Following our report on the China Business Law Awards in the previous issue of China Business Law Journal, we now focus on the outstanding achievements of regional law firms in the past year. Business enterprises, be they large multinational corporations or emerging operators leveraging local domestic policies, all need accurate, professional and timely legal services to clear obstacles in their development and ensure compliance under often complex business and political environments across the regions.
After receiving nominations and recommendations from in-house counsel, executive decision makers, legal academics and government officials, we selected the leading law firms in each region, taking into account the significant transactions, cases and other achievements that each firm has been involved in this past year, and examining various indicators such as complexity, innovation, target amounts, etc.
We see that the winning firms include both regional offices of national firms and local practices with a strong territorial presence, each playing to their strengths. The regional offices take full advantage of their scale, actively coordinating national resources and providing “one-stop” legal services to help businesses save costs.
The local firms have extensive local connections they can rely upon, and a deep understanding of regional policy backgrounds. Some of them have taken on a strong ambition for expansion, and some specialise in certain areas, such as shipping and maritime, becoming the “go to” firm, sometimes even nationwide. We applaud all our winners for their exceptional performance!
|China Business Law Awards (Regional Awards)|
REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Beijing)
Beijing-based law firm Commerce & Finance Law Offices maintains a leading position in the capital markets. Last year, the firm undertook several important transactions in this area, which include the listings of China Bohai Bank, JW Therapeutics and Archosaur Games on the SEHK, as well as the issuance of dollar bonds by the Export-Import Bank of China, Trip.com Group and Huazhu Hotels Group. Among them, Bohai Bank’s Hong Kong IPO raised a total of HKD13.47 billion (USD1.74 billion), making it the first Chinese bank stock listing in Hong Kong last year and one of the largest bank stock listings in Hong Kong in recent years.
In the area of M&A, Commerce & Finance participated in important transactions such as the acquisition of Tsinghua Tongfang by China National Nuclear Corporation and the privatisation of Jumei last year. Commerce & Finance also represented the strategic investor Tangshan Delong Steel in the bankruptcy restructuring plan of Bohai Steel Group.
In 2020, Global Law Office has hired 11 partners in its Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen offices. To strengthen its services in southwestern China, the firm opened its office in Chengdu, Sichuan, in March 2020, where they hired five partners.
The year of 2020 has been fruitful for the firm. The significant deals the firm has finished last year include: advising China Resources Microelectronics on is IPO and listing on the Star board in February, and advising New Development Bank in raising RMB5 billion (USD781 million) in the Chinese interbank bond market. The firm has won seven Deals of the Year 2020 awards by China Business Law Journal.
By the end of 2020, DeHeng Law Offices assisted in 93 IPO filings. Among them, DeHeng represented the sponsor to assist Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), the Chinese chip giant, to successfully list on the Star board. The listing raised RMB53.2 billion (USD8.31 billion), which became the largest IPO of A shares since 2010, and also made SMIC the first overseas listed red-chip company to return to the Ashare market.
In the field of domestic M&A, DeHeng has also completed several major transactions. Last year, DeHeng assisted Shenzhen Qianhai Development Investment Holdings and China Merchants Group Shekou to jointly increase capital of RMB145.8 billion (USD22.77 billion) to Shenzhen Qianhai Shekou Free Trade Investment, and represented one of the six strategic investors, Social Security Foundation, to increase capital to PipeChina, and the total capital increase of all strategic investors amounted to RMB50 billion (USD7.81 billion).
East & Concord Partners has performed well in the field of government and international affairs last year. East & Concord provided privacy and data protection services for a number of international events, state-owned enterprises and government departments. As a member of the China Chamber of International Commerce, East & Concord was also invited to provide legal advice on the 14th Five-Year Plan Outline. In addition, the firm brought Pan Kun on board as its counsel last year, who had a long career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in China and held a key position in the Department of Treaty and Law in the ministry.
REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Chengdu)
|Gaoyang Law Firm|
|Juheng Law Firm|
|Mingju Law Firm|
|Sichuan Junhe Law Firm *|
|Tahota Law Firm|
* Sichuan Junhe Law Firm is not affliated with JunHe, a law firm headquartered in Beijing.
Tahota Law Firm is a leading law firm in southwest China. According to the firm’s statistics, it generated RMB1.3 billion (USD203.3 million) in annual revenue in 2020, increasing nearly 30% over the previous year. In order to further transform into a national law firm, it opened offices in Wuhan, Haikou and Urumqi successively last year.
The clients have recognised Tahota Law Firm for its business ability in trademark maintenance. “Under the leadership of Wang Xiao, the trademark team of Tahota Law Firm has won one administrative and criminal trademark defence victory after another for Deere & Company, creating a precedent for administrative and criminal defence of colour trademarks in China,” commented Sophie Fu, an in-house IP attorney at Deere & Company.
Juheng Law Firm specialises in international brand hotel introduction and management, mergers and acquisitions, major commercial litigation and criminal-civil crossover, cross-border investment and corporate compliance services. With deep background knowledge of the industry, it has provided legal services for many tourism development companies and film companies in investment in attractions, engineering construction, and industrial support policy consultation. In the field of M&A, the firm has also assisted a number of real estate and financial companies across China to complete large transactions, including Longhu Properties Company, Xinyi Investment Property, Langji Property Group, Zhongcheng Real Estate Development Company, etc.
Jincheng Tongda & Neal’s Chengdu office has been awarded “Outstanding Law Firm in Sichuan province” by the Sichuan provincial Department of Justice and the Sichuan Lawyers Association for consecutive years. In an arbitration case concerning high-speed railroad financing in Sichuan and Chongqing, the firm applied for non-enforcement of an arbitration award on behalf of a bank client in Sichuan when the judicial interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court of China on non-enforcement of arbitration awards had just been promulgated and the relevant standards were not yet uniform. The case is still ongoing, but it has a big impact on Sichuan’s infrastructure financing environment and the amount involved was up to RMB3 billion (USD469 million).
DeHeng Law Offices’ Chengdu office is well-resourced in the foreign-related field and has been involved in completing many market-impacting transactions. It has provided legal services for Sichuan Provincial Investment Group on the Cascade Hydropower Station Project in Nepal, the 150MW Wind Power Project, and the Integrated Coal Mine Power Project, both in Sindh province, Pakistan. It has also provided legal services for the China Three Gorges Corporation on synthetic loan financing for hydropower projects in Brazil.
REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Chongqing)
|Exceedon & Partners|
|K&H Law Firm|
|ZHH & Robin|
K&H Law Firm is well established in the legal market of southwest China, with offices in Chengdu, Kunming and Guiyang, the capital cities of three provinces in the region. The firm represented several clients in transactions with significant market impacts last year, including the bankruptcy liquidation case of a game company in Chongqing, which safeguarded creditors’ right to know and improved the liquidation rate and bankruptcy efficiency by disposing of various tangible and intangible assets of the company in a flexible and rapid manner. The project was successfully selected as one of the “Top Ten Typical Cases of Chongqing Bankruptcy Court in 2020”.
In the field of intellectual property, an unfair competition dispute about websites and product services, Shenzhen Tencent Computer System and Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) v Shutui Internet Technology (Chongqing) and Tan Wang, was listed by the Supreme People’s Court as a typical intellectual property case in 2020. K&H Law Firm represented both plaintiffs in the case. It became the first case in China in which the internet-specific article of the anti-unfair competition law was applied to the online grey industry.
