China

Reviews

Practice area

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
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld caters to the greater China market through its offices in Hong Kong and Beijing. This year, the firm was particularly busy with equity capital markets and restructuring and insolvency work. 

Highlights from the recent research period include managing cross-border restructurings and advising on initial public offerings in Hong Kong. 

Key clients include CW Group, Jiangsu Innovative Ecological New Materials and Byleasing Holdings.

A notable recent staffing change saw partner Allen Shyu join from Stephenson Harwood.   

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Byleasing Holdings HKSE IPO

•Hyflux S$2 billion debt structuring

•Jiangsu Innovative Ecological New Materials HKSE IPO

•Noble Group financial restructuring

•Zhejiang New Century Hotel Management HKSE IPO

 

 

AllBright Law Offices

Shanghai-based AllBright Law Offices is a full service law firm that is ranked highest in private equity and capital markets. The firm has offices in 20 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. 

In the research period, the firm has been busy advising on M&A and joint venture deals in the education and food and beverage sectors.  

It has also been engaged in shipping, real estate, automotive and real estate mandates, while its funds practice has been busy advising on technology focused limited partnership funds.

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•Anda Group Rmb13 million seed financing 

•Ecovacs SSE IPO 

•Hong Kong Bank Holdings joint venture with Chengdu YaHui 

•Siegwerk Netherlands Rmb45 million acquisition of Zhuhai Wangtai Environmental Protection Equipment  

•Yijiahe Technology SSE IPO 

•Zhongping Guoyu Rmb600 million LP fund 

 

 

Arnold & Porter

Arnold & Porter in Shanghai offers legal services in matters concerning cross-border investments and transactions, project finance and infrastructure development, and corporate restructuring. Its most notable area of practice, however, is M&A.  

Over the research period, the practice focused on cross-border M&A in technology, healthcare, licensing, and electro mechanics. 

Key clients include Xilinx, NXP Semiconductor, Carestream Health, Alcon, American Securities, Owens Corning, Honeywell, OSI Foods, Celestica, Albemarle Corporation, and Zhenghua Heavy Industry Group.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Celestica $143 million acquisition of Atrenne Integrated Solutions

•Xilinx $300 million acquisition of Deephi Technology

 

Ashurst

Ashurst possesses a diverse roster of lawyers offering a broad range of legal services from Hong Kong and China. The firm is ranked highest in structured finance and securitisation, has a strong debt capital markets team with a dedicated India practice group, and acts for Chinese banks in outbound projects. The firm also has a pan-Asian equity capital markets practice often acting for Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian clients.

The firm’s equity capital markets practice has had a busy year advising on Indonesian IPOs and a spate of Indian block trade deals, while its debt capital markets team advised the issuer on a $4.1 billion notes financing to acquire the world’s most expensive single building, The Center.

The projects practice continued to act on the first high speed railway project in Indonesia, and a coal-fired thermal power plant in Chittagong, which at $2 billion is the largest private sector investment in Bangladesh's power sector.

In the research period the firm lost regulatory partner Gareth Hughes to Debevoise & Plimpton.    

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Asuransi Tugu Pratama IDX IPO

•                      Chittagong 2x660MW coal-fired thermal power plant

•                      CHMT Peaceful Development Asia Property $4.1 billion dual-tranche ($3.3 billion and $811.5 million) secured bond issue

•                      Hangzhou Fuyang Chengtou Group $230 million 6.8% bond issue

•                      Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway

•                      Pengxin Mining $1 billion acquisition of Martabe Gold Mine

•                      Studio City Finance $600 million 7.250% bond issue

•                      Tata Consultancy Services $1.38 billion block trade

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie is best known in Hong Kong and China for its finance, regulatory, M&A and investment funds work where it has onshore domestic Rmb funds capability through the Baker & McKenzie FenXun (FTZ) Joint Operation Office in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. It also has a large 11-partner-strong restructuring and insolvency team.

In the research period it has also been active in fintech regulatory matters, having advised Tencent Holdings on the establishment of the joint venture Infinium and in its successful application for a virtual banking license from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

The firm has also been active in private equity and in real estate funds where it advised Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on its cornerstone investment into the largest ever Japan-focused logistics private real estate fund.

In M&A the firm has kept busy with acquisition and joint venture work in the technology and retail industries.

The firm lost insolvency partner Soo Khim Keoy to Withers in October 2018.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Akzo Nobel acquisition of Swire Industrial decorative paints joint venture

•                      Gaw Capital consortium HK$12 billion acquisition of 12 retail properties

•                      General Nice Resources insolvency

•                      GLP $5.5 billion Japan Development Partners III

•                      Tencent Holdings acquisition of Sharkmob

•                      Weave Co-Living $181 million private equity investment

•                      Westinghouse Electric Corporation restructuring

•                      Wolverine World Wide joint venture with Xtep International Holdings

Broad & Bright

Broad & Bright is a Chinese firm that provides services on matters concerning banking and finance, capital markets, M&A, and project development. Its M&A practice, however, is the most notable. For example, the firm assisted Apollo Trading Corporation sell a majority stake in Apollo Environmental Equipment to Freudenberg. 

During this research period, the firm was particularly focused on project development deals, as it negotiated with investors, drafted transaction structures, and reviewed project documents. 

Highlights include conducting a comparative study on investment and financing patterns for Foshan municipal government and representing Dr Panda on the Panda buy-out project.

Key clients include Dr Panda, Dongguan Development Holdings, China Virtue (Beijing) International Engineering Technology, Foshan Legislation Bureau, Beijing Fortune Consulting, and Leaders Office for the Guangzhou central city transportation project.

A notable recent staffing change saw partner Fang Liu join from Dickinson Wright and partner Sunny Shen join from Electronic Arts. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Dongguan Rail Transit PPP

•Foshan municipal government Metro project

•Gegu village PPP

•Guipanhai water clean-up renovation PPP

•Kunming smart city PPP 

•Ruyifang roads and tunnels construction PPP

•Wuhan robot industrial development zone PPP

•Wuhan Area development PPP 

 

Chance Bridge Partners

Located in Beijing, Chance Bridge Partners is a specialist law firm that is best known for its work in capital markets, M&A, and project development. This year, the practice was particularly focused on matters concerning M&A and structured finance and securitisation. 

Highlights include providing legal services for the establishment of private fund investments and advising on the acquisitions of a technology group, energy organisation, and oil company. 

Key clients include Tianjin Teda Thermal Power, Jinhui Liquor, Beijing Anhuaixin Technology, Gansu One Sport Fitness Management, Beijing Kaien Zhuoyue Consulting, Zhejiang Zhantu Equity Investment Management, and Beijing Jingang Construction.

Notable recent staffing changes saw partner Shizhe Huang join from JunHe and partner Gang Hu join from Grandway Law Offices. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Beijing Jingang Construction seventh branch merger with Shanghai Mingda Biotechnology

 

Clifford Chance

Arguably the most visible magic circle firm in the Hong Kong and China market, Clifford Chance occupies tier one 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.

Over the research period the firm successfully completed over 100 debt capital markets transactions, including the world’s largest single tranche additional tier 1 deal in 2018, and the first panda bonds successfully issued in the China inter-bank bond market by a Hong Kong-based investment bank.

Its equity capital markets team completed nine IPOs on Hong Kong’s stock exchange raising $15.84 billion in aggregate, which amounted to over 45% of the total proceeds raised by all Hong Kong IPOs in 2018. This included advising the joint sponsors and underwriters in China Tower’s IPO, which was among the world’s largest in the past two years. 

The firm bolstered its regulatory practice with the hire of partner Jimmy Chan from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission. Its equity capital markets team was boosted by the return of Lorna Lyu, but lost counsel Yufei Liao who moved in-house.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      ABC International Holdings Rmb3 billion panda bond issue

•                      Bank of China $3 billion AT1 capital securities issue

•                      China Tower HKSE IPO

•                      Noble Group financial restructuring 

•                      Ping An Healthcare and Technology Company HKSE IPO

•                      Tsinghua Unigroup €2.3 billion acquisition of Linxens

•                      Xiaomi Corporation HKSE IPO

•                      Zhongsheng Group HK$4.7 billion zero coupon convertible bond issue

CM Law Firm

CM Law Firm is a law partnership that offers legal services on corporate and financial matters. 

During the research period, the practice focused on deals within the areas of M&A, capital markets, and private equity.

Highlights include advising on M&A transactions for media organisations and managing the financing of online service providers.

Key clients include MOGU, Futu Securities International, Sequoia, New Classics Media, So-young International, ForU Worldwide, Carlyle Group, Ximalaya, Xiao Tang Technology, and ECLE.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Ant Financial $12 billion equity financing

•China Literature Rmb15.5 billion acquisition of New Classics Media 

•ECLE $722 million series D financing 

•Futu NYSE IPO

•Meituan-Dianping $3.7 billion merger with Mobike

•MOGU NYSE IPO

 

 

CMS

CMS’s offices are located in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. With partners who are fluent in a variety of European and Asian languages, such as French, German, Korean, and Mandarin, the team is able to provide legal advice for clients in both the domestic and international space. 

CMS is best known for its work in M&A and this is reflected in the recent research period, as the firm was primarily focused on merger and acquisition deals. 

Key clients are SCHOTT, Krones, Sinochem Group, Jiangsu Zhongtian Technology, and Yongfeng Group.

A notable recent staffing change saw partner Shirley Lau join from Troutman Sanders. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Sinochem Group $219 million acquisition of ELIX Polymers

Client feedback

"It has a good understanding of the needs of a European Company and the expectations in China." – M&A

"Great team in Beijing. Always responsive and delivering practical advice for us in the not for profit sector." – M&A

"The firm was able to provide local legal suport, while offering a German native speaker as the local key point of contact." – M&A

"The lawyers are highly motivated, very skillful and give quick responses." – M&A

 

Co-effort Law Firm

Co-effort Law Firm is a Chinese law partnership first established in 1998. Originally located in Shanghai, the firm also now has offices in Beijing, Suzhou, Wuxi, Xuzhou, Nantong and Changsha. This year, the practice focused on deals concerning capital markets, private equity and restructuring and insolvency.

Highlights include assisting investors and fund managers in dispute resolution, acting as trustee in bankruptcy liquidation cases, and advising on M&A mandates. 

Key clients include Jiangsu Dynamic Chemical, Wuxi Yongji Property, Shanghai Yulin Financial Leasing, Jangsu Pengyao Pharmaceutical, Hongli Lighting Group, Sinolinks Medical Innovation, and Wuxi Lifelike Medical. 

A notable recent staffing change saw partner Yuan Jin join the firm from SG & Co Lawyers.  

