 2015 that was structured as a Swiss Verein since international firms cannot practice PRC law. In fact, in Chinese the firm is still known as Dacheng (大成) and has 47 offices including in Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Shenzhen. 

The firm’s strengths are in structured finance and securitisation, project development and finance, private equity, restructuring and insolvency, and capital markets. 

Key clients of the firm include China Zheshang Bank, China Citic Bank, Bank of China, BYD Auto Finance Company, Xinjiang Airport (Group), China Railway (Henan) Xinchuan Expressway, Shenzhen EC Technology and Beijing Chunyutianxia Software.

In the research period, the firm has been engaged in a range of securitisations, asset backed plans and RMBS projects; its projects team has been involved in transport and utility PPPs and other aviation and real estate projects; while its private equity team has assisted technology clients in various funding rounds. 

Recently Dentons’ Shanghai office hired several M&A partners, including Ni Jianlin from SG & Co Lawyers and Wu Junjie from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Deal highlights

-Agricultural Bank of China Financial Leasing Rmb3 billion green bond issue

-CITIC Securities - IQIYI Intellectual Property Rmb3 billion supply chain ABS shelf offering

-Huiyi Rmb48 billion phase 1-12 RMBS

-Lian Huo - Er Guang expressway link line PPP

-Shenzhen EC Technology Rmb43 million series C financing

-Yutian County airport project

-Zhejiang Feiyang International Tourism Group HKSE IPO

-Zhongyu Rmb600 million first phase of distressed asset securitisation

Client feedback

Banking

“As the legal counsel of our bank, Ms Wu adheres to the attitude of constant improvement and provides efficient legal services for our bank. Ms Wu used her professional legal skills to point out the legal risks and assisted our bank to complete a number of financing transactions. During the programme design and work in progress, Ms. Wu actively communicated with our bank, accurately grasped our business characteristics and handled work properly. At the same time, Ms Wu has professional competencies and rich experience. Ms. Wu has professional standing, and an earnest practice. Our bank and cooperating parties have a high evaluation on Ms. Wu's working competence and quality.”

Capital markets: Debt

“Very diligent and focussed on details.”

Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation

“Diligent and professional.”

Investment funds

“Professional legal service with reasonable pricing.”

M&A

“Professional advice.”

Project finance

“Based on a wealth of industry and legal knowledge, lawyer Li Zhiguo can clearly understand the demands of our bank and the requirements of clients. They can assist our bank to propose a solution acceptable to both parties as soon as possible.”

Restructuring and insolvency

“Professional and dedicated lawyers. The firm loves learning in the pursuit of excellence.”

Flora Nan

“Flora focuses on the details.”

Jingjing Wu

“Ms Wu actively participated in the aircraft financing project of our bank. She positively communicated with us and gave feedback and has given great help in our project. Jingjing has strong professional legal skills and strong innovation abilities. She is also actively learning and mastering new transaction structures and legal relationships. Ms Wu was conscientious and devoted to the details of each case and provided professional legal advice and efficient and reliable legal services for our bank. She successfully assisted our bank to complete a number of transactions. As the legal counsel who has been cooperating with our bank for a long time, Ms Wu is responsible for the work and is our trusted partner.”

Leo Zhou

“Mr Zhou is an internationally renowned lawyer in the fields of finance, acquisition and international business. Mr Zhou is specialised at handling complicated cross-border commercial transactions with his professional legal knowledge.”

Li Zhiguo

“Li Zhiguo is very active in offering suggestions to our bank and getting to know more about the demands of the bank and the reasons behind them.”

Qian Chen

“Qian offers a professional service.”

Yang Mei

“Professional, focused and easy to communicate with.”

 

East & Concord Partners

East & Concord was formed in 2014 following the merger of East Associates Law Firm and Concord & Partners. The firm is based in Beijing and has further offices in in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Hangzhou and Chengdu.

East & Concord specialises in the provision of regulatory advice, banking, restructuring mandates, investment funds and capital markets. 

Key clients of the firm include Photon Hangxin Fund, Beijing Science and Technology Innovation Fund, China Pacific Insurance Group, China Citic Bank, Hua Xia Bank and DMG Entertainment Media. 

In the research period, the firm paid attention to the fast-growing industries of healthcare, sports and data protection. It has been actively participating in investments, financings and M&A related to these industries.

In 2019, the firm bolstered its restructuring and insolvency practice with the hire of Du Hongbo from China International Capital Corporation.

Deal highlights

-CITIC Rmb400 million Huike military-civilian integration fund

-Datong Rmb320 million poverty alleviation fund

-Hua Xia Bank Rmb40 billion additional tier 1 capital notes issue

-Jiangsu Lianyungang Port Rmb1 billion debt-to-equity project 

 

Fangda Partners

Headquartered in Shanghai, Fangda Partners is among the largest China-based law firms with further offices in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. 

The firm has traditional strength in private equity. It was one of the earliest entrants into the PRC fund formation market and its team has the dual capacity to advise on renminbi and offshore US dollar fund formation matters. M&A is a core focus of the firm, while its capital markets team has TMT expertise, and the finance team is especially potent in acquisition financing.

Key clients of the firm include Alibaba Group Holding, Budweiser Brewing Company, KKR, Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank, DCP Capital and Shenzhen Energy Group.

In the past 12 months, the firm has had a very active projects practice alongside its capital markets, M&A and private equity practices.

The firm brought in M&A partners Yi Chen, Tianyi Chen, Tony Zhong and Mark Lehmkuhler from Morrison & Foerster, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Norton Rose Fulbright and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe respectively. Colin Law also joined from Shearman and Sterling, while partner Diane Xue departed. 

Deal highlights

-Alibaba Group Holding HKSE secondary listing

-Alibaba $2 billion acquisition of HQG

-KKR NVC $794 acquisition of NVC Lighting’s China Lighting Business

Client feedback

Capital markets: Debt

“Christine and her team advised us on the successful issuance under a very unique structure in the industry. We have benefited from her rich experiences in capital markets and her professionalism. Her long experiences in international law firms and financial institutions enables her to work with multinational companies like ours very well. She is well respected and trusted by the relevant regulators, which is also of great help for us to communicate with the authorities in the course of the issuance.” 

“Fangda helps the company to focus on the key points of the transaction, and assists in the negotiation.” 

Capital markets: Equity

“Very responsive to clients’ enquires, great work ethic and strong teamwork.”

M&A

“Fangda’s mainland China offices (Beijing and Shanghai) and Hong Kong office really work as one team. Fangda is capable in organising lawyers from different practice areas to work together collaboratively and effectively.  They are very critical for a Chinese based firm in advising clients on complex cross-border M&A cases.”

“Conducted due diligence in limited time to help revise the transaction documents effectively.”

“The best M&A firm in China with deep understanding of the M&A law and capital markets knowledge. Always provides professional legal advice in a timely manner.”

Annie Shen

“Good communication, excellent in problem solving, and always acts in the best interests of the company.”

Dong Wu

“Very experienced in equity underwriting transactions and a quick problem solver.”

Jeffrey Ding

“Jeffrey is the most experienced M&A lawyer in China with extensive experience in private equity investment. He is very knowledgeable and always very hands-on in his projects.”

Li Kewu

“He has conducted due diligence in a limited time and helped to revise transaction documents.”

 

Global Law Office

Global Law Office is an independent Chinese law firm that was established in 1984. The firm has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu.

The firm is strong in finance, projects and equity and debt capital markets work. It also has a robust structured finance and securitisation practice and has recently become more visible in private equity and funds work. 

Key clients of the firm include Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Primavera Capital, New Frontier Corporation, China Construction Bank, China Resources Microelectronics, CITIC, SK Hynix System Ic and Asian Development Bank.

During the research period, the firm’s capital markets team was busy assisting clients with a range of domestic, Hong Kong and US IPOs alongside issuances of dim sum bonds, anti-COVID-19 bonds and other corporate bonds and securitisation mandates. 

Its M&A team acted in joint ventures alongside acquisitions in the healthcare, medical devices, real estate, dairy, retail, automotive and telecommunications industries; while the projects practice picked up construction, transport, real estate, oil and biomass mandates. 

In private equity and venture capital, the firm assisted clients in various funding rounds and helped setup and raise funds in real estate, private equity, healthcare and technology. 

The firm has bolstered its private equity and funds offering with the hires of partners Yuan Yuan, Xianlai Liu, Huijie Xu, Jinghe Wang and Zhihong Jian from Dentons China. It also brought in finance partner Lingjie Zhang from Zhong Lun Law Firm and securitisation specialist Jieyi Chen in December 2019. 

Global Law Office opened its fourth overall office in Chengdu in March 2020. 

Deal highlights

-Chengdu Navigation Commercial Management Rmb760 million acquisition financing

-China Construction Bank Astana Branch Rmb1 billion 2.950% dim sum bond issue 

-Citic Healthcare Fund II

-ESR HKSE IPO

-New Frontier Corporation $1.4 billion acquisition of United Family Healthcare

-Puxin Series 1 2019 Rmb2 billion credit card securitisation 

-Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset $1.3 billion series C financing 

-Wuhan Oil Depot construction project 

Client feedback

Banking

“Always renders useful and constructive advice on the complex structure of financing pointing out those legal and operational risks pertaining to the proposed deal structure, and more importantly, protecting the interests of our bank without blocking or deferring the deal.”

“They are responsive and supportive.”

Financial services regulatory

“Very professional with a fast-growing mindset.” 

Investment funds 

“The firm did well to identify the key issues for us and provide practical solution to protect us in the legal documents.” 

Project development 

“The firm is very proactive and innovative for providing legal services, especially when dealing with a new project involving new technologies. The firm could offer practical opinions for the company to apply.” 

“Fast reactions and professional insights.” 

Ben Zhong 

“He is responsive and provides good solutions to resolve problems.” 

Jian Zhihong 

“Good at communication, key issue identification and industrial knowledge.” 

Jie Meng 

“Maggie and her team are very diligent in doing their work and always endeavour to provide cost-effective yet feasible methods and guidelines for the company to follow.” 

“Good listener, innovative solutions and excellent problem solving skills.” 

“Lawyer Meng Jie is professional with an ambitious attitude. She has good and practical experience on data protection and the internet industry.” 

May Liu 

“May Liu is capable of tight binding up with the customer, our bank and other external parties (e.g. borrower's solicitor) and strike to balance the interests of all parties involved in each transaction with an aim to close the deal before the timeframe.”

Grandall Law Firm

Grandall Law Firm is a full service Chinese law firm that was formed in 1998 after the merger of Beijing Zhang Yongtao Law Firm, Shanghai Wanguo Law Firm and Shenzhen Tangren Law Firm. It has offices in 28 Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Kunming, Tianjin, Chengdu and Ningbo, and has a further five offices globally.

It has traditionally been dominant in the A-share market but has more recently made strides in its overseas listing practice. The firm is also developing its private equity and venture capital practice in order to complete the service chain from early rounds of financing to when a company is mature enough for listing.

The firm’s M&A team was busy advising on mandates in the food and beverage, technology, automotive and biotech sectors, while its projects practice continued to gain traction. 

Grandall Law firm cooperates with many international firms such as Clifford Chance, Skadden, Davis Polk and Sidley Austin. It also cooperates with Hong Kong independent Lam Lee Lai to facilitate Hong Kong IPOs.

 

Guantao Law Firm

Guantao Law Firm was established in 1994 following a series of mergers. The firm has since grown to comprise of 600 lawyers, including over 150 partners, across 13 offices in China. It also has a strategic alliance with the UK-based international law firm Ashurst.

The firm is best known for private equity and project development. It handles a variety of private funds, such as private equity, hedge, real estate, venture capital, and fund-of-funds funds, while its projects practice is adept at approvals, contracts management, advice on rights, and legal services for PPP and construction projects.

Key clients of the firm include China Life Investment Holding Company, CMGE Technology Group, Ningxia Baofeng Energy Group, Henan Lingcheng Private Equity Fund Management, Zhongce Rubber Group, IReader Technology and China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation. 

Over the research period, the firm has been busy with railway, irrigation and battery projects, while handling debt issuances and IPOs in Hong Kong and China. 

The firm has also been busy recruiting, bringing in finance partners Lu Dagang, Guo Haizhen, Xu Xiuzhu, Sun Yuxiao, Liu Jiansheng, Ma Laing and Chen Yang from China Huaxin Trust, King & Wood Mallesons, Fujian Junli Law Firm, Fujian Zhili Law Firm, and King Bird Law Firm respectively.

Furthermore, capital markets partner Huang Yan and Liu Kai joined from Commerce & Finance and Fujian Zhili Law Firm, while private equity partners Yang Yang and Xiong Huibin arrived from East & Concord Partners and Zhejiang Zehou Law Firm.

The M&A team was boosted by the arrival of partners Li Xiaohao from Hogan Lovells and partners Jin Jie, Ruan Chao, Yuan Junfang and Liu Guo from Henan Luda Law Firm.  

Deal highlights

-CMGE HKSE IPO

-Meulaboh/Nagan Raya 2*200MW coal-fired steam power plant

-Ningxia Baofeng Energy Group SSE IPO

 

Haiwen & Partners

Founded in 1992, Haiwen & Partners is a 200-lawyer-strong PRC firm with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The firm is a fully integrated partnership with a modified lockstep compensation system.

Compared to other PRC law firm, Haiwen & Partners is relatively small and focused on cross-border securities, M&A transactions and private equity.

Key clients include Weibo, The Export-Import Bank of China, Zhejiang Cangnan Instrument Group, CITIC Securities, Zhejiang Hailiang, China International Capital Corporation, Xianghe Capital and Neusoft Xikang Holdings.

In the past 12 months, the firm has been busy with debt issuances, Hong Kong, China and US IPOs, setting up renminbi and US dollar funds, restructuring matters and acquisitions. 

It has strengthened its M&A team with the hires of Feng Rui from Zenity Holdings, Zhang Ying from Goldman Sachs, Yan Bo and Ye Taoye from Allen & Overy. Its capital markets practice welcomed partner Philip Chan. 