ZHH & Robin has steadily increased its presence in the southwest region with 52 newly hired lawyers last year. It was entrusted by Chongqing Railway Investment Group, Chongqing Three Gorges Vocational College and other clients last year to provide specialised legal services for 191 of the Chongqing municipal government’s special purpose bonds in 2020, and were valued at RMB35.7 billion (USD5.58 billion). The bond schemes include the Chongqing Rail Transit Project, the Chongqing East Railway Station’s Integrated Transportation and Water Hub Project, the Guangyang Island Yangtze River Economic Belt Green Development Demonstration Project, etc.
SGLA Law Firm continues to enhance its strength in 2020 by attracting an influential local firm Solton & Partners to join its Chongqing office. Both SGLA Law Firm’s Chongqing office and ZHH & Robin participated in China Merchants Group’s RMB2 billion (USD312.75 million) capital increase to acquire Chongqing Testing & Certification Group last year. They jointly established China Merchants Inspection & Certification (Chongqing) with Chongqing Development Investment, a transaction that won the 2020 Deals of the Year by China Business Law Journal.
REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firm (Greater Bay Area)
Jingtian & Gongcheng has offices in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Since 2020, Jingtian & Gongcheng’s Greater Bay Area office has provided services in fields including labour, fund establishment, bankruptcy liquidation, non-performing assets disposal and maritime affairs. Its three offices completed several significant transactions in 2020, with representative deals including Foxit Software’s listing on the Star board in Shanghai, Ming Yuan Cloud Group’s listing on the SEHK, and the Guangzhou Municipal Housing and Urban-Rural Development Bureau’s supply chain asset-backed notes project.
ETR Law Firm introduced 17 partners last year and opened offices in Shanghai, the Hengqin new district of Zhuhai, and the Huangpu district of Guangzhou. The firm provides perennial or special legal services to more than 100 companies or institutions in the pharmaceutical, education and energy industries in Guangdong province. In maritime affairs, ETR Law Firm has represented several clients in winning maritime cases, such as ship collision and marine insurance disputes.
In 2020, the significant transactions completed by ETR Law Firm included the acquisition of the entire interest in Beijing Boan Property Service for RMB87 million (USD13.61 million) on behalf of Aoyuan Healthy Life Group and the acquisition of part of the equity interest in Guangzhou Shipyard International held by CSSC Offshore & Marine Engineering Group on behalf of China State Shipbuilding Corporation for a consideration of approximately RMB2.85 billion.
Headquartered in Shenzhen, China Commercial Law Firm increased its offices to 32 in 2020. The firm completed the IPO of Shenzhen Sunmoon Microelectronics on the Science and Technology Innovation Board of the SSE last year, the project of issuing additional H shares of Guangzhou R&F Properties and raising HKD5.3 billion (USD683 million), and the project of acquiring Shenzhen Yinghe Technology by Shanghai Electric Group. According to China Commercial Law Firm, the IPO of Shenzhen Sunmoon Microelectronics attracted significant attention because it was a long-established company, with state-owned capital and involved a share-holding entrustment. The company went back and forth three times for a decade before finally completing its initial public offering and going public.
Taking full advantage of the geographical and policy advantages of the Greater Bay Area, Kingbridge Law Firm has established the first joint law firm of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau with the Hong Kong law firm Sun Lawyers and Macau Kwong Yuqiu Law Firm, and has set up branch offices in cities including Foshan and Zhongshan. According to the firm’s statistics, its general office generated total revenue of nearly RMB300 million (USD46.9 million) in 2020, a significant increase from 2019, ranking among the top performers in Guangzhou. Important transactions completed by the firm last year include the public issuance of the first phase of green renewable corporate bonds by the Guangzhou Environment Investment Group and the issuance of a patent licensing special asset-backed plan by a pharmaceutical company.
Rooted in Guangzhou, Zhuoxin Law Firm was selected as a national outstanding law firm by the Ministry of Justice of China in 2020. To further enhance the strength of the practice, it introduced lawyers Hao Yuehua and Wang Ze as senior partners last year. Hao serves as permanent legal counsel for many schools and educational institutions, and has served prominent real estate companies such as the Evergrande Real Estate Group and Times China Holdings. Wang’s specialty is government legal affairs, and he has long served as a legal adviser to several government departments, including land planning and urban construction. Zhuoxin Law Firm completed some projects last year, including the transfer of a well-known real estate company’s holding and the renovation of Dapu Village in Longgang District, Shenzhen.