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Dayun Technology acquisition of Wuxi Suheng Technology Group 

•Nantong Mingdezhonggong Industry insolvency  

•Suzhou Bidi Medical Devices Rmb140 million acquisition of Jiangsu Pengyao Pharmaceutical’s injection business

 

Commerce & Finance Law Offices

Commerce & Finance has a traditionally strong IPO practice, especially in overseas listings. Its private equity practice moves up a tier this year with competence in taking its clients across the investment chain, from the initial angel investment to venture capital, private equity, pre-IPO and exit. The firm’s funds practice has the capability of handling not just renminbi funds but also US dollar funds.

The firm’s dominance in overseas listings is readily apparent not just by its deal flow but also by the fact that it is the PRC firm that invented the VIE structure, which is a popular means by which Chinese tech entities list offshore on international capital markets.

Commerce & Finance completed over 30 overseas IPOs in 2018, mostly in Hong Kong and the US. These included acting for China Tower in its IPO, which was one of Hong Kong’s largest ever; and advising the issuers on the first biotech company to list in Hong Kong following new listing rules, and the first fibre optic to be listed in both Hong Kong and Shanghai.  

The firm’s private equity practice has had a heavy load of mandates at different stages of funding, while the funds practice has been busy raising US dollar funds. 

In the research period, the firm brought in banking partner Wang Zehao from fellow PRC firm JunHe.  

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•Ascletis Pharma HKSE IPO 

•Bilibili Nasdaq IPO 

•China Tower HKSE IPO 

•Keep $732 million series D equity financing 

•Mengyuan I $65 million equity investment 

•Missfresh $450 million series E equity financing 

•Shuhe $400 million series C equity financing 

•Yangtze Optical FC SSE IPO

Client feedback

"Great team with high efficiency and quick feedback. It drafts contracts and negotiates with multiple parties in a very professional way." – Private equity 

Amin Li

"Amin Li is very responsive, and has extensive knowledge of market practice."

"Amin is very responsive and understood our business needs and concerns. Billing is also very reasonable."

 

Cuatrecasas

Although Cuatrecasas has a strong focus on the Iberian Peninsula, the firm’s Beijing and Shanghai offices allow it to cater to Chinese interests. By establishing such a network, the firm can advise on Chinese companies’ investments in Europe and Latin America and also assist European and Latin American companies who have interests in China. The firm offers a variety of commercial legal services, but it was focused on M&A during the research period. 

This year, Cuatrecasas acted in the acquisition of a hotel group, negotiated a license and rights management contract, and managed the acquisition of a hydro electrical power plant project in Peru.

Key clients include Seat, Kosmos Group, Gaw Capital Advisors, Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, Lamigraf, Laboratorios Isdin, Wallbox, IPS Corporation, and Shaanxi Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Group.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Gaw Capital Advisors €100 million acquisition of Hospes Hoteles

•Shaanxi Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Group €500 million acquisition of hydro electrical power plant project in Peru

 

DaHui Lawyers

DaHui Lawyers is a Chinese corporate law firm based in Beijing and Shanghai. The practice is active in the media, energy, and healthcare industries, and its work is most notable in project development, private equity, M&A, capital markets, and banking and finance. 

This year, the practice was focused on deals concerning matters in banking and finance, capital markets, M&A, private equity, and restructuring.

Highlights from the past 12 months include structuring operations to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations as well as serving as PRC counsel for issuers in equity offerings.

Key clients include UP FinTech Holdings, China International Capital Corporation, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Yinxiang Biji, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Alibaba.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•China International Capital Corporation $724 million financing

•Daqo New Energy NYSE secondary offering 

•Jinko Solar NYSE secondary offering

•UP FinTech Holdings Nasdaq IPO

•Vcredit HKSE IPO

•Xinyuan Real Estate NYSE IPO

 

 

Davis Polk & Wardwell

Davis Polk & Wardwell is well established in Hong Kong and has traditional strength in the equity capital markets with a strong flow of Hong Kong, US IPOs and follow-on offerings, while occupying a dominant position for high-yield and investment grade debt. The firm is also solid handling private equity and M&A work.

The firm has completed over 90 high-yield deals in China since the start of 2018, with deal flow emanating from the real estate, gaming, energy, industrials, and e-commerce industries, while its equity capital markets team closed 10 Hong Kong IPOs and 10 US IPOs in the same period.

Davis Polk’s M&A and private equity team also had a solid year and the practice is accustomed to handling inbound and outbound deals, joint ventures, spinoffs and privatisations in the TMT, biotech, education, energy, financial institutions, healthcare, real estate and retail sectors.

Its private equity practice handles fund formation, structuring, investments, recapitalisations and dispositions.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      BeiGene HKSE IPO

•                      China Evergrande $3 billion triple tranche (7.0% 6.25% and 8.25%) high-yield bond issue

•                      Heineken €1.9 billion joint venture with China Resources Enterprise and China Resources Beer Holdings

•                      iQIYI’s $750 million 3.75% convertible bond issue

•                      Ping An Healthcare and Technology HKSE IPO

•                      Sands China $5.5 billion triple tranche (4.6% 5.125% and 5.4%) high-yield bond issue 

•                      Tencent Music Entertainment Group NYSE IPO

•                      Yunfeng Capital, Alibaba Group Holding and iKang senior management $1.2 billion acquisition of iKang Healthcare Group

Dechert

Dechert is best known in Hong Kong for its investment funds work, particularly in private equity and hedge funds where it has secured a tier two berth this year. The firm is also expanding its equity capital markets, M&A and banking practices.

In the past 12 months, the firm’s China team has advised on the establishment of more than 28 private equity funds and 30 hedge funds. It has been attending to the fundraising needs of Primavera, China Everbright, Silk Road Fund and China Resources Capital Management, while acting on hedge funds including Brilliant Partners Fund, Formosa Asia Opportunity Fund, Everbright Dynamic Bond Fund and Everbright China Focus Fund.

Dechert is known worldwide for its fund formation capabilities, acting for 18 of the 20 largest global asset managers and more than 700 private funds and fund management groups.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      CEL $543 million global investment LP fund

•                      Charles Schwab $1.76 billion worldwide funds

•                      Everbright dynamic bond fund

•                      Hibiki Cayman Islands hedge fund

•                      Manulife global multi-asset registered fund

•                      Ping An China asset management RAIF fund

 

DeHeng Law Offices

Originally named China Law Office, DeHeng Law Offices is a corporate law firm that offers legal services in a number of practice areas. With its home base in Beijing, the firm is strongest in the sectors of banking and finance and M&A.

This year, DeHeng Law Offices was busy advising on domestic and cross-border acquisitions and managing deals involving acquisition and project finance. For example, it represented China Development Bank in financing the construction of a solar power plant station in Portugal. In addition, the firm represented China Development Bank Jiangsu Branch to finance the establishment of a textile factory in Ethiopia’s Dire Dawa industrial park. 

Key clients include China CITIC Bank International, Export-Import Bank of China, BOCOM International Universal Investment, HSBC, China Gold, and Qingdao Sifang Rolling Stock Research Institute. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•China Gold $420 million acquisition of stake in Klyuchevskoye gold deposit

•China Merchants Port Holdings Company $500 million refinancing 

•Shaanxi Coal and Chemical Industry Group HK$3.7 billion financing 

•Tsinghua Unicapital Rmb8 billion financing

Client feedback

"Very professional in Chinese law, but needs to cooperate with local firms when related to other governing laws." – Banking

"We obtained two rounds of financing before our investment, with a tight schedule and large investment amount. The case involved multi-party communication and negotiation, such as with the target company and the lawyers representing the investors in the first two rounds. As our legal counsel, DeHeng's team participated in the whole case, effectively assisting us in our communications and negotiations with other parties, while resolving legal problems in a timely fashion, as well as giving us effective legal advice. We give DeHeng's team high recommendation." – Investment funds

"We've had long-term cooperation with Deheng's lawyers in investment and merger projects. We trust its team's professional competence and professional aptitude." – Private equity

"As bankruptcy administrator, the law firm always adheres to the law in performing its duties, fulfilling its duties and striving for creditors' maximum benefits. In the process of handling the case, the law firm showed high professional quality and professional ability." – Restructuring and insolvency

"Deheng and its professional teams have impressed us with its expertise in relevant fields, and its high efficiency and strong sense of responsibility. The firm can always help clarify problems and find the most viable solutions. It also works proactively." – Restructuring and insolvency

 

Dentons

Dentons China is formerly known as Dacheng Law Firm but is 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). The firm is strongest in private equity and investment funds where it is ranked highest, but it has a highly active securitisation practice and a diverse offering across the board with expertise in numerous industries such as technology and telecommunications, entertainment, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, insurance, automotive, aviation, manufacturing and mining. 

The firm’s capital markets practice has had a mixture of Hong Kong IPO and bond work, including corporate and convertible issuances, and a strong flow of securitisation mandates over the research period.  

Its private equity team kept busy with transactions at different stages of funding, and its corporate team acted in insurance, energy, technology and real estate related deals. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•51 Credit Card HKSE IPO 

•Beijing Century Chemsunny Property Management Rmb1.54 billion property maintenance charge asset-backed securitisation 

•Brunei PMB Island integrated refining and petrochemical plant 

•Citic Bank Rmb40 billion convertible bond issue 

•Finger Tango HKSE IPO 

•Haier Group Rmb10 billion supply chain finance ABS 

•Tailong Commercial Bank Rmb16.7 billion credit ABS 

•Tech-New Group Rmb100 million acquisition of Jinan Maiteli Technology Group  

Client feedback

"The firm is strong in reviewing contracts and providing comments, negotiation, problem solving and cost saving." – Banking

"It's impressive and professional." – Banking

"Lawyer (Yingying) Li's team has never let us down. Our colleagues speak highly of them. It stands out among many law firms and its lawyers always have the acumen to find the key breaking points in tricky and complicated cases. This acumen depends to a large extent on their full understanding of the business models, project practices, laws and regulations and judicial tendencies of the industry to which a given case is related. Dentons is a law firm that we can trust." – Banking

"The firm is speedy and replies professionally." - Banking

Cathy Wang

"Cathy is a good communicator. She has good knowledge in aviation and strictly insists on a client's benefit."

Liang Zhou

"I'm Impressed. Zhou Liang is professional."

 

East & Concord Partners

East & Concord Partners is a full-service Chinese law firm that excels in finance and debt capital markets. The firm is headquartered in Beijing, and has offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Hangzhou.

The firm has been busy in the research period acting in a range of corporate and convertible bond issuances, and energy financing, security isation and real estate mandates.