Deal highlights

-36Kr Holdings Nasdaq IPO

-Zhejiang Cangnan Instrument Group HKSE IPO

-Zhejiang Hailiang $240 million acquisition of KME

Client feedback

M&A

“Very supportive and professional.”

Zhang Jinen

“Very thoughtful, has in-depth comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the field.”

 

Han Kun Law Offices

Established in 2004, Beijing-based Han Kun Law Offices is a relatively new firm that has grown swiftly to be among the leaders in the PRC market. The firm has 400 professionals with further offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. 

Han Kun is strong in private equity, investment funds, capital markets—with a highly active overseas listings practice—and aviation finance where the firm has the largest dedicated team in China and works on half of the mandates available to the market.   

Key clients of the firm include JPMorgan Securities, Jiumaojiu International Holdings, CICC Capital, K2VC, Tencent, Guazi.com, China Southern Airlines, Credit Suisse and Heineken.

The firm has had a busy year acting in corporate matters, various acquisitions and joint ventures across real estate, technology and retail. Its capital markets team has been preoccupied with Hong Kong and US IPOs, convertible bonds and other issuances; while its private equity team has assisted clients with funding rounds as its funds team has worked on setting up and raising US dollar, renminbi and technology funds.

In the research period, the firm bolstered its finance practice with the hire of partner Huhuan Li from Zhong Lun Law Firm, and it brought in M&A and private equity partners Angela Cui to its office in Hong Kong and Shiye Yuan from KPMG. 

Deal highlights

-China Resources Snow Beer €3.5 billion acquisition of Heineken’s China business 

-China Southern Airlines Rmb9.4 billion acquisition of 35 Comac ARJ21 aircraft

-DouYu International Holdings Nasdaq IPO

-GSX Techedu NYSE IPO

-Guazi.com $1.5 billion series D financing 

-Yangtze River Delta Technology and Innovation Fund 

Client feedback

Asset finance

“Han Kun is very professional and helpful, Wang and Ding are very experienced in aviation finance and its team is very helpful for us to complete the financing project.”

Investment funds 

“Professional, problem solving and up to speed with the legal environment.” 

“Han Kun provides great one stop shopping. Our company has a strong internal legal team, so we usually solve problems by ourselves. But we trust Han Kun's professional advice and we always get creative, useful and practical ideas from them.” 

“Han Kun provides pragmatic legal advice.” 

Lulu Wu 

“Lulu is the main lawyer working with me and my team under the supervision of Jason Wang. Lulu is a diligent and thorough lawyer. I enjoy working with her.” 

Ran Lu 

“Professional and skilled at problem solving.” 

“Diligent, responsive and problem solving.” 

“Ran Lu is very responsive to any queries we have. The PRC laws, regulations and rules continue to change or evolve in this industry and the interpretation of these laws, regulations and rules involve significant uncertainties. She is really pro-active and has great legal knowledge and always provides professional and practical advice. We can get innovative and comprehensive solutions from her.” 

Wang Shu and Ding Yi 

“They could not only point out the risks, but also find solutions, whether it be in terms of the law or commercial wise. This is very helpful for customers.”

HHP Attorneys-At-Law

HHP Attorneys-At-Law is a Shanghai-based boutique law firm. It is a Chinese member firm of Meritas, an international network of law offices. 

The firm’s transactional focus is in M&A and restructuring, and foreign direct investment matters across the financial services, real estate, manufacturing, automotive, environmental protection, chemical, pharmaceutical, logistics and advertising sectors.

Key clients of the firm include This Is City Attractions, Merck, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Aquarius, Blanco, Delphi and Mitsubishi.

The firm’s corporate practice has been active over the research period advising in restructurings, joint ventures, greenfield investments, and acquisitions in the electronics, artificial intelligence and tourism sectors. 

Deal highlights

-This Is City Museum Project

Client feedback

M&A

“Knows the client's business well and understands their commercial needs, providing customised and pragmatic solutions. As well as giving fast responses.”

“HHP is a trustworthy partner. The team led by Rao and Zhang always provides quick responses with high quality. The plan they worked out for us is very user-friendly. They consider the commercial aspects, in addition to just knowing the law, which I am absolutely satisfied with. I believe that business acumen is one of HHP's key competencies in corporate and M&A; they can understand the industry and our exact needs and then deliver tailored legal support taking into account the industry specifics.”

Project development

“HHP provided efficient support to our business and are particularly good at communicating with both in-house legal and related business colleagues.”

Yao Rao

“Solid legal knowledge, very broad scope of legal expertise and experience, client oriented and excellent communication skills.”

“Yao has solid legal knowledge and extensive industry experience. He is able to grasp and understand both the commercial and legal concerns. Communication is quite smooth, he always listens patiently and cooperates.”

“Rao provided very proactive and efficient work for our daily operation. He is always accessible and generally good at all kinds of general corporate work.”

 

Hylands Law Firm

Hylands Law Firm was established in 1997 under the name of Haotian Law Firm. It is based in Beijing and—alongside an IP Agency—has 17 further offices in Shanghai, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Guiyang, Hangzhou, Hefei, Hong Kong, Jiangyin, Jinan, Nanjing, Nanning, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Wenzhou and Yinchuan.

The firm’s main strengths are in handling M&A, restructuring and insolvency, and securitisation mandates.

Key clients of the firm include Zhuhai Gree Group, Zhejiang Jiuzhou Pharmaceutical, Lianchuang Capital, Taizhou Sanfu Marine Engineering, Neway Valve (Suzhou), Wonderland Capital, Shanghai Ruichun Logistics and Yuexiu Transport Infrastructure.

In 2019, the firm’s M&A practice was highly active and represented the target company in Hillhouse Capital's acquisition of a 15% stake in Gree Appliances, which was the largest M&A deal in China last year. It was also involved in acquisition mandates in the pharmaceuticals, automotive, insurance, transport and logistics industries. 

During the research period, the firm welcomed M&A partners Zhu Weina from Dentons China, Xia Guorong from Xiyuan Law Firm, and Li Qian from Zhong Yin Law Firm. It also lost partner Zhang Yukai to Tian Yuan Law Firm. 

Hylands is also one of two Chinese member firms of TerraLex, a global law firm network. 

Deal highlights

-HillHouse Capital Rmb41 billion acquisition of 15% stake in Gree Appliances

-Neway Valve (Suzhou) €11 million acquisition of Econosto International Holding 

-Taizhou Sanfu Marine Engineering Rmb800 million acquisition of Kunlun Health Insurance

-Zhejiang Jiuzhou Pharmaceutical Rmb790 million acquisition of Suzhou Novartis Pharmaceutical Technology

-Zhejiang Jiuzhou Pharmaceutical $16 million acquisition of PharmAgra Labs and PharmAgra Holding Company

 

Jia Yuan Law Offices

Jia Yuan Law Offices was formed in 2000 with its headquarters in Beijing. It has since grown to have additional offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Xi’an and Hong Kong. 

The firm core transactional areas are in capital markets, M&A and corporate restructuring but it also specialises in banking and finance and private equity.

 Key clients of the firm include Ningxia Baofeng Energy Group, China Railway Signal & Communication, Koolearn Technology Holding, Haitong Unitrust International Leasing, Midea Group, King-Strong New Material Technology and China National Building Materials Group Corporation. 

In the research period, the firm’s IPO practice was highly active advising on listings on Shanghai’s stock exchange and its Star Market and in Hong Kong. Its corporate practice acted in Midea’s Rmb14 billion absorption of LittleSwan and in King-Strong New Material Technology’s corporate restructuring. 

Deal highlights

-China Railway Signal & Communication SSE Star Market IPO

-Frontage Holdings Corporation HKSE IPO

-Haitong Unitrust International Leasing HKSE IPO

-King-Strong New Material Technology corporate restructuring

-Koolearn Technology Holding HKSE IPO

-Midea Group Rmb14 billion acquisition of LittleSwan

-Ningxia Baofeng Energy Group SSE IPO

-Xiongan New Area Rmb25 billion (3.36%, 3.69%, 3.96%) bond issue

 

Jincheng Tongda & Neal

Jincheng Tongda & Neal is a large full service PRC firm that was formed in 1992. It has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hefei, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Chengdu, Xi’an, Shenyang, Jinan and an overseas office in Tokyo.  

The firm’s core transactional practice areas are in M&A, restructuring, banking and finance, securitisation and private equity across the natural resources, energy, materials, insurance, pharmaceuticals, real estate and TMT sectors.

Key clients of the firm include China Construction Bank, Parkson Retail Group, Hyfinity Investments, Shanghai Jaka Robot Technology, Shagang Group, Chubb and China Minmetals Corporation. 

The firm’s M&A practice has had a very strong year acting in joint ventures, corporate restructuring, and acquisition deals across the shipping, insurance, technology, electronics, mining, events and construction industries. Its finance practice has been preoccupied with acquisition, real estate, construction and project financings; while its private equity team has acted on various funding rounds for its clients.     

The firm has bolstered its M&A practice this year with the hires of partners Zhenhua Chen and Junxiang Cai from Zhong Lun Law Firm, Jiaping Ye from Jingtian & Gongcheng, and Huating Chen, Lili Zhu, Ming Zhang and Xuhua Zheng from Yingke Law Firm. It also brought in partner Hao Bai to its finance practice from DeHeng Law Firm. 

In 2019, Jincheng Tongda & Neal implemented practice panel reform across its entire firm, requiring partners to only select three core practices to strengthen their sector expertise.

Deal highlights

-COSCO Shipping Financial Holdings $538 million acquisition of Singamas Container Holdings subsidiaries

-Co-Stone $156 million acquisition of Anhui Julong Transmission Technology

-Creative Biosciences Rmb300 million series B financing

-GL events $156 million acquisition of Zhongzhan Zhonghe (Beijing) International Exhibition

-Jiangsu Communications Holding Rmb5 billion acquisition financing

-Parkson Retail Group HK$3.9 billion revolving loan facility

-Qinhuai District 2019G32 Project Rmb3.5 billion financing

-Shanghai Jaka Robot Technology Rmb100 million series B financing

 

Jingtian & Gongcheng

Founded in the early 1990s, Jingtian & Gongcheng is among the first private and independent partnership law firms in China. Headquartered in Beijing, it also has offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Tianjin, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Sanya and Hong Kong.

Equity capital markets is Jingtian & Gongcheng’s traditional strength, especially in overseas listings. The firm’s M&A team has expertise in industries such as entertainment and healthcare with longstanding clients such as Wanda Group and New Hope Group. The firm is also traditionally strong in real estate but is also in growth mode strengthening its expertise in private equity and investment funds.

Other key clients of the firm include China Huaneng Group, BNP Paribas, Guotai Junan Capital, Oceanpine Capital, HBIS Group and Cathay United Bank.

Over the research period, the firm has been very active in projects, with a lot of domestic and overseas work in real estate, mining, transport, gas, coal, and minerals. The M&A team has been busy with acquisitions and privatisations across the steel, mining, food and beverage, automotive, insurance, technology, education and real estate sectors. Its finance team has been busy with acquisition and outbound financing.

The firm’s capital markets team has acted in a host of Hong Kong and US IPOs and delisting mandates, while the debt team has worked on corporate bonds, senior notes, convertible bonds, and belt and road bonds. The funds team has acted on US dollar and renminbi funds and the private equity team has assisted clients in various funding rounds. 

Jinatiang & Gongcheng continue to grow sterghtning its finance team with the hires of partners Feng Chen from Deheng Law Firm, Zhao Jing from Fangda Partners, Li Li from JunZeJun Law Firm, Kaiguo Zhou from Wang Jing & Co and Guanghui Zhu from ETR Law Firm. The capital markets team brought in partners Bai Junlin from a Hong Kong company, Cui Wei from Hylands Law Firm, Jiexi Chen from L&H Law Firm and Jiayue Tan from Global Kingway Law Firm.

In M&A, the firm welcomed partners Stephen Ye from King Wai Group and Xiangman Shen from Wei Tu Law Firm.

Deal highlights

-36Kr Holdings Nasdaq IPO

-Dairi lead-zinc mine $600 million financing

-FriendTimes HKSE IPO

-Huaneng Renewables Corporation HK$16 billion take-private

-iQIYI $1.2 billion convertible preferred bond issue

-Mininglamp Rmb2 billion series D financing

-TUS International $105 million acquisition of Telit Automotive Solution

-Zhen RMB VI Fund

Client feedback

Capital markets: Equity

“Jingtian’s team is competent in legal aspects and can advise us in strengthening legal compliance. The team is willing to share and discuss proactively and is able to provide solutions and alternatives for the company to consider and assess based on the business environment.”

“Quick responses and professional.”

“High degree of experience and professionalism. We have worked together for multiple projects now and their expertise is incredibly valuable throughout the IPO process.”

Investment funds 

“Quick responses with high quality, knows well of the client's needs and is well prepared offering a one station service.” 

M&A 

“Jingtian & Gongcheng as our legal counsel participated in the transaction. The transaction involved a wide range and scope of legal work. It is necessary to coordinate and conduct the due diligence of the target company, draft and review the transaction documents simultaneously. It also requires the preparation of anti-monopoly declarations and other related governmental approval and arrangement relating to the securities regulations due to different jurisdictions of the buyer party and seller party, each of which are listed companies in China and France respectively. The whole transaction involves comprehensive legal matters so the counsels need to cooperate closely with each other.” 

Private equity 

“Strong team spirit, superb business ability and a good way of thinking. From the perspective of the company, it gives the best advice and grasps the time in place.” 

Hu Zhengzheng 

“Lawyer Hu Zhengzheng has deep professional knowledge and many years of experience in legal services for M&A, PE/VC and capital markets. We have worked with Hu Zhengzheng's team for many years and we know each other very well. Lawyer Hu has provided us with excellent legal services and has given us timely and satisfactory answers to any questions we may have about the matter. Hu as a lawyer, has a professional and rigorous spirit of legal services; as a partner, he has a trustworthy attitude of cooperation and enthusiasm for work.” 

