King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) – the first ever Sino-Australian law firm – has hired a co-chair to its China management committee to prop up its China practice.

Shao Zili joins the firm from JPMorgan where he had previously been the investment bank’s Asia-Pacific vice chairman. He plans to relocate from Hong Kong to Beijing to assume his new position. 

Stuart Fuller, KWM’s global managing partner, said of the hire: “We are delighted to have someone of Zili’s calibre join our firm in China. His breadth of experience across the legal and corporate sector and deep knowledge of the region provides him with the ability to help lead KWM through its next stage of development in China, and to help to integrate the China practice into the global KWM firm.”

Zili is a known figure in the Asian commercial world and had previously been chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan’s China unit. Prior to that he had worked at Linklaters, first as its Shanghai-based China managing partner and then as its Hong Kong-based Asia managing partner. Before Linklaters Zili was partner at Allens Arthur Robinson and had a stint at legacy Mallesons Stephen Jaques in Melbourne.

In March this year, KWM hired experienced Herbert Smith Freehills partner Gary Lock in Hong Kong. Lock had been with the firm for 15 years working on corporate matters such as foreign direct investment into China and capital markets deals in Hong Kong.