East & Concord strengthened its ranks in early 2019 by bringing in corporate partner Yufeng Lu from Ping An Trust. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Beijing Enterprises Group Rmb15 billion bond issue

•Beijing Gas Group $250 million financing

•Lianjia fund Rmb10 billion acquisition of Pacific Century Place

•SDIC Capital Rmb4.5 billion convertible bond issue

•Shenzhen Deyuan Commercial Factoring $5 billion accounts receivable securitisation

 

Eiger in association with Shanghai Runyi Law Firm

Taiwanese law firm Eiger is in association with Shanghai-based Runyi Law Firm. It is a full-service law firm that provides legal services to the Greater China and Asia-Pacific region. The firm’s new Shanghai office in conjunction to its home base in Taipei allows it to cater to six jurisdictions.    

During the research period, Eiger focused on financial and corporate matters such as employment management and corporate restructuring and insolvency.

 

Fangda Partners

Fangda Partners is one of China’s elite law firms with 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. 

In the research period the firm strengthened its presence in the debt securities market, having successfully closed over 20 deals including high-yield, investment grade and panda bond issuances. 

The firm’s renowned funds practice has been active in the private equity, venture capital, renminbi and secondaries space in sectors such as insurance, real estate and healthcare.  

It’s M&A team has been catering to mandates in the healthcare, biotech, automotive and food and beverage industries.  

In mid-2018, the firm brought in debt capital markets partner Christine Chen and banking partner Laurence Yuan from King & Wood Mallesons. The firm also poached fro international firm Shearman & Sterling hiring Colin Law, Peter Chen, Edward Bong and Arman Lie, thereby strengthening its Hong Kong law capabilities.  

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•Boyu Rmb10.22 billion RMB Fund III 

•BMW Group Rmb29 billion acquisition of 25% stake in BMW Brilliance Automotive  

•Carlyle Rmb1.5 billion RMB Fund II 

•Commercial Properties $450 million 7.3% high-yield bond issue 

•FountainVest Rmb500 million acquisition financing 

•Sun Hung Kai Properties Rmb1.2 billion panda bond issue 

•United Overseas Bank Rmb2 billion 3.49% panda bond issue 

•YF Capital Rmb8.55 billion RMB Fund IV 

Client feedback

"It's very professional, and especially helpful that the partner in charge, Christine (Chen), is New York trained and able to bridge the gap between domestic standards and foreign expectations." – Capital markets: Debt

"Colin Law and his team, who joined from their legacy firm in Fangda, performed excellent work on Hong Kong law matters.  Xueyan Jiang, Wanhua Huo and their team performed excellent work on PRC law matters. The firm is responsive and can identify key issues and provide feasible solutions." – Capital markets: Equity

"The services were of great quality, and I will highly recommend the firm to my friends." – Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation

"Fangda is professional and very efficient." - Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation 

"Mr Fang Jian and Ms Grace Yu have the expertise in this area. They are responsive, hard-working and have delivered the work in the professional way." – M&A

"The law firm provides a consistently high quality service, with very good business sense and an incredibly speedy and in-depth legal analysis." – M&A

"The firm's professionals have great knowledge regarding the TMT industry and can help us solve difficult legal and commercial issues." – M&A

"Very professional, responsive and with high quality." – M&A

"Fangda's team has repeatedly proved its professionalism, diligence, communication skills, and more importantly commercial sense and good judgement, to identify risk, address issues, and achieve positive business results." – Private equity

"Fangda did a great job. The team always responds to our requests very quickly. It consists of lawyers with the knowledge of several jurisdictions, which is very important for cross-border transactions and projects. We wish they could have more offices abroad, especially in some important jurisdictions like UK and Europe to provide more on the ground legal work for us." – Project development

"Fangda Partners has very good teamwork between different groups, good cooperation with clients, such that the client has confidence to engage it in some difficult situations and complex tasks." – Project development

"The overall service from Fangda's team is brilliant. Its service is professional, efficient and always meets our time requirements and provides workable solutions under difficult situations. Most importantly, its price is reasonable and fair." – Project finance

"The firm has a commercial and efficient approach." – Project finance

Zhou Biqing

"Zhou Biqing has excellent communication skills and is very responsive with great legal knowledge. The firm needs to expand its international network in line with trends as more and more projects are related to more than two or three jurisdictions."

"Mr Zhou has all the legal expertise needed in our project. He is always answerable to all kinds of tricky issues and his input forms an integral part of the success of our project."

"Zhou is professional, skilled and good at communication."

Christine Chen

"Christine Chen was able to bridge domestic standards and foreign expectations."

Fang Jian

"Mr Fang is the top lawyer in this area (M&A). He is technically strong, experienced, responsive and hard-working."

Colin Law

"Colin Law is responsive, innovative, and professionally committed."

Kewu Li

"Kewu knows how to provide creative legal solutions in a continuously changing world we are facing nowadays."

Wang Lingqi

"Lingqi is very helpful in providing both legal advice and industry/market colour. He is very efficient and proactive. We like his frank approach and he gives clients' advice to best suit clients' interest."

Michael Tam

"Michael is commercial, efficient and client oriented."

Yan Yan

"The quality of the delivered work was highly appreciated."

"He is very professional and can always help solve problems. He is a good leader, and our cooperation with his team is very successful."

Lily Yin

"Highly competent attorney, very responsive, great business sense, and gives timely practical advice."

Amanda Zhou

"Amanda Zhou is the most seasoned transactional lawyer - with amazing commercial sense - that I have worked with on numerous investment and acquisition deals."

 

FenXun Partners

FenXun Partners is a Beijing-based PRC firm with additional offices in Shanghai and Hainan. The firm also has a joint office with Baker McKenzie in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, allowing it to leverage off its global network for cross-border business.

During the research period, the firm kept busy on finance mandates, advising on a host of loan facilities and projects including Iraq’s first power plant project developed by a private sponsor after the Iraq war, and the first HVDC transmission line project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The firm bolstered its finance capabilities with the hire of an eight-member team in Beijing, including partners Shirley Wang and Grace Chen, from Zhong Lun.  

Client feedback

“The firm is professional, responsible and reliable.” – Banking

"We have been using the team led by Shirley Wang for more than five years for debt security offering matters. The team is very professional and reliable. It is the client's choice from our perspective." – Capital markets: Debt

 

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in China operates from its Beijing office, where it also coordinates with Hong Kong and Singapore. It is best known for its work in M&A, project finance, and project development.

This year, the firm focused on investment funds and project development matters. Highlights include representing Asian private equity firms in the formation of new investment funds, advising energy corporations on their ownership interests, and managing the development, construction, and financing of a transportation project.

Key clients include Boyu Capital, CITIC Capital, New Horizon Capital, PAG, Lupin Capital, Meralco PowerGen Corporation, Yida China Holdings, DCP Capital, and Trustbridge Partners.

A notable recent development saw funds partners John Fadely and Albert Cho join from Weil Gotshal & Manges.  

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Blackstone Group $945 million acquisition of Geo-Young

•Boyu Capital fund IV

•CITIC Capital China fund IV

•CITIC Capital and Caixin Global $181 million of Global Markets Intelligence Division

•MRT-7 project

•PAG China special situation fund

•Trustbridge Partners VI 

 

Global Law Office

Global Law Office is an independent Chinese law firm that is strong in finance, projects and equity capital markets work. Of late, the firm’s finance practice has gone from strength to strength as it bulked up its team with partner hires and started to pick up larger mandates in bilateral and syndicated loans, project finance, acquisition finance, real estate finance and asset finance.

In the research period its finance practice advised on a range of refinancing, shipping and real estate mandates.

The firm has had a proactive IPO practice advising issuers, sponsors and bookrunners in Hong Kong and US IPOs. It also acted in a number of securitisation deals.

The firm’s M&A team were preoccupied with mining and real estate work – including the first foreign investment project in the mining sector of Kazakhstan since its new mining law came into effect – and the projects team acted in a host of domestic and outbound matters.

In late 2018, the firm brought in finance partner Lingjie Zhang from Zhong Lun. Its M&A team strengthened with partner hires Zhiping Zhu, Shiping Zuo, Vincent Wang, and Jin Liu from Convington & Burling, Wanke Shanghai, Davis Wright Tremaine and JunHe respectively. The firm also brought in an additional two partners from JunHe, namely, Liam Yu and Yuqing Zhang.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      AsiaInfo Technologies HKSE IPO

•                      Beijing $11 billion Daxing Airport project

•                      China Risun HKSE IPO

•                      MOGU NYSE IPO

•                      Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange $1.33 billion series C equity financing

•                      Urumqi Rmb2.3 billion Line 2 Metro PPP

•                      Wanka Online HKSE IPO

•                      Xiamen Tungsten $1 billion acquisition of Kazakhstan tungsten mines

Grandall Law Firm

One of China’s largest independent law firms, Grandall Law Firm is best known for its equity capital markets work where it is ranked highest. It had traditionally been dominant in the A-share market but has more recently made great 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.

Over the research period the firm’s IPO practice has been highly active advising issuers and underwriters in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen and New York listings. These include the largest restaurant IPO in history (Haidilao); the first unicorn to successfully list in Hong Kong in 2018 (Ping An Good Doctor); the first A share listed securities transfer from the new OTC market (Nanjing Securities); and the first listing of a commercial bank from northwest China (Bank of Gansu).

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. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Bank of Gansu HKSE IPO

•Haidilao HKSE IPO

•Joyson Electronics $1.6 billion acquisition of Takata Corporation assets

•Nanjing Securities SSE IPO

•OneSmart NYSE IPO

•Robo-Technik SZSE IPO

•Zhangjiagang Rmb10 billion fund

Client feedback

"It was good. It handled the legal due diligence on the target, assisted in drafting the M&A sales and purchase agreement and other related transaction documents, and assisted the purchaser to complete the closing." – M&A

Guantao Law Firm

Guantao Law Firm is best known for private equity and project development where it is ranked highest. 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. 

The firm has had a busy research period acting in a spate of domestic social infrastructure PPP mandates and outbound conventional and renewable energy projects in Vietnam, Indonesia and Kenya. Its capital markets practice has been active in Hong Kong listings and in corporate, convertible and green bond issuances.  

Guantao Law Firm’s private equity team has been handling a high volume of mandates at various stages of funding including acting for a local government sports fund investor in one of the largest sports industry financing mandates. The corporate practice has been busy with automotive, biotech, insurance, aviation and energy transactions.  

The firm has been on a recruitment drive over the research period hiring finance partner Wang Zi from China New Energy Fund and partners He Huichang and Wang Zheng from Jiangsu Suyuan Law Firm. The capital markets team brought in partners Tan Yanhua and Albert Lam from Guangdong Huashang Law Firm and Keith Lam Lau & Chan in Hong Kong. The firm also recruited M&A partner Wang Yan from Zhejiang Tengzhi Law Firm.  