Wu Hu 

“Wu is very hands on.” 

“Mr Wu is incredibly professional and valuable throughout all of our cooperation. His experience provides all involved parties with invaluable insight and peace of mind regarding all inquiries or discussions.” 

Zhang Bin 

“Knowing and working with Mr Zhang Bin for more than five years, he has strong legal knowledge in China for various industries and can deliver his solutions in a very short time.”

JunHe

Formed in 1989, Beijing-based JunHe was one of the first established private Chinese law firms. It is an independent PRC law firm with over 700 lawyers and additional offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Dalian, Haikou, Hong Kong, New York, Silicon Valley, Tianjin, Qingdao, Chengdu and Hangzhou. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is full service and transactionally strong across the board across the capital markets, M&A, projects, banking, private equity, investment funds, and restructuring and insolvency. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Bank of China, Dalian Wanda Commercial Management Group, Yimidida Supply Chain Group, Wingtech Technology, Shanghai Electric Group Company, Standard Chartered Bank, CLP Power Hong Kong and InventisBio. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm’s capital markets team kept busy advising on US dollar bonds, panda bonds, corporate bonds, project bonds, green bonds and Hong Kong and China IPOs alongside securitisation mandates.

In private equity it assisted clients with various rounds of funding and in funds advised in formation, RMB funds, GP work, healthcare and real estate funds.

In finance the firm kept busy with acquisition financing mandates, and aviation, real estate, outbound and project finance; while the projects team advised on PPPs, coal, solar, transport, nuclear and hydropower projects. 

The corporate practice acted in joint ventures, incorporation, corporate restructuring mandates, investments and acquisitions in the semiconductor, agriculture and insurance industries. 

In 2019 the firm’s corporate team also brought in counsel Hu Che but lost partner Fan Yang in Shanghai who left for Sinovant Sciences. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Credit Agricole Rmb1 billion panda bond issue

-Hony Capital Cultural Industry Phase I Fund 

-Mexico 350MW ground centralised solar project

-Mongolia 2x200MW coal-fired power plant

-Topsports International Holdings HKSE IPO

-Wingtech Technology $3.6 billion acquisition of 75.9% stake in Nexperia

-Yimidida Rmb1.8 billion series D financing

-Zhongguancun Dinghao Electronics Building Rmb899 million acquisition financing 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Banking

“They provide quality legal services for our syndicated deals and also provide legal knowledge and market information periodically for its clients free of charge.”

M&A

“Skilful and practical in response to all kinds of delicate issues arising out of the transaction.”

“JunHe does well in corporate and M&A. We appreciate that they are very professional and efficient.”

Project development 

“The lawyers take the initiative to ensure actual market practice and various local government and court practices so that the advice provided is comprehensive and workable.”

Kejie Associates

Established in 2015, Cathay Associates Kejie is a boutique transactional law firm specialised in advising domestic and international companies, financial institutions and governments.

It has a global network of offices across 57 countries and works with its member firms to provide cross-jurisdictional legal services for Chinese enterprises on outbound investments, M&A and other cross-border matters.

Kejie’s legal services focus on M&A, private equity, financing and investment matters, investment funds, and capital markets. 

Deal highlights

-SDIC investment in Beijing Jingdiao

-Sino-Ocean Group $400 million bond issue

 

Lantai Partners

Lantai Partners was established in Beijing in 2012 and has since grown to have additional offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Tianjin, Kunming, Changsha, Hefei and Nanjing.

The firm is active in M&A, banking and finance, capital markets, international trade, cross-border investment, restructuring and insolvency, trust and asset management and financial derivatives.

Citic Bank is one key client of the firm and other include China Development Bank, State Grid Information and Communication Industry Group and China Unicom.

In 2019, Lantai Partners completed 52 M&A deals across the communications, energy, finance, real estate, culture, infrastructure construction and pharmaceutical industries. Its finance practice has been bust with acquisition financings, trade, real estate, and project finance alongside financial restructuring mandates. 

The firm has been busy expanding and brought in senior consultants Yongmin Bian from Beijing Shanghai Law Firm and Shuyan Yu from China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation. It also welcomed partners Xin Yang from Globe-Law, Ling Han from Julong, Yanhong Zhong from King & Partner and Jing Yang from Jin Heng Law Firm. The firm also lost partner Haiyang Hou last year. 

During the research period, the firm also opened new offices in Nanjing and Zhengzhou.

Deal highlights

-Beijing Anzhen Changshanxing Commercial Development Rmb1.2 billion acquisition financing

-China Unicom Rmb389 million acquisition of Dr. Peng Group fixed network broadband business

-Sanmenxia National Road 310 Southward Project Construction Management Rmb2 billion project financing 

-Shandong Gezhouba Judan Expressway Rmb2.4 billion fixed-asset syndicated loan facility

-State Grid Information and Communication Industry Group $598 million acquisition of Sichuan Minjiang Hydropower

-Zhenjiang City Construction Investment Company Rmb5 billion acquisition financing

Client feedback

Banking

“The team is very familiar with the financial laws and regulations, including banking, securities and trusts, and they can understand the intent of the businessman, so they can balance compliance and business.”

 

Leaf Law Firm

Leaf is a Shanghai-based bicultural law firm that was formed in 2012. It is composed of European and Chinese lawyers and has an overseas office in France.

The boutique firm is strongest in M&A and private equity where it assists founders and investors to structure fund raising and financing operations in Asian based start-ups.

Key clients of the firm include The Carevoice, KaiOs, Kharis Capital, East Meets West Fine Wines and GL events.

The firm kept busy over the research period advising its clients in various funding rounds, investments in the wine business, and in acquiring events businesses related to the fashion and construction industries. 

Leaf has setup a close partnership with TekID—a digital risks intelligence company specialised in cyber security—and also opened an office in Paris in January 2020 to support its European clients investing in Asia. 

Deal highlights

-GL Events acquisition of 55% stake in CIEC Union

-GL Events acquisition of Fashion Source Group

-KaiOs €50 million series B financing

-Khub $3 million series A financing

-The Carevoice $10 million series A financing

 

Llinks Law Offices

Llinks Law Offices is a Shanghai-based PRC law firm with further offices in Beijing, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and London. The firm operates a modified lock-step system on the basis of one centralised profit pool across its offices, which is a rare model for a Chinese firm.

The firm is known for its work in private equity, and has strong practices in finance, investment funds, and capital markets.

Key clients of the firm include Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Jiangsu Bioperfectus Technologies Company, Xiamen ITG Group and Guoxuan High-Tech.

The firm has been busy in the past year with joint ventures, overseas investment mandates and acquisitions in sports, education, retail, automotive and technology. Its finance practice has handled acquisition and real estate finance, while the capital markets practice has been preoccupied with convertible bonds and domestic IPOs. 

The firm has also been busy setting up and raising renminbi and real estate funds and assisting its clients in various funding rounds. 

In the research period, the firm brought in partners Lily Yuan from Manulife Teda Fund Management, Guixing Jin from Bae Kim & Lee and Justin Fan from FenXun Partners. 

Deal highlights

-Guoxuan High-Tech Rmb1.85 billion convertible bond issue

-Luye Pharma Group $327 million acquisition financing 

-Jiangsu Bioperfectus Technologies Company SSE STAR Market IPO

-Ruicheng JinYu No. 7 real estate fund

-Zhihu’s $434 million series F financing

Client feedback

Asset finance

“They are professional and accurate.” 

Private equity 

“Professional, efficient, humanised, considerate and charge reasonable prices.” 

Charles Chen 

“Professional and efficient.” 

Colin Shi 

“Professional, efficient, considerate and charges reasonable fees.” 

Justin Fan 

“Very commercial and clear in communicating his opinion.” 

Kyle Zhao 

“Very good and on-time and in-time advice.”

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown is a large international law firm with offices in 27 cities across the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It has been serving its clients in China since the 1990s with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong where it has over 200 lawyers. 

The firm is best known in Hong Kong and China for its restructuring and insolvency, projects, banking and debt capital markets practice where it is ranked highest—its high-yield practice is active often representing trustees on bond issuances.  It also has a strong regulatory practice. 

Key clients of the firm include Asian Development Bank, SOCAM Development, HSBC, LimeTree Capital, Citibank, Excelsior Partners and China Everbright Bank. 

The firm’s projects team has had a very busy year acting in PPPs and a range of outbound mandates in transport, telecommunications, renewable and conventional energy in jurisdictions such as Brazil, Kenya, Benin, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Philippines, Qatar and Morocco.  

Its restructuring and insolvency practice has been engaged with debt and corporate restructuring mandates, loan recoveries and insolvencies in retail, seafood, financial services and real estate.  

The firm’s corporate team has been active advising in investments, joint ventures and acquisitions in real estate, consumer goods, natural resources, transport, technology and logistics, while the finance team has advised on the provision of facilities and in acquisition, project, real estate, aviation and renewable energy financings.   

The capital markets team has been preoccupied assisting its clients in the issuances of sovereign bonds, high-yield, senior and unsecured notes, and in a range of confidential securitisation mandates. The funds and private equity practices have also been active with raisings and investments.  

The firm strengthened its corporate practice in the research period with the hires of partner Steven Tran from Hogan Lovells and Sheng Wu and Paul Chen from DLA Piper. Its restructuring team was boosted with the hire of partner Adam Paul from Kirkland & Ellis and partners Michael Fiddy and Amy Jacks from DLA Piper.  

Deal highlights 

-Asia Satellite Telecommunications Holdings $1 billion take-private 

-Bogart Group restructuring 

-CALC PDP 5 $840 million revolving loan facility 

-Changgang Dunxin restructuring 

-Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka $2 billion (6.35%, 7.55%) sovereign bond issue 

-China Water Affairs Group $200 million financing  

-Milford Ceylon $14 million acquisition of 14% stake in Softlogic Life 

-Tamar Alliance Fund 

Client feedback 

Financial services regulatory 

 “Vincent Sum provides practical advice which really adds value to the organisation.” 

“Deep knowledge and good relations with the regulatory body because of constant work in that topic area.”  

Investment funds 

“Systematic, responsive.” 

M&A 

“Very professional, very good legal knowledge and good commercial sense.” 

“The firm has great bench-strength compared to many other international firms in Hong Kong and can provide full-service to meet all of our legal needs. It is also partner-led, with strong and constant involvement of partners in matters rather than just appearing at the beginning and end of transactions. They are also great value for money given the level of service provided when compared to many of their competitors in the market.” 

“Extremely responsive, took the lead in driving negotiations, commercial and practical and understood our needs.” 

Private equity 

“Mayer Brown supports our growing business and has always been responsive, effective and proactive during various transactions.” 

“Outstanding and responsive service, very professional, deep knowledge in fund structuring and tax.” 

‘Highly responsive, experienced with negotiation of complicated business deals, thorough, professional analysis of contract terms.” 

“Very comprehensive work given the tight time.” 

“Extremely responsive. Explains complex matters in a way that is easy to understand and presents simplified options to resolve problems.” 

Alan Linning 

“Wealth of knowledge, responsive and accessible.”  

Hannah Ha 

“Good legal knowledge, professional, quick responses to my request and has commercial sense.” 

“Highly professional, responsive and a creative problem solver.”  

Jason Elder  

“Jason Elder is excellent. He is responsive, commercial, and practical. He has an exceptional understanding of us as a client and understands the challenges of internal stakeholder management making the job of an in-house counsel easier.”  

Mark Uhrynuk  

“Mark has guided our business through a number of increasingly significant and complex transactions as our business has grown. Mark provides top-notch advice, with a real sense of what we need to achieve for our business to succeed and how to help us get there.”  

“Very smart, solutions-driven and client-service orientation.”  

“Extensive M&A experience and highly commercial feedback.”  

“Extremely responsive, took the lead in driving negotiations, commercial and practical and understood our needs.”  

Robert Woll  

“Systematic, responsive.”  

Steven Tran  

“Impeccable client service and responsiveness. Always on-top of the key issues, but also recognises if there is an area that he is not an expert in and is the first to introduce us to someone who is (but maintains the relationship with us as the client and ensures quality of work of his partners). One of the hardest working lawyers I have known, willing to work all-hours, weekends, and public holidays - to get the job done. Very pragmatic and commercial and able to spot which are the important issues for us, which can be traded for other things we want and always meets deadlines. Steven is one of the best PE/M&A lawyers in town, with a work ethic and passion for his clients that is second to none. I would not hesitate to recommend Steven for any job.”  

“Extremely responsive, hard-working, depth of knowledge and experience which he brings to bear in a very effective way. Steven is skilled at problem solving and explains complex matters in ways that are easy to understand. Helps cut to a solution.”  

Susanne Harris  

“The partner I work with (Susanne Harris) is excellent. She's very responsive, is very focused and knowledgeable about us as a client, and works tirelessly to achieve the best outcome for us as a client.”  

Vincent Sum  

“Vincent was very strong at providing practical cost effective legal solutions.” 

Merits & Tree

Merits & Tree Law Offices was initially established in 2006 under the name Beijing Hawkhigh Law Offices until it was renamed in 2017. It has offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Zhuhai. 

It is a relatively young law firm in China but continues to develop rapidly. The firm’s strength is in handling private equity and investment funds mandates.  

Key clients of Merits & Tree include Sequoia Capital, Gree, CEC, COFCO, Greenland and Southwest Securities.

During the research period, the firm was involved Merits & Tree acted in a spate of private equity mandates in the technology sector, assisting clients in various funding rounds and in pre-IPO investments. For example, it advised Neural Galaxy in its angel round financing and also represented Sequoia Capital in its investment in Yonghui Freshfood.

In 2019, the firm brought in private equity partners Li Deyuan and Zhang Yun respectively from Zhong Lun Law Firm and Hillhouse Capital.