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•2022 Winter Olympic Games PPP 

•Chengdu Expressway HKSE IPO 

•China Reinsurance Group $865 million acquisition of Chaucer Insurance 

•Golden Ponder Holdings HKSE IPO 

•Liyang City rural domestic sewage treatment PPP 

•Nam Dinh 1200MW coal-fired power plant 

•Suning Sports $600 million series A equity financing 

•Vobile Group HKSE IPO  

Client feedback

"The firm has deep knowledge in M&A rules and practices. It is diligent and flexible, and able to provide solutions to meet client needs." – M&A

Henry Hong

"He's a good communicator and understands clients' needs with innovation to provide solutions."

Wang Yang

"She's an excellent lawyer."

 

Haiwen & Partners

Haiwen & Partners is one of the smaller firms in the PRC market but it is among the oldest private law firms that has built itself a stellar reputation in the capital markets often acting on market firsts. The firm also has a strong M&A and private equity practice advising clients such as Advantage Partners, AIG Investments, Blackstone and Bain Capital in fund formation, investments, management and exits.  

In the research period the firm’s IPO practice has been active as has its overseas listing practice advising issuers and underwriters in Hong Kong and Nasdaq IPOs, including the first internet-healthcare company to be listed on Hong Kong’s stock exchange.  

The firm’s M&A practice has been busy with mandates in the auto components, construction and food & beverage sectors. 

Its restructuring team has been busy in the media and entertainment space. 

The firm brought in M&A and private equity partners Tianjing Zhang, Qingjian Wang and Jieni Gu from Debevoise & Plimpton, O’ Melveny & Myers and Ropes & Gra. It also hired insolvency expert Jianjian Zhang from Ruian People's Court, but also lost equity capital markets lawyer Max Hua to Shearman & Sterling. 

In February 2019, the firm opened an office in Chengdu to help develop the market in western China.  

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•Alibaba Rmb4.5 billion investment in Huitongda 

•Aurora Mobile Nasdaq IPO 

•Bank of Jiujiang HKSE IPO 

•Bank of Xi'an SSE IPO 

•BBMG Group Rmb4.3 billion acquisition of Tianjin Construction Material Group 

•China Renaissance Holdings HKSE IPO 

•Ping An Healthcare and Technology Company 

•Wanda Film corporate restructuring  

 

Han Kun Law Offices

Having established itself in 2004, Han Kun Law Offices is still a relatively new firm but has grown swiftly to be among the leaders in the PRC market. This is especially so for 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.   

The firm’s overseas IPO practice has been very busy in the research period, not just with Hong Kong listings but also listings on New York’s stock exchange and Nasdaq. For example, it advised the issuer NIO that became the first Chinese electric vehicle company to list in the US; advised the underwriters on the largest fundraising to date by a Chinese concept share listing on Nasdaq; and advised the issuer on the largest biotech offering in Hong Kong last year.  

The firm’s private equity practice has had another good year with a large volume of deals, including acting for Softbank in its vision fund’s investments in China, and acting for Tencent Holdings and JD.com on one of the world’s largest single strategic investments between internet companies at Rmb34 billion.  

The firm strengthened its private equity practice over the research period with the hire of partner Paula Liu from Kirkland & Ellis, and its aviation finance team with the recruitment of Yi Ding from Baker McKenzie. It also bulked up its equity capital markets offering at its Hong Kong office by bringing in Ethle Tang and Tao Li from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•iQIYI Nasdaq IPO 

•Manbang Group $1.9 billion financing  

•Meituan Dianping HKSE IPO 

•Meituan-Dianping $3.7 billion acquisition of Mobike 

•NIO NYSE IPO 

•Qiming Venture Partners Rmb2 billion RMB fund V 

•Tencent and JD.com Rmb34 billion investment in Wanda Commercial 

•Tencent Music Entertainment Group NYSE IPO 

Client feedback

"Han Kun's lawyers are not only legal experts in finance and fintech, but they provide comprehensive product solutions for clients as well." – Banking

"It is very responsive to any queries we might have and also provided answers to our questions in a timely manner. More importantly, its advice was sound and appropriate for our situation." – Capital markets: Equity

"We highly appreciate its professional expertise. The Han Kun lawyers are really pro-active and have great legal knowledge in the marketplace lending industry. In fact, it is not easy. The PRC laws and regulations continue to evolve in this emerging industry and the interpretation of these laws and regulations involve significant uncertainties. With Han Kun's appropriate advice and strong support, we always get good value for money." – Capital markets: Equity

"Its work is very professional." – Investment funds

"The firm is very strong in technology." – M&A

Dafei Chen

"Mr Chen is extremely good at communication with clients and understands our commercial priorities deeply. With extensive experience in fintech companies' IPOs and M&A projects, he can promptly provide solutions for legal issues. In the evolving regulatory environment of the fintech industry, he understands our evolving needs and can combine his excellent legal skills with business acumen. He often shares market knowledge to help our senior management advance our own business goals."

Charles Li

"Charles Li, who is the lead corporate partner with the firm, is tremendously insightful and strategic in his thinking. He is able to provide superb technical legal advice that is also commercially informed."

"Charles Li is a very good technical lawyer who is also extremely commercially savvy and strategic in his thinking. He is his clients' business partner, and not just a service provider."

Adrian Lv

"Adrian has been very involved in our project and acted professionally throughout. His professional legal knowledge is top-notch and we never have any doubts on any advice he gave. He always responded to our queries and/or questions in a timely manner. Furthermore, he is up-front and transparent on the fees. This makes us very comfortable working with Adrian."

Jun Wan

"Mr Wan is a legal expert with strong commercial sense in the fintech area. Given he advised a couple of leading fintech companies, Mr Wan could come up with business solutions with legal risk management methods."

Charles Wu

"A very strong lawyer and very key asset in cross-border deals."

Ping Zhang

"Ping Zhang is professional and client oriented."

 

Han Yi Law Offices

One of the older and rare boutiques in the PRC market, Han Yi Law Offices’ core focus has traditionally been on private equity and M&A in the TMT and e-commerce space. It is also experienced handling matters in the manufacturing, financial services, automotive, hotels, logistics and commercial real estate sectors.

In more recent times the firm has built up market presence in the healthcare and education industries while intensifying its activity in e-commerce. For example, it acted for Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC as the largest investor in Ant Financial’s $14 billion series C financing, which was the largest ever single-funding round ever, and acted for key client Carlyle Group in a host of mandates including in one of the few PIPE deals involving strategic investments by foreign investors in China’s A-share market.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Ant Financial $14 billion series C equity financing

•                      Carlyle Group minority investment in Ambio Holding

•                      Carlyle Group Rmb720 million investment in Luolai Lifestyle

•                      Carlyle Group and Meinian Healthcare Group consortium $300 million acquisition of Adicon Clinical Laboratories

•                      TrustBridge Partners and Temasek series B investment in WeWork

HHP Attorneys-At-Law

HHP Attorneys-At-Law is the first Chinese member firm to join Meritas, an international alliance of law offices. Based in Shanghai, it is best known for its work in banking and finance and M&A. The practice is particularly active in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, and mining sectors. 

This year, HHP Attorneys-At-Law was focused on M&A mandates, designing financial frameworks, and providing legal support to disputing clients. 

Key clients include Solar MBO, Schott AG, Davita, Hongjiu Industrial, and Golden Target Global.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Hongjiu Industrial $86.9 million acquisition of residential real estate development project in Shanghai

•Schott $98.5 million acquisition of Scott Xinkang Pharmaceutical Packaging 

Client feedback

"The team provided quick responses with a high quality and a trust-worthy partner." – Project development

Rao Yao

"He has solid legal knowledge and is a trustworthy partner."

 

Jia Yuan Law Offices

Jia Yuan Law Offices is a Chinese full-service law practice based in Beijing with offices also in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Xi’an. The firm specialises in the areas of banking and finance, private equity, M&A, and capital markets, but its work in M&A and capital markets is the most notable.  

During the research period, Jia Yuan Law Offices was busy managing debt-to-equity swaps, advising on bond issuances and public offerings, and providing legal resolutions for reorganisation issues. For example, it acted as the PRC legal advisor for the Ganfeng and Junshi Biosciences H-share listings. 

Key clients include China National Building Materials Group Corporation, Aluminum Corporation of China and WuXi AppTec.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Aluminum Corporation of China $1.61 billion financial restructuring

•China National Building Materials Group Corporation $9.61 billion merger with China National Materials Group Corporation

•China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation $2.8 billion financial restructuring 

•GF Securities $1.92 billion private placement 

•Xiongan New Area $1.92 billion construction bond

 

Jincheng Tongda & Neal

Established in 1992, Jincheng Tongda & Neal is a large full-service Chinese firm with 10 offices in the Chinese Mainland and one in Tokyo. It is best known for its M&A, capital markets and projects work.

During the research period the firm was instructed in a number of securitisation and debt capital markets mandates. Its M&A team acted in a host of mandates in the mining, energy, steel, pharmaceutical, and agriculture industries, while its projects team acted in an array of outbound projects in Pakistan, Myanmar, Zambia, and United Arab Emirates.

Key clients of the firm include The Export-Import Bank of China, Bank of Suzhou, China Communications Construction Company, China Construction Bank and Shagang Group.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•China Construction Bank Rmb83 billion domestic tier two capital bond issue

•China Construction Bank $1.85 billion tier two capital bond issue

•Dongbei Special Steel Group restructuring

•Gwadar Port Free Zone

•New Yangon City Project

•Shagang Group Rmb25.7 billion acquisition of Global Switch

•Zijin Mining Group $1.26 billion acquisition of 63% stake in RTB Bor

 

Jingtian & Gongcheng

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. 

The firm’s finance team was very busy with real estate and logistic properties financing. 

The firm’s IPO practice had another strong period in overseas listings, especially in Hong Kong but also US IPOs, including advising the underwriters in one of the world’s biggest tech floats in four years and on Pinduoduo’s Nasdaq listing.  

Its growing funds practice acted in renminbi, venture capital, healthcare-focused and even green funds.  

The private equity practice acted in one of the largest sports industry financing mandates, and also on one of the largest A round funding deals in recent times. 

In the research period the firm hired private funds expert James Yong Wang from Han Kun to grow its fund formation practice.  

In late 2018, Jingtian & Gongcheng opened up an office in Nanjing and in 2019 it merged with L&C Legal to strengthen its Hong Kong law capabilities. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•China Risun HKSE IPO 

•Haidilao HKSE IPO 

•Pinduoduo Nasdaq IPO 

•PPLive Corporation Rmb2.67 billion series A equity financing 

•Suning Sports $600 million series A equity financing 

•US-China Rmb10 billion green fund 

•Xiaomi Corporation HKSE IPO  

•Zhen Fund Rmb1 billion RMB Fund VI 

Client feedback

"The team is very professional and works at the pace the client demands. It is diligent and I highly recommend them." – Project development

Zhengzheng Hu

"Zhengzheng Hu is an excellent lawyer."

 

JunHe

JunHe is one of China’s elite law firms that is tier one across the board. The firm was among the first private law firms to be established in the PRC, and while capital markets is its largest practice group and project finance is a core activity, the firm is also known for other types of finance, M&A, and private equity work. 

In the research period, the firm’s finance practice was busy with acquisition finance, asset finance, and handling syndicated and bilateral loans. Its aviation finance practice acted for Chengdu Airlines in the first operating lease of a China-made commercial regional jet, namely the Comac ARJ21-700.   

JunHe’s debt capital markets practice has been very active advising on convertible, domestic and overseas bonds for issuers in the real estate, banking, insurance and technology industries.   

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•Chengdu Airlines $150 million operating lease of five Comac ARJ21-700 aircraft 

•Chongqing Huayu Group $30 million 4% credit enhanced bond issue 

•Grammer acquisition financing  

•Guangzhou Shiyuan Electronic Technology Company Rmb942 million convertible bond issue 

•SQM acquisition financing  

•Wall Street English acquisition financing 

•Wuhan Real Estate Group $500 million 5.7% bond issue 

•Zhuhai Rural Commercial Bank Rmb1.5 billion tier-2 capital bond issue 

 

King & Wood Mallesons

Sino-Australian venture King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) 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.

The breadth of KWM’s capabilities can be seen from the instructions the firm receives. For example, its equity capital markets team advised on two unique transactions where both OPUS Group and Dragon Mining moved from the Australian securities exchange to the Hong Kong’s stock exchange. The IPO practice also advised the issuers in one of the world’s largest IPOs in recent times, the first publicly-traded live streaming platform in Hong Kong, and acted for the underwriters on the first PRC based fintech company to list in Hong Kong.

The firm also helped establish virtual bank ZhongAn Virtual Finance, which is only one of three virtual bank applicants approved by Hong Kong’s monetary authority, and it helped launch the CLP Home Loan Scheme to aid those looking to buy a first home in Hong Kong.

KWM’s private equity team advised on one of the most significant financings in China’s entertainment industry in 2018, and its project team has been engaged in a host of domestic and outbound projects including the first PPP arrangement for the redevelopment of Ghana’s rail network and one of the largest developments tendered by the Hong Kong government.

In the research period, the firm brought in finance partners Ashley Wong and Katherine Ke from Mayer Brown and Clifford Chance respectively. The regulatory practice brought in partner Rachel Yu from Herbert Smith Freehills, while the corporate and securities team brought in Wang Yu from Morrison & Foerster and counsel Anthony Jacobsen from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      51 Credit Card HKSE IPO

•                      China Tower HKSE IPO

•                      CMC Rmb10 billion series A equity financing

•                      Dragon Mining ASX delisting and HKSE listing

•                      Ghana western railway line BOT

•                      Inke HKSE IPO

•                      Kai Tak Sports Park

•                      OPUS Group ASX delisting and HKSE listing

Kirkland & Ellis

With 80% of its lawyers practising primarily in private equity, Kirkland & Ellis (K&E) excels in leveraged buyouts, M&A, private investments in public equity, and joint ventures that is paired with a market leading private equity funds team. The firm also has a very strong restructuring and insolvency practice acting for bondholders, companies and banks, and a sponsor side leveraged finance practice.

It has been another strong year for the firm whose funds team has been raising billions of dollars for PAG Asia Capital, working on healthcare focused funds and increasing its profile in real estate funds work. K&E has also been representing sovereign wealth funds in the largest single-funding round ever at $14 billion, and acted for Boeing its joint venture with Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, which was the clients first overseas completion centre and a landmark joint venture project between the US and China.

The firm’s restructuring and insolvency team has bifurcated into specialists that drive China restructuring mandates and those that cater to South East Asia. The team acted for commodity trader Noble Group in its widely covered debt restructuring and K&E’s Hong Kong based lawyers were also involved in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Toys R Us, which is the third largest retail bankruptcy filing in US history.

In the research period, the firm had a round of internal promotions to partnership and brought in regulatory partner Richard Sharpe from Clifford Chance. K&E’s private equity practice took a hit with partners Henry Yin and Paula Liu leaving for Cooley and PRC firm Han Kun respectively.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Ant Financial $14 billion series C equity financing

•                      Boeing Company joint venture with Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China

•                      C-Bridge Capital Healthcare Fund IV

•                      China Fishery Group restructuring

•                      Luckin Coffee series A and B financing

•                      Noble Group financial restructuring 

•                      PAG Asia III $6 billion LP fund

•                      Toys R Us insolvency

Latham & Watkins

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

While China outbound M&A has been challenging of late due to macro factors, Latham & Watkins showed the breadth of its practice by acting for the target in the second largest inbound M&A deal of last year in Vietnam. Additionally, the firm’s private equity team acted for Carlyle Group in one of the biggest private equity exits ever out of Korea.

Its impressive finance team has been engaged in acquisition financing over the research period acting for the borrowers in the largest syndicated outbound M&A financing into Latin America and for the lenders in the largest outbound M&A financing into Europe in 2018.

The firm also handled the largest restructuring of the past 12 months and its regulatory team is gaining traction advising on fintech matters.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Charoen Pokphand Foods C$498 million acquisition of Hylife Investments

•                      CITIC Capital and FountainVest Rmb2,5 billion acquisition of majority stake in China Merchants Loscam International Holdings

•                      GIC Private $1.3 billion investment in Vinhomes

•                      FountainVest €4.2 billion recourse and non-recourse financing

•                      Noble Group financial restructuring

•                      Rolta India restructuring

•                      SK Telecom and MIRA $2.63 billion acquisition of ADT Caps

•                      Tianqi Lithium Industries $3.5 billion term loan facilities

Leaf Law Firm

Leaf is a Shanghai-based corporate law firm that focuses on M&A and corporate matters, private equity, data protection and cybersecurity, distribution, compliance and intellectual property.

The firm’s bicultural team has had a busy year acting for technology start-ups at the seed funding and early phases of venture capital financing, while also taking up some acquisition and restructuring mandates. 

Leaf has setup a close partnership with TekID—a digital risks intelligence company specialised in cyber security—and also acts for key clients such as KaiOs, Planet O, The Carevoice, and Kaixinshan. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•CareVoice $2.2 million early-stage financing

•GL events acquisition of majority stake in CIEC Union (Beijing) International Exhibition 

•KaiOs $22 million series A financing

 

Llinks Law Offices

Llinks Law Offices 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. It is ranked highest in private equity, and has strong practices in finance, investment funds, and the capital markets. 

In the research period the firm’s finance practice has been busy with property and acquisition financing work, with a steady stream of syndicated, refinancing and term loan work.  

In capital markets work it has been busy with A-share and H-share listings and issuances of green bonds. 

In M&A and private equity work in sectors such as real estate, automotive, technology, manufacturing and healthcare.   

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•Contemporary Amperex Technology SZSE IPO 

•Cowa Robot Rmb135 million series B equity financing 

•Gangfeng Lithium HKSE IPO 

•Guoxuan High-tech Rmb1 billion green bond issue 

•Red Star Macalline Group Corporation SSE IPO 

•Shanghai Cell Therapy Group Rmb925 million series C equity financing 

•Shanghai Sinotec SSE IPO  

•Sinochem International Rmb6.1 billion acquisition of Jiangsu Yangnong 

Client feedback

"Llinks partners and consultants generally has good knowledge of the PRC regulatory rules and environment, as well as regulatory sentiment of the regulatory bodies like the China Securities Regulatory Commission.  There is however a gap in knowledge and lack of business acumen at the junior associate level with advice tending to be a bit on the conservative side in most cases." – Financial services regulatory

Sandra Lu

"Sandra is very knowledgeable of the PRC regulatory regime and has a good relationship with regulators. She's not always easy to get hold of because of her large volume of clients."

 

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown is best known in Hong Kong and China for its restructuring and insolvency, banking and debt capital markets practice where it is ranked highest—its high-yield practice is active often representing trustees on bond issuances.  It has a strong regulatory practice that has moved up a tier this year and its projects team is gaining traction entering the China rankings in this edition too. 

In the research period, the firm’s banking practice has been active advising Chinese banks in high value term, syndicated and revolving facilities, while its projects team has been acting for Chinese banks, export-import banks, regional development banks, and EPC contractors in a host of outbound projects in countries such as Vietnam, Argentina, Papua New Guinea, Kenya and Benin. The firm’s debt capital markets practice has captured a good portion of the Mongolian and South Asian high-yield and sovereign debt securities market.     

In early 2019, the firm strengthened its corporate practice with the hires of partners Steven Tran and Sheng Wu from Hogan Lovells and DLA Piper respectively, while the firm boosted its projects practice in 2018 with the hire of partner Hallam Chow from White & Case.  

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•Anhui Provincial Investment Group Holding $400 million 4.875% bond issue 

•Changgang Dunxin's restructuring 

•Development Bank of Mongolia $500 million 7.25% bond issue 

•Glo Djigbé International Airport Development 

•Mongolian Mortgage Corporation $250 million 9.75% high-yield bond issue 

•Ramu II 180MW hydropower project 

•Sino Land, K Wah, Wheelock, Shimao and SEA Group consortium HK$9.55 billion real estate financing  

•Sri Lanka $1.25 billion dual-tranche (5.75% and 6.75%) sovereign bond issue 

Client feedback

"It is professional and very efficient." – Banking

"It offers quick turnaround, diligent work and excellent advice." - Banking

"Excellent and professional services, very efficient and responsive.  Excellent law firm." – Banking 

"Solid work, could improve on being more proactive in terms of responding to clients, even if with a 'will do' or similar email." – Capital markets: Debt

"The firm's lawyers are very responsive and provide high quality and commercial legal advice." – Capital markets: Debt

"Strong attention to detail, ability to resolve complex problems, and works well in a team." – Capital markets: Debt

"Excellent. Good advice on strategy and tactics of identifying and addressing key issues." – Capital markets: Debt

"The firm has superb and deep knowledge of securities law in Hong Kong. As a result, questions are promptly answered and advice flows freely. It has a genuine interest in the client's business and supports it however it can." – Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation

"Deep knowledge, prompt service and good standing with the regulator. The firm as a whole seems very busy and I wish some work was delivered sooner." – Financial services regulatory 

"Overall, Mayer Brown's work was very effective and thorough. Its report was a good reference for us to determine whether or not the GP made its best effort to address a potential conflict of interest." – Investment funds

"Extremely professional, able to assess issues quickly, and responsive on a timely basis." – M&A

"Our group has been working with Mayer Brown (and its firm before merger - Johnson Stoke & Master) for over 35 years. Mayer Brown is one of the best law firms we have worked with so far. It provides quick and professional legal advice to us as we used to ask Mayer Brown to draft legal agreements urgently (most of the time).  Not only its Hong Kong branch, but its affiliated firms in other countries like Europe and USA are also very professional. Whenever we need legal advice in Hong Kong, China, Europe and USA, Mayer Brown could always find the right person to deal with us professionally. We will definitely continue working with Mayer Brown in future." – M&A

"The level of service provided has been good. It has a good understanding of PRC regulations, and the ability to offer solutions applicable to our industry." – M&A

"The partner and associate (Mark Uhrynuk and Karen Chong) were a good team and guided our deal team through a complex multi-jurisdictional deal. They were able to quickly understand our business case and ensure the legal position was explained to us clearly.  They were very strong in helping defend our negotiating positions when required." – Private equity 

"Very experienced with China work and debt restructuring." – Restructuring and insolvency 

"Solid firm that I have used for a number of years now. The restructuring team has good experience in the region and provides us with consistently sound advice." – Restructuring and insolvency 

Francis Chen

"Francis is very technical and diligent." 