Deal highlights

-Ant Financial series D financing 

-Sequoia Capital investment in Yonghui Freshfood

 

SG & Co Lawyers

Established in 2010, SG & Co Lawyers is a Shanghai-based PRC law firm with further offices in Tianjin, Shaoxing and Suzhou.

The firm’s forte is in structured finance and securitisation. Its asset-backed securities (ABS) team has worked on an aggregate value of ABS projects exceeding Rmb458 billion.

Key clients of the firm include China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, SAIC-GMAC, Ping’an International Financial Leasing and Yupei International Holdings.

Over the research period, the firm has been engaged in a spate of securitisation mandates including residential mortgage backed securities, green credit asset backed securities and retail auto loan securitisation mandates. 

Deal highlights

-FITS Jianrong 2019-1 Rmb4.4 billion green credit ABS

-Gongyuan Yiju 2019-3 Rmb15.1 billion RMBS

-Jianyuan 2019-1 Rmb14.4 billion RMBS 

-Jianyuan 2019-6 Rmb11.5 billion RMBS

-Rongteng 2019-2/3 Rmb16 billion retail auto loan securitisation

-Shaoxing Keqiao State-Owned Asset Investment Management Group 2019-1 Rmb250 million asset-backed notes

 

Shihui Partners

Established in 2016, Shihui Partners is a relatively new PRC law firm with offices in Beijing and Shanghai.

It is dedicated to providing legal services for the new economy with core practices in private equity, investment funds and capital markets. 

Key clients of the firm include JD Healthcare, Baibu, Jingdong Group, Meetyou, Xianfeng Qiyun and Kafang Tech.

During the research period the firm was highly active in advising its clients in various funding rounds, US dollar and health care fundraisings, and in domestic and overseas listings in Hong Kong and the US.

The firm is also in growth mode and brought in partners Xiaomei Li and Jian Zhang from Commerce & Finance and Xiaochen Zhang from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. 

Deal highlights

-Beijing Jingdong Century Trading Rmb8 billion bond issue

-JD Healthcare $1 billion series A financing

-Meetyou SSE Star Market IPO

-Next Data $73 million series C financing 

-Zhongneng.com $50 million series B financing 

Client feedback

Capital markets: Equity

“Shihui doesn't only offer different suggestions but plans from our point of view and provides proactive suggestions.” 

Xiaoqing Wang

“Timely responses, rich experience, and thorough explanations

 

Tahota Law Firm

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Tahota Law Firm is a western Chinese firm that was established in 2000 and has since grown encompass 1500 lawyers and offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guiyang, Jinan, Kunming, Lhasa, Tianjin, Xi'an, Taiyuan, Xining, Nanjing, Wuhan, Haikou, Hong Kong, Washington DC, Sydney and Kathmandu.

Tahota’s traditional strength is in banking and finance, M&A, capital markets, and cross-border investment and financing, and it has recently sought to develop its corporate compliance, internet finance, securitisation and blockchain businesses.

Key clients of the firm include China Development Bank, Chengdu Santai Holding Group, Yunnan provincial government, Chengdu Tianfu New Area Investment Group, Power China Real Estate Group, Vanke (Chengdu) Enterprise, Chongqing Yukang Equity Investment Fund Management and China Chengda Engineering.

The firm has had a busy year advising on investments and acquisitions in the real estate, agriculture, retail, gas, forestry and transport sectors. Its finance practice has advised on the provision of a range of loan facilities, real estate finance, and in government, corporate and US dollar bond issues.

In the research period, the firm strengthened its finance practice with the hires of partners Zhang Jiaxiang from Zhong Lun Law Firm and Tan Weiye from Zhong Rui Law Firm. Private equity partners Zhang Kaixiang and Zhang Hui also respectively joined from Zhong Lun Law Firm and Zhongrui Law Firm.

Deal highlights

-Chengdu Tianfu New Area Investment Group $300 million 4.65% bond issue

-Chongqing Yukang Jianxin equity investment fund

-EMBA Electricity Production $1.4 billion loan facility 

-Power China Real Estate Group Rmb8.2 billion acquisition of seven real estate development companies

-Russia nahodka chemical fertilizer methanol project

Tian Yuan Law Firm

Formed in 1992, Beijing-based Tian Yuan Law Firm was one of the earliest partnership law firms in China. The firm has since grown to have over 100 partners and more than 500 practitioners across additional offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Hangzhou, Xi'an and Haikou. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is best known for its capital markets, M&A and projects work and its funds and private equity practices have been gaining traction of late. It has expertise in the education, healthcare, construction, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, technology and real estate sectors. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Export-Import Bank of China, China Fortune Land Development, Morgan Stanley Asia, Chengdu Ziguang Integrated Circuit Industry Fund, China Yangtze Power, IDG Capital, Sinohydro Corporation and Shougang Group.  

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm’s capital markets practice has been very active advising on a number of China, Hong Kong and US IPOs alongside convertible and US dollar bond issues.

In M&A, the firm kept busy with backdoor listings, mergers, investments, corporate restructuring mandates, mixed ownership reform projects, take-privates, and acquisitions in the energy, education, technology, healthcare, chemicals, real estate and electronics industries. 

The projects team has been busy with outbound project and trade finance, while the private equity team has increased visibility assisting clients in various rounds of funding and in funds work. 

The firm bolstered its equity capital markets practice in 2019 with the hires of partners Nan Li from Paul Hastings, Jean Yu from Clifford Chance, Lindsay Gao from Sidley Austin and Charles Wang from Herbert Smith Freehills. The private equity team welcomed in partner Haikun Huang.

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Chengdu Ziguang Integrated Circuit Industry Fund

-China Yangtze Power $3.6 billion acquisition of 83.6% stake in Luz Del Sur

-Haier Biomedical SSE STAR Market IPO

-Hansoh Pharmaceutical HKSE IPO

-Huohua Siwei $85 million series D financing 

-NetEase Youdao NYSE IPO

-Sino Biopharmaceutical €750 million zero-interest convertible bond issue

-Sinohydro Corporation $2 billion Ghana infrastructure construction package-deal EPC and financing 

Zhong Lun Law Firm

Zhong Lun Law Firm was established in 1993 and was among the first private law partnerships in China. It has since grown to become one of the largest firms in the jurisdiction with 2100 professionals including 340 partners. The firm has domestic offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu, Chongqing, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Haikou and overseas offices in Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Almaty. 

The firm excels in aviation and project finance with additional strength in private equity, securitisation matters, and in the equity capital markets where it advises Chinese companies on offerings and listings of A-shares, H-shares, and other equity shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, Shenzhen Stock Exchange, and overseas exchanges.

Key clients of the firm include Ascent Real Estate Investors, Laos-China Railway Company, Pfizer, China Railway Signal and Communication Corporation, Ascendent Capital Partners and PowerChina RoadBridge Group.

The firm’s projects practice was busy during the research period advising on PPPs and road, rail, real estate, industrials, power and social infrastructure mandates. The M&A team was preoccupied with joint ventures, corporate restructuring mandates and acquisitions in the technology, real estate, healthcare, solar, construction, logistics and manufacturing sectors.

The capital markets practice handled IPOs in China, Hong Kong and the US alongside large corporate bond issues, while the finance practice advised on acquisition and leveraged finance mandates, and outbound project finance. In private equity, the firm assisted its clients in various funding rounds and investments.  

Deal highlights

-China Railway Signal and Communication Corporation SSE STAR Market IPO

-Dinghao Electronics Plaza $1.34 billion acquisition financing

-Hunliji $70 million series D financing 

-NXP Semiconductors $1.76 billion acquisition of Marvell’s wireless connectivity portfolio assets

-Wuxi to Jiangyin intercity rail transport PPP

Client feedback 

Financial services regulatory 

“Efficient and constructive advice on risk control.” 

“Efficient and constructive legal service.” 

“The law firm provides a very good service and professional skills.” 

M&A 

“Assisted in the whole process of the acquisition, from due diligence, SPA negotiation to deal completion. The work Zhong Lun’s team did was beyond our expectations in their consistent high work quality and patience shown during the long transaction period.” 

“Leading partner, Mr Zhe, led his team to provide quality legal services to us. Zhe is a very hands-on partner with sound legal background and strong legal technicality. He always thinks ahead of us and prepares different options for us to consider in advance.” 

Real estate 

“While we designed the transaction structure, Zhong Lun's lawyer helped us. In this deal, we had some legal points to break through, and they recommended that we break the deal into two steps, so that finally it came through.” 

Lefan Gong 

“He not only has good experience, but also has professional skills.” 

Liu Xinyu 

“Provided up to date advice on financial regulatory change.” 

“Constructive, efficient advice on the recent financing supervisory regulations.” 

Yi Shi and Peng Mi 

“They are responsive and responsible when we have any problems to solve.” 

Zhang Yijao 

“She assisted in the whole transaction and was able to provide prompt responses.” 

Chance Bridge Partners

Established in 2011, Chance Bridge Partners is a Beijing-based PRC law firm that is a member of the Chinese legal network Sino-Global Legal Alliance (SGLA) and global law firm network Alliott Global Alliance. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm’s core focus is in M&A, capital markets, derivatives, cross-border investment and financing, compliance, construction engineering and real estate.

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Beijing Capital Land Culture Technology Development, Xiabu Xiabu Catering Management, China Minsheng Banking Corporation, Xiamen International Bank and Zhongshan Securities.  

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm kept busy advising on corporate and green bonds, investments, securitisation transactions, mixed ownership projects, and acquisitions in the cultural space, food and beverage, construction, tourism, real estate and aviation. 

The firm was on a hiring spree in 2019 and brought in partners Huang Sizhe and Zhang Honghao from JunHe Law Firm, Hu Gang from Grandway Law Offices, Xu Guannan from Hawtai Motor Finance, Wang Liyong from Bejing Langshi Law Firm, Zheng Naiquan from Zhongsheng Law Firm, Hua Hua from People's Public Security University of China and Xin Jiehan from Weiheng Law Firm. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Beijing Jingang Construction seventh branch / Shanghai Mingda Biotechnology merger 

-Beijing State-owned Capital Management Center of Chaoyang District acquisition of Beijing Orient Landscape & Environment

-Xiabu Xiabu Catering Management Rmb80 million acquisition of Xilinguole Yishun Halal Meat 

Clifford Chance

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

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)

Banking

“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.”

Investment funds

“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.”

M&A

“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.”

Private equity

“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.”

CM Law Firm

Established in 2018, CM Law Firm is an eight partner and 50-lawyer-strong Shanghai-based PRC law firm with a further office in Beijing. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is focussed on early-stage financing, pre-IPO investment, IPOs, secondary market financing and facilitating domestic and cross-border private equity transactions.

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Futu Securities International, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Cloopen, Kintor Pharmaceutical, Zhejiang Energy and Credit Suisse. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm assisted its clients in various rounds of funding, including pre-IPO, and advised on Chinese and US IPOs, convertible bonds and energy acquisitions.

The firm opened up a new office in Beijing in October 2019. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020) 

-Douyu Nasdaq IPO

-Futu Holdings Nasdaq IPO

-Joyy $1 billion dual-tranche (0.75%, 1.375%) convertible bond issue

-Know Box $100 million series D financing

-So-young Nasdaq IPO

-Zhejiang Energy $233 million acquisition of 29% stake in Jinjiang Environment 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Capital markets: Equity

“The firm has in-depth knowledge about regulatory matters regarding financial services in China, and can provide valuable advice to us. In addition, the team of CM law firm has a good sense of balance of legal risk and commercial needs, and can always give advice fitting our needs.” 

CMS

CMS is a German-based full service law firm with over 4800 lawyers across 17 independent member law firms with more than 70 offices globally. It services its Greater China interested clients from its offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. CMS Hong Kong entered into an association with Shirley Lau & Co in May 2018. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm’s core focus is on corporate matters and it handles M&A, IPOs, joint ventures, wholly owned foreign enterprises and holding companies, legal due diligence, restructuring, corporate finance, corporate governance and compliance, spin-offs and liquidations across the automotive, pharma and biotech, machinery and equipment, manufacturing, chemical and technology sectors.

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include SMA Solar Technology and Colgate Palmolive Company. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm kept busy advising on joint ventures, inbound investments and acquisitions in the renewable energy and life sciences sectors.  

In 2019, the firm’s Shanghai corporate team was bolstered with the addition of counsel Stephen Wu from Taylor Wessing. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Colgate Palmolive Company €1.5 billion acquisition of Laboratoires Filorga Cosmetiques 

Cuatrecasas

Cuatrecasas is a Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American focused firm with over 1000 lawyers across 14 countries. The firm opened an office in Shanghai in 2007 followed by Beijing in 2017.

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is focused on assisting its Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American clients in carrying out investments in China and regional countries and advising private and state-owned Chinese companies on investments in Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries. It has expertise in the manufacturing, renewable energy, life sciences and technology sectors. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include SEAT, Laboratorios Isdin, Shenzhen Ellassay Fashion, Jinko Solar, Wallbox, Mondragon Assembly and Maier. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm kept busy advising clients on investments, joint ventures, incorporation and acquisitions in the automotive, cosmetics, fashion, solar and industrial industries. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Ardian Infraestructure and White Summit Capital €125 million 51% acquisition of Novasol Invest La Isla

-Mondragon Assembly €3.5 million acquisition of 12000 square metre plot in Qiandeng (Kunshan) industrial park

-Shenzhen Ellassay Fashion acquisition of 43% stake in IRO Group

Davis Polk & Wardwell

Davis Polk & Wardwell is a New York-headquartered law firm with 982 lawyers across 10 offices in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Catering to its clients with Chinese interests the firm has offices in Hong Kong and Beijing.

In Hong Kong and China the firm is best known for its equity and debt capital markets work, M&A and private equity across the technology media and telecommunications, banking, consumer goods, energy, healthcare and real estate sectors.

Key clients of the firm include LIZHI, Venus Medtech (Hangzhou), Tencent Holdings, China Yongda Automobiles Services Holdings, Tianfeng Securities, CNOOC, Baidu Holdings and I Squared Capital. 