Hallam Chow

"Hallam Chow of Mayer Brown has worked with our company for many years, from banking facilities to M&A projects. He has very good industry sense combined with an excellent legal background, and the company has had very good experiences working with him."

"Solid law background with industry sense."

"He's very efficient and effective with short turnaround times."

Jason Elder 

"He has a firm grasp of the issues relating to capital markets transactions."

"He's extremely knowledgeable on debt capital market transactions as well as on our firm and country."

Hannah Ha

"The partner, Ms Hannah Ha, who we've worked very closely with for years is exceptionally professional, she is always able to provide extremely commercially sensible legal advice to the group topped with great wisdom. We are thankful to have wise and helpful lawyers like her to work hand-in-hand with us."

"Extremely professional and wise, with great commercial sense and a wonderful personality. What else can a client ask for?"

"She's very competent and responsive to inquiries and requests."

"She offers a good level of service, is responsive, meets deadlines, and has the ability to quickly pick up industry knowledge."

“She has good knowledge of our business and legal expertise for legal matters in Hong Kong and China. She is very responsive, helpful and willing to meet our tight deadlines."

Thomas Kollar

"Extremely responsive. Has the ability to navigate difficult situations well with strong structuring skills."

"He is an approachable lawyer; he understands and focuses on the issues very quickly, providing high quality and commercial legal solutions."

Alan Linning

"He has encyclopedic knowledge of the securities laws in Hong Kong and can explain them and implement them as they relate to the business."

John Marsden

"John is very experienced, client centric, commercial and responsive."

"Responsive and client focused."

Tom Pugh

"Tom is a personable lawyer that has solid experience in the region. He is accessible and responsive to requests and can provide clear/concise advice tailored to particular circumstances."

Mark Uhrynuk

"Mark has deep experience in the field. He knows how to get deals done and has years of global practice experience to draw on to ensure we are able to see issues from all sides and pick the best path forward."

Robert Woll

"We are pleased with the quality of Mr Woll's work. He is great to work with and listens to our requests attentively and then addresses them effectively."

Merits & Tree

Merits & Tree Law Offices was established in 2006 under the name Beijing Hawkhigh Law Offices. The firm changed its name in 2017 and has offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Zhuhai. The firm is active in transactions in private equity and investment funds.  

During the research period, 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 Zhihan (Shanghai) Investment Centre with its investment in Hosjoy, which was designated a ‘unicorn’ by Nanjing’s government, becoming the first in the domestic smart home industry. The firm’s funds practice has been active advising on mandates catering to healthcare and renewable energy, including in the China Clean Energy Fund, which aims to develop clean energy projects to supply over 1000MW of renewable energy in China. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Blue Mobile Capital $50 million series D financing

•China Clean Energy Fund

•Koolearn Technology $73.5 million series B financing 

 

Morrison & Foerster

 

Morrison & Foerster’s Hong Kong and China office is strongest in equity capital markets, M&A and private equity where it is ranked highest. The firm’s fund formation expertise in Asia—especially in private equity and real estate fundscontinues to gain traction with a dedicated practice now assembled.

In the research period, the firm was highly active in private equity advising Alibaba in relation to Ant Financial’s $14 billion series C financing, which was the largest ever single-funding round ever; and advising key client Softbank in its vision fund’s various investments. The firm’s growing funds team helped GLP establish the largest ever Japan-focused logistics private real estate fund, while the capital markets team was active in a spate of IPOs and rights issues.

The firm brought in equity capital markets expert Ke Huang from O'Melveny & Myers and M&A counsel Bryan Snyder from Davis Polk & Wardwell.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Ant Financial $14 billion series C equity financing

•                      Binjiang Service Group HKSE IPO

•                      GLP $5.5 billion Japan Development Partners III

•                      IndoSpace $580 million Logistic Parks III

•                      Prinx Chengshan Holding HKSE IPO

•                      SoftBank Vision Fund $1.5 billion investment in Chehaoduo

•                      Softbank Vision Fund $3 billion investment in Local Services Holding Company

•                      Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology $706 million (A and H share) rights issue

 

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe is best known in Hong Kong for its private equity, M&A and fund formation work, particularly for its pan-Asia and China real estate funds.

In the past 12 months, the firm has been increasingly active in private equity fund formation and investor representation for global and regional funds, as well as private equity real estate work, joint venture work, venture capital fund formation and downstream venture formation. It acted for the parent company in the largest private fund raising in China’s logistics industry, and also advised the buyer in the first acquisition of a German company by Chinese investors under Germany’s new China-focused foreign trade legislation.

In the research period, the firm bolstered its M&A and private equity team with the hires of partners Jeff Zhang and Sarah Zeng from King & Wood Mallesons and Dentons respectively. It also brought in of counsel William Ho from Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      China Resources $2 billion healthcare LP fund

•                      Everpine Capital $60 million acquisition of Children’s Group

•                      Grail $300 million series C financing

•                      Intermediate Capital Group $300 million bank loan fund

•                      JD Health $1 billion series A financing

•                      JD Logistics $2.5 billion financing

•                      QFAT Investment and ICP Integrity Capital Partners acquisition of majority stake in COTESA

•                      Tuspark $1 billion one belt one road fund

Proskauer Rose

With offices in Hong Kong and China alongside its experience in Hong Kong, PRC, US and English law, Proskauer Rose is most notable for its work in M&A, private equity and private equity funds.  

During the research period, the firm advised on a cross-border alliance between healthcare companies, managed the global expansion of an Asian-based real estate group and assisted businesses in direct investments and private equity fund management. Highlights include negotiating a commercial arrangement between Grifols and Shanghai RAAS Blood Products to manufacture, market, and develop plasma products in the Chinese market. 

Key clients include Grifols, Accor, Formosa International Hotels Corporation, Mori Building Real Estate Advisory, Schroder Adveq Management, Publicis Groupe, and Country Garden Asset Management.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Grifols Diagnostic Solutions $1.9 billion strategic alliance with Shanghai RAAS Blood Products

•Mori Building Real Estate Investment Advisory $100 million acquisition of stake in Aloft hotel

Client feedback

"The partner who is Jay Tai is very professional and also commercial oriented. The associate, Vivian Ho is very detail oriented.  They managed the process well and fought for our interest." – Capital markets: Debt 

"Proskauer shows street smarts and a sound grasp of the technical aspects of the law." – Financial services regulatory

"Generally delivered high-quality documents in a timely manner. Responded to our requests promptly." – Investment funds

"The teams work well together to provide seamless service to its clients." – M&A

"The partner in charge did an excellent job and really understood the economic goals of the transaction while not wasting time negotiating unnecessary clauses." – Private equity

"The partners and associates of the law firm are very helpful and can provide speedy, practical and valuable legal advice." – Private equity

"Proskauer is very professional, efficient and amicable. Very good communications skills and able to find the balance to meet clients' requests while holding on to its legal integrity." – Private equity

"Swift response, correct understanding of instructions, advising on potential risks and guiding on proper procedures." – Private equity 

"Jay Tai and his team demonstrated a total commitment to helping the client achieve the commercial goal. Jay listened to our concerns and was quick in coming up with solutions which were both commercially and legally sound. The entire team was extremely responsive, diligent and easy to work with and we felt we were in good hands." – Private equity 

"Vivian Ho is an experienced M&A/PE lawyer and is always responsive. She is helpful in giving in practical solutions." – Private equity 

 

R&P China Lawyers

R&P China Lawyers is a foreign-managed PRC-licensed law firm that was established in 2010. The firm’s core focus is in inbound corporate and M&A, as it often advises its foreign clients on China market entry, establishing joint ventures and project development.

The firm has a strong focus on retail and real estate related retail mandates. Over the research period, it acted in corporate mandates in the retail, healthcare, pharma and food and beverage sectors.                   

Recently the firm brought in Fabian Knopf as director from TMG Group.          

Client feedback

“Oustanding!” – M&A

“R&P provides great value for the rates it charges. The firm is very good at providing direct feedback in a timely manner with concise instructions optimised for making decisions on how to best do business in China." – Project development 

"R&P China Lawyers is very approachable, hands-on and provides very practical and useful advice. It has exceptional market knowledge and is good value for money." – Project development

 

Ropes & Gray

Ropes & Gray in Hong Kong and China has come on very strongly in the past few years, with its increasingly active sponsor side leveraged finance practice going alongside its strong private equity, M&A and fund formation practices. The firm also has a strong restructuring and insolvency practice primarily advising bondholders.

Bain Capital is a key client of the firm, it was busy during the research period advising it on private equity and acquisition finance mandates. The firm also acted for TPG Capital and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) in a host of transactions, and it is a strong adviser to Alibaba in its corporate and M&A work. The firm’s restructuring and insolvency practice was engaged in bondholder work in some top regional restructurings.

The firm brought in counsel Chune Loong Lum from Skadden in Singapore, senior finance lawyer Lucy Wu from Latham & Watkins, and promoted M&A practitioner Oliver Nip to partnership.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Alibaba $1.38 billion investment in ZTO Express

•                      Ant Financial joint venture with OpenRice Group

•                      Bain Capital acquisition of World-Wide Packaging

•                      Global A&T Electronics restructuring

•                      iKang Healthcare Group $1.4 billion take-private

•                      KKR mixed-use real estate project financing

•                      Rolta India restructuring

•                      SenseTime $600 million series C financing

Seyfarth Shaw

With a pan-Asia practice, US-based law firm Seyfarth Shaw has been active in the region for some time with offices in Shanghai and Australia. Its Hong Kong office is a more recent addition, having been established in 2017 in association with Wong Wan & Partners. 

The firm is focused on equity capital markets and M&A work and kept busy during the research period advising on acquisitions, divestments and joint ventures in the insurance, consumer goods and technology sectors. Its equity capital markets team was assisting a Singaporean demolition services provider in its aim to list in Hong Kong, while aiding an oil and gas company access new capital through the issuance of warrants. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•NiuTouBang Asset Management acquisition of Keen Eagle Insurance Brokers

•Persta Resources HK$25.3 million warrants issue

•Recruit joint venture with Shenzhen Yeahka Technology 

 

SG & Co Lawyers

SG & Co Lawyers is a Shanghai based Chinese firm with branches in Tianjin and Shaoxing. 

The firm is best known for its structured finance and securitisation work on the mainland and has advised on asset-backed security mandates at an aggregate over Rmb300 billion, including in one of the largest residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) transactions available to the market in the research period.

Key clients include Agricultural Bank of China, CITIC Trust, Tebon Securities, and Haitong Asset Management. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•CICC International Far Eastern Leasing Rmb2.4 billion ABS Series I

•FITS Jianrong 2018-2 Rmb9.2 billion credit asset backed securitisation

•Jiamei 2018-1 Rmb14.3 billion RMBS

•Jianyuan 2018-2 Rmb10 billion RMBS

•Jianyuan 2018-18 Rmb15 billion RMBS

•Nongying 2018-1 Rmb641 million non-performing loan securitisation

 

Shearman & Sterling

Shearman & Sterling 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 outbound energy projects practice.

In the past year, the firm has been busy acting in a spate of high-yield and investment grade bond issuances almost exclusively acting for the underwriters. The firm’s funds team has been engaged in LP mandates, technology funds and sovereign wealth fund matters, while its projects practice continues to act on large outbound conventional energy and oil and gas mandates for its Chinese clients Brazil, Africa and Vietnam.

The firm’s equity capital markets practice took a hit this year with the departures of partners Colin Law and Peter Chen to PRC firm Fangda Partners, and the exit of Paloma Wang to Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Yang Ge to DLA Piper. The firm has sought to rebuild its Hong Kong listings practice with the recent hire of Max Hua from Haiwen & Partners.

The firm also lost M&A partner Stephanie Tang to Hogan Lovells, but brought in finance counsel Kenneth Ching from Allen & Overy and funds counsel Sean Murphy from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in New York.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Brazil integrated oil and gas project

•                      China Creation Ventures $200 million flagship fund

•                      Lamu 930MW coal-fired power plant

•                      Mongolian Mining Corporation and Energy Resources $440 million 9.25% high-yield bond issue

•                      Perusahaan Perseroan PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara $1 billion 6.150% bond issue

•                      Sunac China Holdings $800 million 7.875% high-yield bond issue

•                      Thar 4 1000MW mine mouth power project

•                      WuXi AppTec HKSE IPO

Shihui Partners

Shihui Partners is a relatively new law firm based in Beijing. It is dedicated to providing legal services for new economic areas and specialises in M&A, private equity financing, and wealth management. This year, the practice was particularly focused on the areas of capital markets, investment funds, and corporate and M&A.

Highlights include designing transaction structures for joint ventures, advising on bond issuances, and managing debt-to-equity projects.

Key clients include JD Logistics, Liepin, Pintec, Tuanche.com, IDG Capital, Baibu, eBroker, Aqua Ventures, ABC Investment, and Donghe Capital. 

A notable recent staffing change saw partner Steven Zhao join from Fangda Partners and partner Darren Liang join from Hankun Law Offices. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•ABC Investment $1.28 billion fund formation

•IDG Capital $1.15 billion financing

•JD Logistics $2.5 billion financing

•JD Digital $13 billion financing

•Liepin HKSE IPO

 

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett (STB) is best known for its private equity and M&A work in Hong Kong and China. The firm has one of the leading China fund formation practices in the market offering US and Hong Kong law capability, and it has a strong reputation in US and Hong Kong IPOs. The firm has also developed its regional leveraged finance capability that has a strong Hong Kong/Japan nexus.

The firm had another strong year in private equity acting for key global client Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) in its acquisitions in Japan, Taiwan and India, which was one of the largest buyouts in India and the first in the country’s environmental services sector. It also represented Ant Financial in the largest single-funding round ever. Since the start of 2018 the STB’s equity capital markets practice has acted in 10 Hong Kong IPOs, nine US NYSE or Nasdaq IPOs and four follow-on offerings.

In the research period, the firm sought to strengthen its leveraged and acquisition finance practice, and promoted fluent Japanese speaker Makiko Harunari to front the firm’s Asian banking and credit practice in Hong Kong. Also counsel Ethle Tang left the firm to assume partnership at PRC firm Han Kun.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Ant Financial $14 billion series C equity financing

•                      ChemChina $5.5 billion syndicated term loan facility

•                      Ganfeng Lithium HKSE IPO

•                      KKR Consortium $1.56 billion acquisition of LCY Chemical

•                      KKR $530 million acquisition of Ramky Enviro Engineers

•                      OneSmart Education NYSE IPO

•                      Ruhnn Holding Nasdaq IPO

•                      Yunfeng $2.5 billion LP fund III

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

High-end M&A and private equity is 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 as it secured a top tier berth in the Hong Kong and China rankings this year. The firm’s funds practice has also come along strongly in order to complete the life cycle for private equity.

In the past year, the firm has dominated the market for Chinese issuers completing US IPOs with 20 completed since the start of 2018. It also acted in the first two IPOs under new Hong Kong rules permitting listings of new economy companies with weighted voting rights, and advised on three of the first—and the two largest—IPOs under new rules to permit pre-revenue biotech listings in Hong Kong.

In terms of personnel during the research period, the firm brought in equity capital markets expert Paloma Wang from Shearman & Sterling, but lost corporate specialist Will Cai who left to launch Cooley’s office in Hong Kong.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      BeiGene HKSE IPO

•                      CITIC $2.3 billion PE fund III

•                      Hopu $2.6 billion fund III

•                      iQIYI Nasdaq IPO

•                      Meituan-Dianping $3.7 billion acquisition of Mobike

•                      Sands China $5.5 billion triple tranche (4.6%, 5.125% and 5.4%) high-yield bond issue 

•                      Tencent Music Entertainment Group NYSE IPO

•                      Xiaomi Corporation HKSE IPO

Slaughter and May

Slaughter and May is a unique firm 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 that makes it a stable choice as counsel. Its corporate practice is renowned for public takeovers, mergers and private acquisitions as it secures a top tier berth this year.

The firm also has a strong capital markets practice that acted for the underwriters in the first dual primary listing of a company on the Australian stock exchange and Hong Kong stock exchange during the research period, and represented Sands China in relation its first ever issue of debt securities. In M&A, the firm recently acted for Richard Li’s FWD Group in the largest insurance M&A deal in South East Asia, and it represented Cathay Pacific in its foray into low-cost travel by acquiring HK Express.

In the research period, the firm brought back partner Jing Chen from the listing division of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX), and despite Slaughter & May’s traditional reluctance for lateral hires; it hired Wynne Mok from the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). In addition, capital markets partner Roger Cheng left for the SFC.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Cathay Pacific Airways HK$4.93 billion acquisition of Hong Kong Express Airways

•                      FWD Group $3 billion acquisition of SCB Life Assurance

•                      Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company HK$3 billion privatisation

•                      Sands China $5.5 billion triple tranche (4.6%, 5.125% and 5.4%) high-yield bond issue 

•                      Swire Properties $500 million 3.50% green bond issue

•                      Times Holdings II HK$3.3 billion acquisition of majority stake in Hong Kong International Construction Investment Management Group

•                      United Energy Group $650 million acquisition of Kuwait Energy

•                      Yancoal HKSE IPO

 

Sullivan & Cromwell

Sullivan & Cromwell’s core focus in Hong Kong is to provide US and Hong Kong law advice to its clients across Greater China and Asia-Pacific in M&A, private equity and equity capital markets matters. The firm is also increasingly active advising on investment grade and high-yield bond offerings.

Sullivan & Cromwell has a strong track record having acted on an aggregate of $380 billion in greater China M&A transactions and $84 billion in Hong Kong IPOs. In the past 12 months, the firm acted for a cornerstone investor in the largest and one of the first IPOs by a biotech company under the new Hong Kong listing rules for biotech issuers, and its M&A team acted for one of Hong Kong’s wealthiest families and in Taiwan’s largest cement manufacturer’s first investment outside Asia. It also acted in the largest ever education sector IPO.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      BeiGene HKSE IPO

•                      Booking Holdings $200 million investment in Grab

•                      China East Education Holdings HKSE IPO

•                      Granda Century $235 million 7.50% bond issue

•                      Mulsanne Group Holding HKSE IPO

•                      NWS Holdings $2.75 billion acquisition of FTLife Insurance

•                      Taiwan Cement Corporation $400 million zero coupon convertible bond issue

•                      Taiwan Cement Corporation $1.1 billion investment in Ordu Yardimlasma Kurumu

Sunshine Law Firm

Sunshine Law Firm is a Tier one firm for project development in the PRC legal market. It is headquartered in Hangzhou but has branch offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

The firm is focused on renewable energy, environmental protection, water ecological governance, marine resource development and protection.

In the research period the firm has been busy with outbound coal, power and wind projects in countries such as Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Turkey and Vietnam. It has even been busy with transport infrastructure mandates in South East Asia. The firm also advised CNNC Longyuan Technology in the ongoing construction of a sodium-cooled pool-type fast-neutron nuclear reactor in Fujian, which is a landmark project for the development of China's nuclear industry. 

Key clients of the firm include China Guodian Corporation, State Power Investment Corporation, China National Nuclear Corporation, Huarun Corporation, Zhejiang Energy Corporation, and JA Solar.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Bangladesh S Alam Chittagong 2x660MW coal power plant

•Mozura 46MW wind farm

•Xiapu MW2100 (1500MWth and 600MWe) fast reactor pilot project

Client feedback

"Sunshine is very professional in the outbound investment of energy projects. Its unrivalled combination of industry knowledge and first-class legal services has made it a leading Chinese law firm in the energy and environment fields. It has exceptional knowledge and understanding of the commercial and legal aspects of cross-border transactions in the energy field, and has provided us with commercial and pragmatic advice to maximise our business goals. We have been very pleased with the quality of its legal services and enjoyed our cooperation in many projects over the years." – Project development 

Hongwen Zhu

"Ms Zhu is experienced in providing legal services in outbound energy projects, and she has built a solid reputation in this field. She is an excellent commercially minded lawyer, who always provides us with practical solutions. Among the many strengths she demonstrated to us were her strong negotiation skills and speedy responses. We have been enjoying working with her on many of our power projects overseas." 