In the past 12 months, the capital markets team has kept busy advising on Hong Kong and New York IPOs, private placements, secondary offerings, bond issues including high-yield and convertible issuances. 

In private equity the firm has assisted clients in various rounds of funding and its corporate team has acted in take-private mandates, investments, joint ventures and acquisitions in the automotive, logistics, energy and healthcare sectors. 

Deal highlights

-China Yongda Automobiles Services Holdings $116 million acquisition of Inchcape Asia Pacific

-CITIC Capital Acquisition NYSE IPO

-I-Mab Nasdaq IPO

-JD.com $1 billion dual-tranche (3.375%, 4.125%) bond issue 

-Petronas $300 million acquisition of Amplus Energy Solutions

-Tuhu Car $300 million series F financing 

-Venus Medtech HKSE IPO

-Xi’an Aerospace High-Tech Industry Development $100 million 6.50% bond issue

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Capital markets: Debt 

“We have been in a good relationship since 2017 when we had our first USD issuance. Davis Polk & Wardwell explains everything professionally and with great patience. The lawyer understands well the cultural difference and hence develops good communication between the issuer and the underwriters.”

“Professionalism as always.”

“DPW is professional, knowledgeable and very familiar with the transactions structures and potential issues.”

“Thought leaders in the field. Gerhard knows the law inside out and pairs that with an astutely commercial take on things, recognising that in Asia there are always complicating factors. At the same time, he's also always willing to provide his views even on trades where DPW are not formally engaged and they are an invaluable source in that respect. They are generally timely in their work product and it is of a high quality.”

M&A

“They are efficient, prompt to respond, responsible and proactive.”

Deacons

Established in 1851, Deacons is Hong Kong’s oldest and largest law firm with 300 lawyers and further offices in Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai. The firm has connections with independent law firms across the world through its membership of legal networks such as Lex Mundi, Interlex, World Services Group and Employment Law Alliance.

Focusses / specialisms

Deacons has the largest investment funds team in Hong Kong and dominates in retail funds. It covers PRC-related funds and mandatory provident funds (MPF), which are unique to Hong Kong. The firm also has strong capital markets, corporate and regulatory practices.

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Manulife, Kerry Logistics Network, Bank of China, BNP Paribas Securities, Mirae Asset Global Investments, Janus Henderson Management and The Bank of East Asia. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

The firm’s capital markets team kept busy advising on Hong Kong IPOs, PRC sovereign bond issues and programme updates. 

The firm’s funds team were preoccupied advising on ETFs, ESG funds and SFC authorised funds alongside money market funds, ICITS funds and private equity strategy.  

The corporate practice acted on take-privates, disposals, investments, corporate restructuring mandates and acquisitions in logistics, technology, retail, healthcare and financial services, while the regulatory team provided compliance, corporate governance and SFC-related advice.  

In 2019 the firm brought in regulatory partner Stephen Tisdall from the Securities and Futures commission.

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Horizon Global Sustainable Equity Fund

-Huijing Holdings Company HKSE IPO

-JY Grandmark Holdings HKSE IPO

-Mirae Asset Horizons China Biotech ETF

-Manfield Chemical HK$790 million acquisition of 51% stake in Mao Hong Information Technology Holding

-Ministry of Finance of the PRC Rmb9.5 billion sovereign bond issue

-Wharf Real Estate Investment Company $300 million 2.50% bond issue

-Wheelock and Company HK$47.5 take-private  

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Banking

“Sharp and right to the point advice.”

Investment funds 

“Good understanding of regulations and trends, market practice.”

“Deacons are very familiar with the regulatory requirements, development and market practice. Their team of professionals are very supportive and can provide useful advice to assist us in fulfilling the necessary regulatory requirements while being able to accommodate commercial needs.”

“Timely and practical advice, client-focused, awareness of market practice and solid understanding of regulator's expectations.”

“Deacons was able to indicate the gap between the market practice and the already outdated regulatory requirements. Deacons was very practical and has strong knowledge in operation of the fund industry.”

“Responsive, multidisciplinary, well connected to the regulator and on top of recent regulatory changes.”

“The firm knows our business well and their advice is based on this intimate knowledge of what we need and what works and what does not work for us.” 

Debevoise & Plimpton

Debevoise & Plimpton is a New York-based global law firm with 655 lawyers across 10 offices in the US, Europe and Asia. The firm services its clients with Chinese interests from its offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Debevoise & Plimpton is transactionally strongest in strategic and private equity, M&A and private funds. 

Key clients of the firm include Carlyle Group, Alibaba Group, Baring Private Equity Partners Asia, Ontario Teachers Plan Pension Board, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Wilsonart International.

During the research period, the firm handled large private equity fund formation and secondaries matters alongside take-privates, joint ventures, recapitalisations, restructuring mandates and acquisitions in the healthcare, consumer goods, retail, agriculture, chemicals and insurance industries. 

Deal highlights

-Anta Sports Products $5.15 billion acquisition of Amer Sports 

-Baring Private Equity Asia Fund VII

-MYOB Group $1.2 billion take-private

-National Investment and Infrastructure Fund  

-New Frontier Corporation $1.44 billion acquisition of United Family Healthcare

-WeWork Companies restructuring 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Investment funds

“Know us and the market norms very well; extremely efficient in their work; proactive and strong advocates for their clients.”

“Technically very sound and great depth in domain knowledge and experience. Excellent turnaround times.”

“Technically excellent and good, in-depth understanding of the private equity industry.”

“Practical advice and prompt responses”

M&A

“Responsive, understands clients’ goals.”

Private equity 

“Good market intel. Responsiveness. Professional with good technical knowledge.”

“Very responsive and worked to tight capped fee estimates.” 

“Proactive, commercial, tailors work to the client and remembers previous deals and positions. User friendly.” 

Dorsey & Whitney

Dorsey & Whitney is a US-based law firm with over 500 lawyers across 19 offices in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. In Asia the firm has offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. 

From its Hong Kong office the firm is transactionally known for its India-focused capital markets practice alongside its China practice. It had been building its India debt capital markets since 2018.

Key clients of the firm include Indian Railway Finance Corporation, Eight Roads Ventures and Citicorp International. 

In the research period, the team was kept busy with Rule 144A offerings, block trades, and high-yield bond issues. 

The firm was recently hit by the departure of partner David Cameron to Candy Pang & Co. 

Deal highlights

-Fidelity International $32 million block trade

-Indian Railway Finance Corporation $1 billion dual-tranche (3.249%, 3.95%) bond issue

-Vedanta Resources $1 billion high-yield bond issue 

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland is the result of a 2017 merger between law firms Eversheds and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan. It has over 2800 lawyers and 68 offices across 32 countries. The firm serves its clients with China interests from its offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.

In Hong Kong the firm is most active in handling structured finance and securitisation mandates and has expertise in contentious and non-contentious restructuring and insolvency-related matters.

Key clients of the firm include Hong Kong Capital Finance Corporation, Meritz Securities, Oceanwide Holdings, DBS Bank, HSBC, Gibson Innovations and Liberty Group.

In the past 12 months, the team has kept busy advising on RMBS mandates and Korean securitsation mandates, public to private structured financing, trade recievables and derivatives matters. The restructuring and insolvency team has handled Indian mandates, and matters in consumer goods, retail and mining. 

In 2019, the team was bolstered with the relocation of partner Alex Doughty from the London office and the hire of of counsel Simon Barrell from Shearman & Sterling. 

Deal highlights

-Adhunik and Zion Metals NLCT insolvency 

-Gibson Innovations insolvency 

-HKCFC HK$1.7 billion RMBS securitisation

-Manley Toys insolvency

-Meritz Securities HK$1.3 billion Korean securitisation warehousing transaction

-Springland International Holdings HK$4.5 billion public-to-private structured financing 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Banking

“The firm understands commercial realities and offers practical advice and solutions to assist the bank.”

“Can provide timely responses and is flexible in budgeting.”

“Kingsley Ong led the Eversheds team and did a remarkable job. They were very efficient and responsive to requests and comments.  Legal advice is always on-point and practical solutions offered.”

Capital markets: Debt

“They are very responsive, supportive and focused. They tried to find the work that they could do for their clients.”

Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation

“Eversheds has a very steady and logical approach, which engenders confidence. They have plenty of market knowledge and experience and this allows them to provide helpful and innovative solutions. They are proactive and their turnaround is fast. Overall, a top notch product.”

“The law firm is pragmatic, commercial and responsive.”

“The deal went through numerous negotiations, comments, and editing. Eversheds quickly reviewed and responded with recommended ideas and comments.”

“Overall quality of the advice has been off the charts. Substantial experience, which has been market-proven, in this structured financing involving the residential mortgage market has been clearly differentiated, and the level of proactive support throughout the entire deal process has been truly instrumental.”

“Strong local and international market knowledge with good grasp of structuring concepts and the ability to properly document these.”

Restructuring and insolvency

“Clear advice which avoids jargon and pompous legal jargon.”

“Three key attributes are: the team's appreciation of the position and perspectives of administrators/liquidators which contributed to their quick and sharp response to the issues we raised; the ability to mobilise and draw on their local expertise in UK and China has been very helpful in dealing with issues which have arisen in the course of the liquidation; and the multi-lingual ability of the team. They were able to support us in meetings conducted in Cantonese, Putonghua and English.”

“Very responsive and provides a fairly valuable service.”

FenXun Partners

Established in Beijing in 2009, FenXun Partners is a PRC law firm with 140 fee earners, 30 partners and further offices in Shanghai and Qionghai. In 2015 Baker McKenzie FenXun (FTZ) Joint Operation Office was jointly established by FenXun and Baker McKenzie as the first joint operation approved by the Shanghai Justice Bureau.

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is focused on M&A, foreign direct investment, capital markets, asset securitisation, investment funds, private equity, competition and finance, and has expertise in financial services and real estate.

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Nashwork, Chongqing Baidu Microfinance, Herald International Financial Leasing, Huarong Rongde Asset Management, Whirlpool and GlaxoSmithKline. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm has been very active advising on securitisation transactions, corporate bond issues, share issues, joint ventures, private equity financing and acquisitions in the consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, hotel, data and automotive industries. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Borgward restructuring

-Cinda Xinze Rmb60 billion 2019 First Period ABS series projects

-CITIC Securities-Jingdong Rmb5 billion Digital Technology Beneficial Interests No.3 Term 1-5 ABS Project

-Huarong Rongde Asset Management Rmb6 billion bond issue

-Nidec Corporation $1.1 billion acquisition of Whirlpool’s Embraco business 

Garrigues

Formed in 1941, Garrigues is a Spanish law firm with 2000 employees and further offices in 12 countries including Portugal, the UK and US. It became the first Spanish law firm to establish an office in Shanghai in 2005 and more recently opened up in Beijing in 2015.

Focusses / specialisms

In China the firm is focused on advising on FDI projects and M&A deals across sectors such as automotive, banking, pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, tourism, manufacturing, transport and logistics. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Cecotec Innovaviones, Sherpa Capital, Alfil Logistics, Puig International, Plasbox, Fundación Tecnalia Research & Innovation and Soltec Energías Renovables.

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm kept busy advising clients on corporate matters, incorporation, restructuring, investments, FDI, joint ventures and acquisitions in the manufacturing and engineering industries. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Fundación Tecnalia Research & Innovation Rmb2 million investment

-Sherpa Capital restructuring

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Established in 1890, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher is a Los Angeles-based international law firm with over 1300 lawyers across 20 global offices. The firm’s Hong Kong office opened in 2010 and works closely with its other Asian offices in Beijing and Singapore. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm offers US, Hong Kong and English law advice to its global and Asia-based clients and is best known for its private equity, investment funds, M&A, projects and leveraged finance work.

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include I Squared Capital, Bain Capital, Hahn & Company, NetEase, Manila Electric Company, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation and IPI Partners. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm kept busy assisting clients on various funding rounds, Covid-19 related investments, joint ventures, take-privates and acquisitions in the private equity, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, technology, infrastructure, gaming, industrial and education industries. 

The funds team kept active acting in private equity fund formation mandates and other US dollar funds and funds in special situations, venture capital and real estate.

The finance team was active in leveraged finance and the projects practice was mainly engaged in outbound work and PPPS in South East Asia, especially in the Philippines, and in China in aviation, transport, real estate and waste.

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Alibaba Group $2 billion acquisition of Kaola

-Boyu Capital Fund IV

-Hahn & Company III and Side Car Fund

-I Squared Capital A$160 million acquisition of three Telstra data centres

-MRT-7 project

-Platinum Equity $630 million acquisition of Lonza water care business

-Ver Se Innovation $35 million series F financing  

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Investment funds 

“Technically competent, very good cross cultural (both local/regional/global) understanding. Strong communicators, very proactive in follow ups.” 

HM Chan & Co in association with Taylor Wessing

HM Chan & Co is a Hong Kong transactional boutique that formed an association with international firm Taylor Wessing in 2016.  Taylor Wessing has over 1100 across 16 jurisdictions in Asia, Europe and the Middle East including offices in Shanghai and Beijing. 

In Hong Kong, the firm is most active in the equity capital markets, M&A, private equity, venture capital and the regulatory space. 

Key clients of the firm include Southwest Securities, Ballas Capital, Acute Peak Investments, Earn World Enterprises, Music Sales Corporation, Recaro Aircraft Seating International and Chapman Freeborn.

During the research period, the firm handled Hong Kong IPOs and GEM listings, trade sales, private equity acquisitions, share acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures and other acquisitions in the technology, aviation, financial services and food and beverage industries. It also assisted its clients in various rounds of funding. 

Deal highlights

-Design Capital HKSE IPO

-Earn World Enterprises HK$210 million acquisition of 70% stake in Earn World Development

-Hevol Services Group HKSE IPO

-Parsons Music acquisition of MusicFirst Junior 

-Shinelong Automotive Lightweight Application HKSE IPO

-Wynnchurch Capital acquisition of America II Group and Advanced MP Group

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Capital markets: Equity

“They are highly experienced, diligent and professional.”