 

Tahota Law Firm

Tahota Law Firm provides legal services in 30 specialised departments and its most notable are banking and finance, capital markets, M&A, and private equity.  

This year, the practice managed debt collection and debt restructuring deals for banks, advised on the issuance of bonds on behalf of institutions, designed transaction structures, and assisted in the establishment of investment projects. 

For example, Tahota Law Firm advised China Development Bank Shanghai Branch on a loan facility to EMBA Electricity Production. Other highlights include the development and establishment of Chongqing Yukang Jianxin Equity Investment Fund. 

Key clients include China Development Bank, Logos China Logistics Venture, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Yunnan Hongta Bank, Yunnan Provincial People’s Government, Sichuan Cable Broadcasting Network, and Chengdu Huaxing Pharmacy Chain.

A notable recent staffing change saw partner Kaixiang Zhang join from Beijing Zhonglun (Chengdu) Law Firm and Hui Zhang join from Beijing Zhongrui Law Firm. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Chengdu Communications Investment Group $400 million bond issue

•Chengdu Shuangliu District Traffic Construction Investment $116 million bond issue

•Construction Investment Development of Urumqi Economic and Technological Development Zone $200 million bond issue

•Fujian Shipbuilding Industry Group $98.8 million financing 

•National Bank of Egypt $800 million loan facility 

•Shandong Commercial Group $120 million private bond issue

•Xinjiang Financial Investment Group $200 million offshore bond issue

•Yunnan Provincial People’s Government $685 million bond issue

 

Tian Yuan Law Firm

Beijing-headquartered Tian Yuan is traditionally known for its strong state-owned enterprises (SOEs) client base in heavy industries, but has pivoted of late towards acting for private companies in the technology space.

It also has a durable equity capital markets practice that has captured a good portion of the A-share market. In more recent times the firm acts in more US and Hong Kong listings, facilitating this with a relatively new office in Hong Kong alongside its offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu. The firm in also active in M&A and project development.

During the research period, the firm’s IPO practice has been highly active advising issuers in US, Hong Kong and Mainland listings, including some landmark floats. Highlights include advising Ascletis Pharma in the first biotech IPO after the new Hong Kong biotech listing rules came into effect; advising Hope Education in the largest education IPO of 2018; and advising Midea Real Estate Holding in one of the largest Hong Kong real estate IPOs of 2018.

Its M&A team was active in healthcare, financial services and automotive mandates, while its projects practice has been engaged in interesting outbound energy mandates in Iraq, social infrastructure projects in Kuwait, and transport infrastructure in Kenya and Ghana. Domestically, it has been acting in transport PPPs and work catered for the 2022 Winter Olympics. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•360 Finance Nasdaq IPO

•Ascletis Pharma HKSE IPO

•Hope Education HKSE IPO

•Puxin Education NYSE IPO

•Midea Real Estate Holding HKSE IPO

•Mingyang Smart Energy Group SSE IPO

•Rumaila 730MW combined cycle power plant

•Wanda Film restructuring

 

Uría Menéndez

Uría Menéndez was the first Iberian law firm to establish a presence in Beijing. Its corporate practice is run by experienced lawyers in European and Latin American business law and this allows them to cater to Chinese clients interested in cross-border investment. 

This year, Uría Menéndez was largely focused on corporate and M&A deals. Highlights include advising on M&A transactions for a Spanish audiovisual group and a medical product manufacturer.

Key clients include Mediavideo and Shanghai RAAS Blood Products.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Orient Hontai Capital €1.9 billion acquisition of Imagina Media Audiovisual

•Shanghai RAAS Blood Products €1.71 billion merger with Grifols

 

V&T Law Firm

V&T Law Firm is a full-service law firm based in Beijing with further offices in Shenzhen, Shanghai, Chengdu, Wuhan, Xi’an and Changsha. Notable for its work in banking and finance, the firm is continuing to expand and strengthen its practice.

During the research period, V&T Law Firm was mainly involved in financial and corporate matters concerning project development within the transport, energy, and infrastructure sectors.  

Key clients include Xinjiang Tebian Electrician Group, Ping An Asset Management and Beijing Municipal Engineering Consulting Corporation. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Dalian Bay Undersea Tunnel and Guangming Road Extension PPP

•Shandong Haiyang nuclear power project

•Xinjiang Tebian Electrician Group PPP

 

Weil Gotshal & Manges

Weil Gotshal & Manges has long enjoyed a solid reputation for regional private equity work from Hong Kong. The firm only targets mandates at the high-end and is ably supported by its strong leveraged financing practice for sponsors and lenders.

Weil in Asia acted on over $44 billion’s worth of announced Asia-Pacific private equity deals last year with a greater focus on e-commerce, healthcare, infrastructure and early-stage technology mandates. It is very experienced acting for boards of directors in going-private transactions, acted for Softbank Vision Fund in one of South Korea’s largest transactions in 2018, and also acted for the buyer in one of Asia’s largest healthcare transactions this year.

The firm brought in M&A counsel Sandy Lin from Eversheds Sutherland, but lost finance counsel Eng-Lye Ong to Dechert.  

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Advent International Corporation acquisition of BioDuro

•                      Alibaba acquisition of Daraz

•                      Baring Private Equity Asia $300 million acquisition of Wall Street English

•                      eHi Car Services $850 million take-private

•                      iKang Healthcare Group $1.4 billion take-private

•                      Shanghai Pharmaceuticals $1.2 billion acquisition of Cardinal Health’s China distribution business

•                      Softbank Vision Fund $2 billion investment in Coupang

•                      Vistra Group acquisition of Radius Group

Winston & Strawn

Winston & Strawn is a large US headquartered law firm known for its traditional strength in litigation. The firm is vying for equity capital markets, private equity and M&A market share in the Hong Kong and China market.

During the research period, the firm’s capital markets team has been active in Hong Kong and New York listings, capital raisings, private placements and the restructuring of convertible bonds. It was also busy acting in acquisitions and private equity mandates in the technology, logistics, automotive, pharmaceutical and medical sectors.       

In March 2019, the firm bolstered its capital markets team with the hire of partner Khoon Jin Tan from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Danfoss $100 million acquisition of UQM Technologies 

•New Frontier Corporation NYSE IPO

•NGK Spark Plug $133.5 million acquisition of Chart Industries’ oxygen-related products business 

•Universal Star Holding HKSE IPO

 

WongPartnership

With offices in Shanghai and Beijing, WongPartnership has the largest Chinese team among Singaporean law firms. It is full-service and provides legal services in a variety of corporate and financial matters, but it is most notable for its corporate and M&A work.  

This year, the firm was mainly focused on assisting companies in joint venture projects and in advising on acquisitive transactions.

Key clients include CapitaLand, Frasers Property, and Keppel Land China.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•CapitaLand S$11 billion acquisition of Ascendas-Singbridge Group

•CapitaLand S$1.71 billion 20 mall divestment 

•Frasers Property $177 million joint venture with GIC and JustCo

Client feedback

"WongPartnership's key strengths are its responsiveness and facilitation skills." - M&A

 

Zhong Lun Law Firm

Zhong Lun Law Firm is a powerhouse in the Chinese legal market that has secured a tier one berth in most practice areas. 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. 

It has been another strong showing for the firm over the research period as its finance practice catered to onshore and offshore acquisition and refinancing mandates in the real estate and chemical industries. 

The firm’s equity capital markets practice acted for the underwriters in China Tower’s IPO, which was one of the largest ever in Hong Kong, and for the underwriters again in a Chinese company’s listing on Frankfurt’s CEINEX D-share market.  

The firm’s securitisation practice enjoyed strong deal flow and acted in the largest RMBS ever introduced in China's securitisation market, and in Asia's first credit asset securitisation project based on blockchain technology. 

Its funds practice acted in Rmb and US dollar funds while fund forming and raising funds targeting biomedicine, sports, education and energy investment. 

The firm’s projects team was active on an array of domestic PPPs and outbound projects, including acting for Tesla in its plan to build a factory in the Lingang Area of Shanghai Municipality, which is Tesla’s first factory outside the US and presently the largest foreign-invested manufacturing project in Shanghai. 

Zhong Lun strengthened its banking and finance practice over the research period with the hires of partners Jeffrey Liu from Dentons Shanghai office and Tang Jianhui from Jiangsu G&D Law Firm.   

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•China Tower HKSE IPO 

•Meituan Dianping HKSE IPO 

•Qingdao Haier CEINEX D-share IPO  

•Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding $1.2 billion acquisition of Cardinal Health’s China distribution business  

•Jiao Ying 2018 Phase I Rmb9.3 billion RMBS 

•Jianyuan 2018-21 Rmb16.8 billion RMBS 

•Tencent Music Entertainment Group NYSE IPO 

•Tesla Rmb50 billion Gigafactory 3 

Client feedback

"Overall it was a pleasant experience working with Zhong Lun. The team members are professional and detail oriented." – Capital markets: Debt

"Its M&A team is very quick and responsive. Sometimes the advice could be a little more detailed as certain details of the asset deal that were unknown to us surfaced some time later." – M&A

"The firm provides timely responses and good client communication." –M&A

"It is very responsive and easy to work with; clear communicators; and does a good job of controlling costs." – M&A

"The team are very professional and willing to help clients.  During the work, it responded to us timely and took a lot of time to do the research in order to offer better solutions." – Private equity

"The team impressed us with its deep understanding of market practice, excellent negotiation skills, and efficiency. Before Zhong Lun got involved, we had several rounds of negotiations with investors, as the bargaining power of investors is very strong and we could not get substantial movement in the transaction. Although the schedule was tight and the negotiation tough, the lawyers of Zhong Lun assisted us in moving negotiations forward and getting more protection clauses for us in a very short time. The deal closed successfully in two weeks following our engagement with Zhong Lun and we are very satisfied with its legal service." – Private equity

"Zhong Lun is conscientious and responsive." – Private equity 

Hu Di

"Hu Di is very diligent and sensible in handling difficult situations. He has great communication skills and legal knowledge."

Jia Haibo

"Very good team leader. Professional and always provides good advice."

"Mr Jia worked on the projects efficiently and professionally. He is very devoted to delivering optimal results for his clients."

Steven Huang

"A really excellent commercial lawyer. Steven's advice is always responsive, well considered and solution driven."

Xie Xin

"Xie Xin is conscientious and responsive."