M&A

“A lean team that is responsive and provides effective advice.” 

JunZeJun Law Offices

Established in 1995, JunZeJun Law Offices is among the earliest formed partnership law firms in China and is headquartered in Beijing. It has 10 further offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Nanjing, Chengdu, Changsha, Changchun, Zhuhai and Hong Kong.

The firm is traditionally known for its strong aviation finance practice but it also has a strong debt capital markets practice and is active in the equity and securitisation space.

Key clients of the firm include Bank of China, CMB Financial Leasing, Export Import Bank of China, AAC Technology Holdings, Suoxinda Holdings, Beijing Infrastructure Investment and Beijing Huitongtianxia Logistics and Technology.

In the research period, the firm has kept active with aviation finance, debt finance and project loan work. Its debt capital markets team was preoccupied with Covid-19 themed bond issuances, green bonds and belt and road bonds, while the equity team handled IPOs and rights offerings. 

Deal highlights

-Bank of China $3.8 billion belt and road bond issue

-Bank of China MUP5 billion anti-Covid-19 bond issue

-Suoxinda Holdings HKSE IPO

-Jiangsu Seagull Cooling Rmb163 million rights issue

Client feedback 

Asset finance 

“They are technically very strong and responsive to queries as well as working to tight deadlines.” 

Judy Tan 

“Very responsive, commercially sensible and technically strong.”

 

K&L Gates

K&L Gates is a US-based international law firm with 45 further offices across Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. The firm assists its clients with Greater China interests from its offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei. 

Its lawyers instruct on cross-border transactional, regulatory, and contentious matters, but are especially active in corporate and M&A. 

Key clients of the firm include Koppers, TCL Holdings, Greentown Education Investment, Luye Medical, KaiOS Technology, Bluescope Steel and DIC Corporation. 

Over the research period the firm kept itself busy with corporate advice and restructuiring mandates, joint ventures, investments, stake sales and acquistions in the chemicals and financial services sectors. 

In 2019, the firm hired partner Guiping Lu from Haiwen & Partners and saw Grace Fan-Delatour depart for White & Case. 

Deal highlights

-Greentown Service Group A$67 million acquisition of 56% stake in Montessori Academy Group

-Fangda Carbon New Material and C-Chem $107 million acquisition of Koppers (Jiangsu) Carbon Chemical Company 

-KaiOS Technology restructuring 

King & Wood Mallesons

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) is a Hong Kong-based international firm that was formed as a merger between PRC firm King & Wood, Australian firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques, and UK firm SJ Berwin. It has over 2000 lawyers and 23 offices worldwide. Apart from Hong Kong the firm also has mainland offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Haikou, Hangzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Qingdao, Sanya, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Suzhou.

Focusses / specialisms

The Sino-Australian venture is a dominant player in China’s legal market. It is the only international firm that can practise PRC law and so a go-to counsel for A-Share, H-Share, and panda bond transactions. The firm is also strong in projects, private equity, finance, M&A, and structured finance and securitisation—especially in Korean cross-border ABS deals, cross-border auto loan securitisations and retail structured products. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Castle Peak Power Company, CEIEC, China General Nuclear Power Corporation, CSSC Shipping, Zhong An Technology group, Shui On Land, Pamfleet, Ningxia Tianyuan Logistics Group and Shandong Chenming Paper Holdings.

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

The firm’s corporate team kept busy with joint ventures, inbound work and acquisitions in the mining, automotive, technology, education, tourism, manufacturing, fashion and beverage sectors. 

KWM’s finance practice was preoccupied with conventional lending mandates, outbound and acquisition financings, real estate and aviation finance. 

In capital markets the firm advised on Hong Kong, China and US IPOs, dim sum bonds, US dollar bonds, panda bonds, exchangeable bonds, capital bonds and convertible bonds. 

The private equity team assisted clients in acquisitions and various rounds of funding, while the funds piece acted in renminbi and US dollar funds, investments, LP work and AI funds.  

During the research period the firm bolstered its finance team with the hire of partner Katherine Ke from Clifford Chance; welcomed capital markets expert Jason Kuo from Paul Hastings; and boosted its contentious regulatory practice with partner Rachel Yu from Herbert Smith Freehills.  

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-BOC Macau $68 million aircraft financing 

-Castle Peak Power Company HK$4.3 billion revolving and term loan facilities 

-China General Nuclear Power Corporation $600 million 2.75% green bond issue 

-CMH Healthcare Fund 

-CSSC Shipping HKSE IPO

-Ghana Western Railway Line BOT

-Poly Property HKSE IPO

-Sino Energy International Holdings Group insolvency

-Strong Day Holdings HK$283 million acquisition of Dining Concepts Holdings

-TPV Technology HK$4.6 billion take-private  

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Banking

“Extremely localised in China with fast and accurate responses.”

Capital markets: Debt

“The firm is professional.”

M&A

“KWM has vast resources which are well deployed and managed. They are committed and highly responsive. They are experts in law but their commercial, pragmatic approach means it is deftly applied. They have regard not just to the law as written but how it is applied by regulators and the social, economic and political shifts which influence issues and the development of new regulatory approaches.”

“KWM showed a deep knowledge on both M&A transactions and capital markets.” 

Kirkland & Ellis

Established in 1909, Kirkland & Ellis (K&E) is a Chicago-based law firm with 2300 lawyers and 15 offices worldwide.  The firm caters to its clients with an interest in Greater China from its offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is best known for its strength in private equity and restructuring work, but it also has solid corporate, capital markets and investment funds practices and a growing regulatory presence. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Warburg Pincus, Showa Denko, Ascendent Capital Partners, KKR, Hammer Capital, China Minsheng Investment Group and Bain Capital. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

The firm’s corporate team kept busy handling a spate of take-private mandates, joint ventures, investments and acquisitions in the chemicals, gaming, retail, aviation and data centre industries.  

The restructuring team were preoccupied with bondholder work, financial restructuring mandates, Indian restructuring work and retail bankruptcies.  

In funds the firm advised on mega private equity funds, healthcare and venture capital funds, real estate funds and LP work.  

The capital markets team acted in Hong Kong and New York IPOs, follow on offerings, corporate and convertible bond issuances, while the finance team acted on sponsor side leveraged financing.  

K&E’s capital markets team was bolstered by the hire of partner Yazhe Liu from Davis Polk & Wardwell.  

The firm’s finance team was hit with the departures of partners David Irvine to Linklaters’ banking practice in London, Daniel Abercromby to Weil Gotshal & Manges and David Couper to Allens. 

Partner Yue Zhang left the investment funds practice for Fangda Partners, and partner Agnes Li departed to SoftBank Vision Fund.  

Restructuring partner Damien Coles also left the firm and partner Robert Sandes relocated to its London office. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-China Biologic Products Holdings $4.6 billion take-private

-C-Bridge Healthcare Fund IV

-ESR Cayman HKSE IPO

-iKang Healthcare Group $1.5 billion take-private 

-NVC International Holdings Rmb2.9 billion acquisition financing 

-Showa Denko $8.9 billion acquisition of Hitachi Chemical Company 

-Toys “R” Us insolvency

-Wynn Macau $1 billion 5.125% bond issue  

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Financial services regulatory

“Cori Lable has in depth knowledge of the market, legal and regulatory requirements and commercial acumen.”

Restructuring and insolvency

“Very commercial, always available, outstanding service.”

“In-depth knowledge and expertise. Timely interactions and senior partners that are accessible and user friendly with a hands on approach. Very reassuring.” 

Latham & Watkins

Established in California in 1934, Latham & Watkins is an international firm with 2700 lawyers across 29 offices in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The firm’s office in Hong Kong leverages off its Asia network of offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo.  

Focusses / specialisms

Latham & Watkins traditional strength in Hong Kong is in M&A and capital markets, but in recent times, it has made its presence felt in regional private equity, restructuring and insolvency, regulatory and leveraged finance, where it has a unique practice that acts for lenders, sponsors and borrowers.  

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Zhengzhou Zhongrui Industrial Group, China National Chemical Corporation, ESR Cayman, Bank of America, Vipshop Holdings, Huachen Energy and China Life Insurance (Overseas) Company.

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

The firm’s capital markets team kept busy advising on Hong Kong and US IPOs, high-yield bond issuance, corporate and convertible bonds and programme updates. 

In finance the firm acted in a range of conventional finance mandates, lender and sponsor leveraged finance, margin financing and bridge loans. 

The corporate team were busy with take-private mandates, investments, mergers, joint ventures, spin-offs, and acquisitions in the transport, automotive, telecommunications, data centres, healthcare, technology, pharmaceuticals, and food and beverage industries. 

The private equity team assisted clients in various rounds of funding while the regulatory team handled a host of contentious and non-contentious mandates. 

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm acted for bondholders and advised in financial restructuring mandates alongside other matters in energy, mining and medical industries. 

The firm’s corporate team was hit with the departure of its Beijing office managing partner Yilong Du to private equity firm Warburg Pincus. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-China Biologic Products Holdings $4.6 billion take-private

-China National Chemical Corporation $2.5 billion multiple-tranche (3.125%, 3.375%, 3.875%, 4.75%) bond issue 

-Chongqing Sincere Yuanchuang Industrial $230 million 10% high-yield bond issue 

-DouYu International Holdings NYSE IPO

-ESR Cayman HKSE IPO

-Ruangguru $150 million series C financing 

-Shanghai Huaxin insolvency

-Tencent Asset Management $6.5 billion term loan and revolving credit facility 

-Vipshop Holdings Rmb3.4 billion acquisition of Shan Shan Commercial Group 

Morgan Lewis & Bockius

Philadelphia-based Morgan Lewis & Bockius is an international law firm with 2200 lawyers across 31 offices in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The firm services its clients with Greater China interests from its offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.

The firm is strong in equity capital markets, private equity and M&A in the energy, financial services, life sciences, healthcare, manufacturing, real estate, consumer goods, automotive, education and technology sectors. 

Key clients of the firm include China East Education Holdings, Shanghai Gench Education Group, HealthCor Management, Ocean Link Partners, ANTA Sports Products, Warburg Pincus, Sequoia Capital and Gaorong Capital. 

During the research period, the firm kept busy with Hong Kong IPOs, rights and A-share issues. It also assisted its clients with pre-IPO investments and in various rounds of funding, take-privates and acquisitions in the retail, technology and education sectors.

The firm bolstered its M&A team with the hire of of counsel Shi Cheng from Slaughter & May in 2019. 

Deal highlights

-Anta Sports Products $5.15 billion acquisition of Amer Sports 

-China East Education Holdings HKSE IPO

-China Hengshi Foundation $245 million take-private

-CMIC Ocean En-Tech Holding $85 million rights issue

-Sequoia Capital $1.5 billion investment in Chehaoduo Group 

-Shanghai Gench Education Group HKSE IPO

-Ziroom $500 million series B financing 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Capital markets: Equity

“Very commercial, easy to work with and practical in solving issues.”

“Professional, good at structuring the deal and resolving issues.”

“The firm has been very professional in giving suggestions about the project flow, appropriate disclosures and items/clauses that are beneficial to the company. They are really thinking on the client's behalf and been giving workable solutions.”

M&A

“Incredible firm, fast, diligent, looking into details, thinking long term, short term, negotiating on our behalf. Most incredible firm I have ever worked with.”

Private equity 

“Very commercial in structuring legal terms.”

“Very experienced in US privatisation deals which has given us a lot of insight and helpful guidance.”

Morrison & Foerster

Formed in 1883, Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) is a San Francisco-based international law firm with 1000 lawyers and 17 offices across the United States, Asia and Europe. In Greater China, the firm established its Hong Kong office in 1983 followed by Beijing in 1998 and Shanghai in 2003.

Focusses / specialisms

MoFo offers its clients US, English and Hong Kong law advice in China-related matters and excels in the equity capital markets, M&A and private equity.

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Alibaba Group Holding, Softbank Vision Fund, Ascendent Capital Partners, Lvji Technology Holdings, Ally Bridge Group, Shenzhou International Group Holdings and China Harmony New Energy Auto Holding. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm’s equity capital markets practice was active in proposed and realised IPOs, block trades, share placements and non-public A share issuances.

The M&A and private equity team assisted clients in various funding rounds, investments, take-privates, mergers, joint ventures and acquisitions in private equity, technology, education and sports.

The firm bolstered its private equity and M&A practice with the Shanghai hire of partner Ruomu Li from Fenwick & West and the Beijing hire of Lucy Lu from Dechert. Private equity and real estate funds specialist Maureen Ho joined in Hong Kong from Clifford Chance as did capital markets partner Ke Huang from O’Melveny & Myers. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Alibaba Group Holding acquisition of 33% stake in Ant Financial

-China Automation Group HK$392 million take-private

-Klook $225 million series D+ financing 

-Lvji Technology Holdings HKSE IPO

-Shenzhou International Group Holdings HK$3.2 billion block trade

-SoftBank Vision Fund $1.5 billion investment into Chehaoduo 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Asset finance

“Experienced, pragmatic, efficient and good advice.”

Banking

“The team is very helpful in the transaction, namely, thoughtful and commercial on high level issues, highly technical, specific on the details, and persuasive with the counterparty.”

Investment funds

“Solid knowledge in the industry, clear risk analysis, client-friendly and good presentation. They are willing to understand the underlying commercial needs of clients and they will take this into consideration in future projects, which makes it easier to work with them again.” 

Nishimura & Asahi

Nishimura & Asahi is a Big Four Japanese law firm with 530 lawyers across 14 offices including 10 overseas. The firm’s China Practice Group assists its Chinese and Japanese clients with over twenty Chinese lawyers, Japanese lawyers and paralegals across its offices in Beijing and Shanghai that were respectively established in 2010 and 2014. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm offers legal services in Japanese, Chinese and English in various fields of business law between Japan and China such as assisting Japanese clients establishing subsidiaries in China, daily legal support for Chinese subsidiaries, M&A, competition, finance and restructuring. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Suzhou Secote Precision Electronic, RS Technologies, Chuwa Bussan and Beijing Bytedance Technology.

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm kept busy with corporate mandates including regulatory advice and acquisitions in the manufacturing and technology sectors, investments and share acquisitions.

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-RS Technologies $281 million investment in 12-inch silicon wafer project

-Suzhou Secote Precision Electronic $37 million acquisition of Optima 

Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison

Originally founded in 1875, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison is a New York-based international firm with over 1000 lawyers across eight offices. The firm services its Greater China clients from its offices in Beijing and Hong Kong.

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is best known for its private equity work and technology expertise. It also has a strong M&A team alongside a leveraged finance and capital markets practice. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include KKR, APM Monaco, Tencent, IDG Capital, Wumei Holdings, State Grid International Development and Wanda Sports Group. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm kept busy with private equity work, spin offs, investments, stake acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures and other acquisitions in the technology, retail, energy, logistics, education and food and beverage sectors. It also handled leveraged finance mandates and listings in the US. 

In 2019 the firm was hit with the departures of partner Jeanette Chan and Corinna Yu to Airwallex. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-KKR $794 million majority stake acquisition of NVC Lighting’s China lighting business

-State Grid $2.23 billion acquisition of Chilquinta Energía

-Wanda Sports Group Nasdaq IPO

-Wumei $2.1 billion acquisition of Metro AG’s Chinese retail, wholesale and cash and carry operations 

-Zhuan Zhuan $300 million financing  

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

M&A

“As a leading firm, Paul Weiss’s team has helped clients throughout the whole process, including but not limited to due diligence, structure designing, legal document negotiation, working out a closing plan, coordinating local counsel as well as other legal service providers in other jurisdictions.”

Private equity

“Accurate, practical and commercial advice, technically very strong, user friendly and reliable.” 

Proskauer Rose

Proskauer Rose is a New York-headquartered law firm 12 global offices and 725 lawyers. The firm caters to its clients with Chinese interests from its offices in Hong Kong and Beijing. 

From its offices in Hong Kong the firm is best known for its private equity, M&A and regulatory enforcement work.

Key clients of the firm include Grifols, Accor, RRJ Capital, CCB International Asset Management, Greater Bay Area Homeland Development Fund, Adamas Asset Management and Parker-Migliorini International. 

During the research period the firm kept busy with joint ventures, disposals, investments, acquisitions and fund formation mandates in the hotels, real estate, retail, healthcare and fintech sectors alongside SFC investigations and compliance work. 

Deal highlights

-Accor acquisition of Tribe 

-B.M. Group $100 million investment in LVC Super Unicorn Fund

-Greater Bay Area Homeland Development Fund financial technology investment

-Grifols / Shanghai RAAS Blood Products strategic alliance 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Capital markets: Equity

“Knowledgeable, professional, problem solving.”

Financial services regulatory

“The firm is street smart and technically sound.  It has a realistic view of the situation and can provide pragmatic advice.”

Investment funds

“Knowledgeable and thorough.”

“Experienced in fund formation, responsive to clients’ requests and good communication skills.”

M&A

“Responsive, provides timely and practical advice.”

“The Proskauer team serving on our deals was technically strong, very commercial and reliable. The team was led by Ying, a go-to lawyer for cross-border M&A and financing deals in the real estate sector. Ying is a native Chinese with dozens of years of experience advising clients on various cross-border transactions. He really focused on the client's needs and had a great understanding of our business and culture. Ying was very commercial and had a very good insight into the market. He was known for his sharp style at the negotiation table. When negotiating deals for clients, Ying always knew how to maximise the clients' negotiation leverage. Ying was also practical and efficient, and was quick in coming up with solutions that were both commercially and legally sound. We really benefited from his representation.”

Private equity 

“Fast responses, flexible, raise risk awareness and solutions.”

“Knowledgeable, efficient, practical.”

“Professional, responsive and hard working with a good attitude.”

Reed Smith

Reed Smith is an international law firm headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with over 30 offices across the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The firm has over 30 years’ experience in Greater China with its offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.   

Transactionally it is best known for its M&A work acting for private and state-owned PRC entities from its offices in Beijing and Shanghai and advising Hong Kong-listed corporates on Greater China and regional transactions.

Key clients include China Agri-Industries Holdings, Gangtai Group Corporation, E-Commodities Holdings, Shandong Heavy Industry Group, Ali JK Nutritional Products Holding and Automated Systems Holdings. 

During the research period, the M&A team has been busy with take-privates, spin offs, joint ventures, disposals, corporate restructuring mandates and acquisitions in the transport, pharmaceuticals, financial services and automotive industries.

The firm brought in partner Eric Lin from Simmons & Simmons to its office in Beijing.

Deal highlights

-Alibaba Health Information Technology $1 billion acquisition of Ali JK Nutritional Products Holding’s pharmaceutical products, medical devices, and health services businesses 

-China Agri-Industries Holdings $1.2 billion take-private

-Dah Chong Hong Holdings $387 million take-private

-Compagnie Financière Richemont $245 million acquisition of Buccellati Holding Italia 

-Shandong Heavy Industry Group acquisition of China National Heavy Duty Truck Group Company  

Ropes & Gray

Established in 1865, Boston-based Ropes & Gray is an international law firm with over 1400 lawyers and 11 offices across the United States, Asia and Europe. The firm caters to its clients with Greater China interests from its offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong.  

Focusses / specialisms

Ropes & Gray offers Hong Kong, US and English law advice and has an increasingly active sponsor side leveraged finance practice alongside its strong private equity, M&A and fund formation practices. The firm also has a strong restructuring and insolvency team primarily advising bondholders. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Bain Capital, KKR, Alibaba Group, Baring Private Equity Asia, NetEase and Siguler Guff & Company China. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

The M&A and private equity team kept busy with joint ventures, investments, share disposals, PIPEs, exits, spin-offs and acquisitions in the technology and education sectors. 

The funds team handled a lot of GP fund formation work, while the finance team handled sponsor side leveraged finance, and the restructuring team acted in bondholder work, Indian mandates, debt recovery work and financial restructuring matters.    

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Alibaba and Yunfeng Capital $700 million investment in NetEase Cloud Music 

-Bain Capital Credit $320 million investment in CJ Foods America

-Baring Private Equity Asia $1 billion investment in JD Health

-Jindal Steel & Power Australia restructuring 

-LDK Solar insolvency 

-LSA Holdings and LS Automotive Technologies refinancing  

Seyfarth Shaw

Seyfarth Shaw is an international law firm that was founded in Chicago in 1945 by Henry Seyfarth, Lee Shaw, and Owen Fairweather. The firm has an office in Shanghai and in Hong Kong following its establishment of an association with Wong Wan & Partners in 2017.

Traditionally strong in labour and employment the firm’s transactional strength in Hong Kong and mainland China is in the corporate field, particularly in M&A and the equity capital markets.

Key clients of the firm include Beng Soon Machinery Holdings, Persta Resources, Rimbaco, Recruit, Grace Creation Investment, Dspread Payments and NiuTouBang Asset Management.

During the research period the firm kept busy advising on Hong Kong IPOs—and proposed listings—warrant issues, share acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures, corporate restructuring mandates and other acquisitions of insurance brokers and digital payments.

Deal highlights

-Beijing NiuTouBang Asset Management acquisition of Keen Eagle Insurance Brokers

-Beng Soon Machinery Holdings HKSE IPO

-Recruit / Shenzhen Yeahka Technology joint venture

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Capital markets: Equity

“The lawyers possess extensive market experience and are able to provide professional advice from a practical perspective.”

“Highly professional and experienced.”

M&A

“They took a very proactive, balanced and professional approach while giving solutions to our client.” 

SF Lawyers in association with KPMG Law

SF Lawyers is a member of KPMG’s Global Legal Services network that has over 2700 legal professionals across 81 jurisdictions. The affiliated Hong Kong firm SF Lawyers has 10 lawyers and more recently launched in Shanghai with Shanghai SF Lawyers as the English registered name of the independent PRC firm Ruiwei Law Firm. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is focused on cross-border mergers and acquisitions and corporate and commercial legal services.

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation and Wangsu Science & Technology.

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm kept busy advising on acquisitions in the semiconductor, data, logistics and manufacturing industries.

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Bain Capital Investors Rmb990 million acquisition of Wangsu Science & Technology’s IDC business

-China Fortune-Tech Capital $62 million acquisition of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation  

Shearman & Sterling

Shearman & Sterling is a New York-based international law firm with 850 lawyers across 23 offices. The firm’s Hong Kong office leverages off its global and Asia network to carry out transactions in Greater China, South East Asia, Japan, India, Mongolia and South Korea. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has a very strong debt capital markets practice in Hong Kong advising on investment grade and high yield capital markets transactions across the region. The firm also has a diverse funds practice offering private equity and hedge funds expertise to its GP and LP clients, and it has a solid M&A and outbound energy projects practice.

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include China National Petroleum Company International, Joyvio Group, Poly-GCL Petroleum Company, Etihad Airways, Central Retail Corporation Public Company, Nomura International and JPMorgan Securities.

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm’s capital markets team kept busy advising on bond issues, tap offerings and high-yield issuances alongside Hong Kong and US IPOs, including the largest ever IPO in Thailand.   

The M&A team were preoccupied with corporate advisory and restructuring mandates, joint ventures, investments, and acquisitions in the financial services, telecommunications and food and beverage industries, while the private equity practice assisted clients in various funding rounds, investments and regulatory matters. 

The funds team acted in private equity fund formation, early stage technology mandates, LP work and represented sovereign wealth funds and real estate funds. 

The finance practice acted on both the lender and sponsor side, while projects focussed on outbound oil and gas, LNG and mining mandates in Brazil, Africa, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. 

During the research period the firm bolstered its capital market practice with hire of partner Max Hua from Haiwen & Partners, but it was hit with the retirement of long-serving partner Matthew Bersani who has since started his own consultancy. Leveraged finance partner Kenneth Ching also departed for Baker McKenzie. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Birla Carbon $275 million financing 

-Brazil integrated oil & gas refinery

-Central Retail Corporation SET IPO

-CITIC Capital and Frontier Services Group Fund I

-Delhi International Airport $500 million 6.45% high-yield bond issue 

-HKBN $1.34 billion acquisition of WTT Group

-Jinxin Fertility Group HKSE IPO

-Wanda Sports Group Company Nasdaq IPO

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Investment funds

“Professional, very knowledgeable and cost effective.”

M&A

“I have been working with Shearman’s M&A team, led by partner Chen Li, on several complex transactions in the past several years. As I took the lead in the execution on those deals, I have close contact with Li and her team. She and her team are extremely reliable and capable. Her understanding of the commercial purpose of our deals and knowledge of transaction related legal issues has enabled her to deliver tailored and effective solutions to all of the legal issues and sometimes commercial issues we have encountered in those highly complex and challenging transactions. My team and our senior management really appreciated her contribution and Shearman's services. We will continue to work with her on many other deals to come in future.”

Private equity

“Their broad knowledge and rich experience in Chinese related policies and deals are extremely instrumental to effectively assist us in shaping investment decisions including structuring transactions and navigating best routes and approaches. Ms. Chen has proven to be the most sophisticated and experienced transaction lawyer we have ever seen in the Chinese market.”

Project finance

“Shearman & Sterling has insight into our transactions and can always give us professional legal advice. Our communication goes very smoothly.”

Sidley Austin

Formed in 1866, Sidley Austin is a Chicago-based international law firm with over 2000 lawyers across 20 global offices. In Asia-Pacific the firm has 200 legal professionals in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. Its Hong Kong office was established in 1994. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm offers US, Hong Kong and English legal advice to its clients and excels transactionally in the equity capital markets, the debt—especially high-yield bond issuances—capital markets, investment funds, M&A and private equity. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Springland International Holdings, Vivo Capital, CanSino Biologics, Kaisa Group Holdings Company, Standard Chartered Bank, DBS Bank and Fosun International. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

The firm’s equity capital markets practice was very active during the research period advising on Hong Kong IPOs, share placements and rights issues; while the debt team handled corporate bond issuances alongside high-yield, convertible and green bond issues. 

The M&A team acted in take-privates, joint ventures, disposals and acquisitions in the transport, real estate and construction industries. In private equity the firm assisted clients in various rounds of funding and in investments.  

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-China Evergrande Group Rmb13.2 billion acquisition of Shengjing Bank

-Fosun International €400 million 4.35% high-yield bond issue 

-HiFiBiO Therapeutics $67 million series C financing

-Kaisa Group Holdings $400 million 11.95% high-yield bond issue

-Shanghai Henlius HKSE IPO

-Springland International Holdings HK$4.5 billion take-private 

-Vodafone Idea $3.5 billion rights issue 

-Zhongliang Holdings HKSE IPO

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is a New York-based international law firm with 900 lawyers across 11 offices across the Americas, Asia and Europe. The firm services its clients Greater China interests from its offices in Hong Kong and Beijing.

The firm is strong in private equity and is also known for equity and debt capital markets, M&A and leveraged finance.

Key clients of the firm include KKR, Softbank Group, Alibaba Group Holding, Zhongliang Holdings Group Company, Goldman Sachs, Qudian, J-Star and Aspirant Group.

During the research period, the capital markets practice kept busy advising on Hong Kong and US IPOs, follow on offerings, convertible and other bond issuances. The private equity team handled fund formation and fund raising GP/LP mandates and acquisitions for KKR and Blackstone. The corporate team was also busy with acquisitions in the healthcare, retail and automotive industries. 

The firm’s capital markets practice was hit with the departures of counsels Venus Lo and David Lee in 2019.

Deal highlights

-AG III Series Funds

-Alibaba Group Holding HKSE secondary listing

-Canaan Nasdaq IPO

-J-Star No.4 Series Funds

-KKR $1.56 billion acquisition of LCY Chemical Corp 

-New Frontier Corporation $1.44 billion acquisition of United Family Healthcare

-Phoenix Tree NYSE IPO

-SoftBank $4.5 billion margin loan financing

-Weibo $800 million 3.5% bond issue

-XD HKSE IPO

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Banking

“Their response time is fantastic - the firm never lets you down in terms of getting a quick and efficient response whenever we needed. The response and advice is always practical and solution oriented and reflects a superior understanding of how financing transactions work.”

Investment funds 

“Pragmatic, well-reasoned advice and understanding of the market.”

“They are highly experienced in investment funds work, and are able to distil this experience into commercially-relevant advice.”

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Formed in 1948, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is a New York-based international law firm with 1700 lawyers across 22 offices. The firm serves its clients’ Greater China interests from its offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing with over 70 lawyers.  

Focusses / specialisms

The firm offers US, Hong Kong and English law advice from its Hong Kong office. High-end M&A and private equity are core to Skadden’s Hong Kong and China capabilities, and it is a go-to issuer counsel for Chinese companies involved in US and Hong Kong IPOs alongside its strong funds practice and finance piece. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Trip.com Group, JD.com, Sinopec Group Overseas Development, SSG Capital Holdings, BeiGene, Pinduoduo and Ctrip.com International. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm’s capital markets practice kept busy advising on Hong Kong and US IPOs, secondary offerings, private placements, corporate bond issues, and high-yield and convertible issuances. 

The funds team acted in private equity and venture capital fund formation and logistics funds work, while the finance team kept busy with borrower side acquisition finance.  

The corporate team handled take-privates, joint ventures, mergers, investments, spin-offs, and acquisitions in technology, telecommunications and education industries.   

In 2019 capital markets counsel Antony Dapiran departed from the firm to pursue his writing interests.  

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Baidu $1 billion $1 billion 3.425% dual-tranche bond issue

-eHi Car Services $938 million take-private

-iQiyi $1.2 billion 2% convertible bond issue

-JD Logistics Fund I

-Lufax Holding $200 million term loan facility 

-Pharmaron Beijing HKSE IPO

-So-Young International Nasdaq IPO

-YY $1.5 billion acquisition of Bigo  

Slaughter and May

Established in 1889, Slaughter & May is a London-based magic circle law firm with 560 lawyers across additional offices in Brussels, Beijing and Hong Kong.  Compared to similar firms of its stature the firm has a minimal overseas presence relying instead on relationships with local law firms for its international practice. The firm became the first London law firm to establish an office in Hong Kong when it opened in 1974.

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is unique in Hong Kong’s legal market as it has no hourly or billing targets for its lawyers and takes a multi-specialist approach to developing its lawyers in a collegiate atmosphere. Its corporate practice is renowned for public takeovers, mergers and private acquisitions and it has strong capital markets, finance and regulatory practices.

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Tencent Holdings, United Energy Group, Haitong International Capital, Goldman Sachs, Standard Chartered Bank, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing and FWD Group.

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

The firm’s corporate team had a busy year advising on joint ventures, investments, take-privates, stake sales and acquisitions in the real estate, insurance, aviation and financial services industries.  

The capital markets team acted on a host of Hong Kong IPOs, block trades, programme updates and corporate and convertible bond issues.  

The finance team handled real estate finance and conventional lending mandates while the rulatory practice advised on compliance matters and regulatory applications tied to M&A.  

The firm bolstered its capital markets practice during the research period with the hire of Jing Chen from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, but lost regulatory partner Mark Hughes to Eversheds Sutherland.  

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-BEURG HKSE IPO

-Cathay Pacific Airways HK$5 billion acquisition of Hong Kong Express

-China Agri-Industries Holdings $1.2 billion take-private 

-FWD Group $3 billion acquisition of SCB Life Assurance

-Inari $2.2 billion syndicated facility

-Swire Pacific $500 million 2.875% bond issue  

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Banking

“The work was clear, thorough, and technically excellent. The firm managed to meet a demanding deadline.”

“I would say the overall service is excellent. Their strengths include strong capability in the regulations of the banking sector and problem-solving skills. They always respond to the clients' needs in a timely manner.”

Capital markets: Equity

“Slaughter has a deep bench of highly qualified and experienced professionals. It has particular strength in HK capital markets and M&A.”

Financial services regulatory

“As Slaughter and May had worked with us previously, they were already familiar with our business. Slaughter and May took their time to listen to our reasoning on topics we wanted them to further clarify and elaborate on, displaying insight and genuine understanding of the local legislation along the way. Their advice was straight-forward, unambiguous and applicable, pointing out uncertainties without involving needless assumptions or hypotheticals. They took our comments to heart and provided elaborate feedback and valuable insight where needed/requested.  While the team we worked with was diverse, their communication was well-coordinated and their approach clearly involved engaging lawyers specialised in the matters at hand.”

“They provide feedback under tight deadlines, allocating the necessary resources to meet the deadlines with ease of contact.”

 “The team is able to deliver under tight deadlines, and is very available for follow up.”

“The work is thorough, technically excellent, clearly explained and delivered meeting the deadlines.”

M&A

“Extremely good technical skills and knowledge, very strong negotiation capabilities, fast, accurate and responsive.”

“Excellent work attitude, very knowledgeable, sincere commitment and super hardworking.”

“Its network, knowledge and skills enabled the transactions to be completed delivering the best results.”

“Benita Yu is a very responsible and hands-on partner. She is technically very strong and is able to identify key risks without much explanation required.”

“Committed, commercial, knowledgeable and intelligent team.”

“Very practical and responsive. Well versed in the laws and listing rules. Very good drafting skills.” 

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood is a London-headquartered law firm with nine offices across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The firm has offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong and an association—with PRC law firm Wei Tu—in Guangzhou catering to its clients’ interests involving Greater China. 

The firm provides English and Hong Kong law advice especially in regulatory matters and in restructuring and insolvency mandates.

Key clients of the firm include Futu Lending, Convoy Global Holdings, CSL Securities, PwC, Société Générale, Rabobank and UIL Singapore. 

In the research period the firm was preoccupied providing its clients with regulatory advice, technology company establishment and some strong debt restructuring and insolvency mandates including Shanghai Huaxin Group’s liquidation and a host of individual and Indian mandates. 

Partner Malcolm Kemp, who led the firm’s litigation and financial services (contentious) practice, retired in April 2020. 

Deal highlights

-CECEP COSTIN New Materials Group insolvency

-Shanghai Huaxin Group insolvency

-UIL Hong Kong restructuring 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Banking 

“They understand what we and our client want them to do and provide the best advice in accordance therewith.”

“Responsive team – the partner is hands on when he needs to be. Generally a team that is very good to work with on general banking matters as well as on ship finance transactions where they have particular expertise.”

“The wording of agreements are very precise, and it's helpful with their opinion.”

Financial services regulatory

“Have a good wealth of experience in this type of work, so their advice is authoritative and little of their time is spent learning things from scratch. They have a deep bench of experienced associates, so costs are well managed, and also ensures deadlines are met. Fee discussions are commercial and transparent.”

“Responsive, helpful and sound business acumen.”

“They are technically strong and experienced in the area and offer useful and practical advice and solutions. They are also responsive and flexible.”

“Engaging and proactive.”

Investment funds

“Very responsive and timely turnaround on requests.  Well considered and thought out comments and suggestions. Documents are well drafted without excessive legal language.”

Restructuring and insolvency

“Can-do attitude and user-friendly; willing to explore and push the limits.”

“SH adopts a practical and effective approach to matters rather than an overly academic one.”

“Very sensible, down to earth, and user-friendly but clear, objective and supportive at the same time.”

“Provides very practical solutions and timely responses.”

“Personal attention. Practical solutions.”

“The lawyers handling the case are helpful and knowledgeable.  They are responsive to all my questions and concerns in a timely and professional manner.  They can always provide highly reliable and quality services.  I am glad to have them in my team so that we can make well informed and strategic decisions quickly.”

“They provided professional advice and a holistic legal strategy for dealing with complicated issues.”

“Provides in-depth analysis and recommended approaches that are practical.”

“The team at Stephenson Harwood knows both shareholders well because of their earlier relationship. Notwithstanding their role was effectively lost, they continue to assist in helping both shareholders and we (as liquidator) to re-build the communication channel and facilitate both parties to assist the liquidator's work in a short-term trading-on of the business and also in the course of selling the company's business. They did this work out of their good initiative.”

“The recent elevation of Eloise and Alex to partnership is reflective of their abilities and certainly well deserved. I have worked with Stephenson Harwood on both contentious insolvency and restructuring matters. I consider both Jamie, Eloise and Alex to be extremely capable and leading practitioners within the HK market. I turn to them when I need assistance as they are responsive, accommodating, easy to communicate with, have the requisite technical skills and more importantly the ability to consider pragmatic commercial solutions.” 

V&T Law Firm

V&T Law Firm is a full-service Beijing-based PRC Law Firm with branch offices in Shenzhen, Shanghai and Chengdu and international offices in Madrid, Manchester and Kolding. 

Focusses / specialisms

Securities law is core to the firm’s business. It provides advice in domestic and overseas IPOs, refinancing, bond issues, M&A and asset reorganisations.

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include China Vanke, Tus-Holdings, Shanghai Huaming Intelligent Terminal Equipment, Kunming Future City Development and Xingzhen Investment Management. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm kept busy advising on bond issues, asset backed programmes, corporate restructuring mandates, capital increases, investments and real estate acquisitions. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Gss-scft $1.4 billion supply chain finance No.2 phase 1-x asset support special plan

-Kunming Future City Development mixed ownership restructuring

-Shanghai Huaming Intelligent Terminal Equipment acquisition of Beijing Juli Technology

-Tus-Holdings $760 million bond issue 

Weil Gotshal & Manges

Weil Gotshal & Manges is a New York-headquartered international law firm with Asia offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. 

The firm is best known for its high-end private equity practice and accompanying leveraged finance practice. It is the go-to law firm for take-privates of US-listed Chinese companies and has strong expertise in the consumer goods and technology, media and telecommunications industries.

Key clients of the firm include Taobao China Holding, Huanxi Media Group, TPG Capital Asia, Primavera Capita, MBK Partners, SoftBank Vision Fund and Anchor Equity Partners.

In the research period the firm kept busy with take-private mandates, spin offs, joint ventures, stake acquisitions and acquisitions in the technology, real estate and insurance sectors. It also assisted its clients in investments and various rounds of funding. 

Weil’s Asia finance team experienced a significant change in leadership in October 2019 following Soo-Jin Shim’s departure for personal reasons. Partner Daniel Abercromby joined the firm from Kirkland & Ellis to head its banking and finance team.

Deal highlights

-Alibaba Group $2 billion acquisition of Kaola

-eHi Car Services $1.8 billion take-private

-iKang Healthcare Group $1.1 billion take-private

-SoftBank Vision Fund $2 billion investment in Coupang

 

-TPG and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board $489 million acquisition of 35% stake in Dream Cruises  

Winston & Strawn

Established in Chicago in 1853, Winston & Strawn is one of the largest and oldest firms in the city. It has nine offices in the United States and six offices in Europe and Asia. With offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong the firm assists its global and Asia-based clients navigate inbound and outbound opportunities in Greater China. 

The firm’s transactional practice is most active in M&A and equity capital markets work, particularly in structuring special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) where it has a niche enabling its clients to go public as an alternative to the traditional IPO process.

Key clients of the firm include New Frontier Corporation, Diginex, Koppers Holdings, Universal Star Holdings, Kingsway Capital, SPDB International Capital and Aidigong Maternal & Child Health.

During the research period the firm kept busy structuring SPACs, advising on Hong Kong IPOs—and proposed listings—share, rights and bond issues, while the M&A team advised on exits, stake acquisitions, healthcare and automotive acquisitions, distillation facility sales, share exchanges, corporate restructuring mandates, stake acquisitions, investments and subsidiary sales.

The firm’s corporate practice brought in partner Khoon Jin Tan from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and saw Marco Pocci depart for Stephenson Harwood.

Deal highlights

-Fangda Carbon New Material $107 million acquisition of Koppers (Jiangsu) Carbon Chemical Company 

-Lamtex Holdings HK$50 million 4% bond issue

-Moody Technology Holdings HK$15.5 million bond issue 

-New Frontier Corporation $1.44 billion acquisition of United Family Healthcare

-Universal Star Holdings HKSE IPO 

WongPartnership

WongPartnership is a Singapore-based law firm with over 400 professionals across further offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Yangon. The firm is also a member of the regional law network, WPG, granting it access to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Manila.

Focusses / specialisms

The firm’s Shanghai office opened in 2004 followed by its Beijing office in 2010. It is best known for corporate matters such as advising Chinese entities on joint ventures and M&A structured through Singapore.

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include CapitaLand, Raffles Education Corporation and China Everbright.

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm kept busy advising on acquisitions, disposals and investments in education and real estate. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-CapitaLand S$11 billion acquisition of Ascendas-Singbridge group of companies

-Liu Yanwen Rmb420 million stake acquisition of Langfang Development Zone Oriental University City Sino-Singapore Education Investment 

-State Alpha S$147 million acquisition of Ying Li International Real Estate

Zhongjian Law Firm

Established in 2016, Zhongjian Law Firm is a Beijing-based law firm. It has a collaboration with UK boutique Rooney Nimmo extending its reach to Hong Kong, US and Singapore. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is best known for its private equity, trust, asset management, securities, international trade and intellectual property work in sectors such as real estate, banking and insurance. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include CITIC Securities, Sinopec, Bank of China, Zhongrong International Trust, Tsinghua University Education Foundation and Shanghai Culture Assets.

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm kept busy advising on confidential real estate acquisitions, investments and mixed reform projects. In 2019 it handled 60 M&A cases and 15 insurance investment cases.