Everwin Law Office is one of the first law firms in Guangzhou to handle foreign-related trade business. The firm has offices in Shenzhen, Dongguan, Jiangmen and Sanya, and its team has a number of qualifications including trademark, patent agent and bankruptcy administrator. It opened its estate management business last year and actively broadened its business. In terms of talent introduction, the firm has attracted three senior partners, Qin Jianlong, Jiang Wusheng, and Pan Zhaoxiang. Among them, Qin is the deputy director of the Minors Protection Committee under the All China Lawyers Association. He is not only experienced in the field of finance and investment, but also has in-depth research experience in the protection of minors.
Video profile: SD Partners
REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Hangzhou)
|Brighteous Law Firm|
|Capital Equity Legal Group|
|L&H Law Firm|
|T&C Law Firm|
|Zeda Law Firm|
T&C Law Firm excelled in dispute resolution last year, with its team handling more than 40 major litigation and arbitration disputes. One of the cases it handled last year involved a financial loan contract dispute in Bank of Communications International Trust Co v Bright Oceans Inter-Telecom Corporation and Others, the subject matter of which amounted to more than RMB400 million (USD62.5 million). In addition, the case attracted public attention since it involved the effectiveness of the listed company’s “secret guarantee”, the authenticity of the resolution of the shareholders’ meeting and its impact on the effectiveness of the guarantee, the boundary of the creditor’s formal examination obligations, and other hot issues.
Headquartered in Hangzhou, L&H Law Firm serves a large number of local and international clients. It has five branches in Zhoushan, Yiwu, and Wenzhou in China and overseas offices in Silicon Valley, New York and Vancouver.
In 2020, L&H Law Firm completed several transactions with market representation. In the patent field, an infringement case involving tunnel and bridge construction represented by L&H Law Firm was selected as one of the seven typical cases of the Intellectual Property Tribunal of the Supreme People’s Court. In the field of civil and commercial affairs, the firm handled a case involving a construction and development partnership against a real estate company and four other defendants in a loan dispute last year, involving more than RMB4.9 billion (USD766.51 million). The case encountered complex situations such as covid-19 and real estate co-operation disputes, which required a high level of competence from the lawyer team.
Video profile: L&H Law Firm
Zeda Law Firm continued to expand its team in 2020. It introduced 90 lawyers last year and opened a new branch office at Shengzhou city, Zhejiang province. Significant transactions completed by the firm in the past year include the public offering of RMB2.5 billion convertible corporate bonds by Zhejiang Communications Technology, and the issuance and delivery of USD300 million senior unsecured bonds by Hangzhou Qiantang New Area Construction and Investment Group.
Based in Hangzhou, Brighteous Law Firm continues to seek scale development. Under the epidemic, the firm set up three offices in Taizhou, Wenzhou, and Huzhou last year to provide litigation and non-litigation legal services ranging from dispute resolution to capital markets. It undertook the acquisition of control of a listed company by an investment group in Henan province last year, with a complex transaction structure involving a series of issues such as the transfer of equity interests in the listed company, directed issuance, approval by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, examination and approval by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, information disclosure, and handling of debts and liabilities.
AllBright Law Offices’ Hangzhou office has been deeply involved in the local market for more than 20 years, providing legal services in various fields such as domestic and overseas listing, restructuring and M&A, finance and banking, construction and real estate, litigation and dispute resolution.
In the capital markets area, AllBright’s Hangzhou Office completed multiple billion-dollar transactions last year, including a public offering of A-share convertible bonds and listing of a listed securities company, involving an amount of up to RMB3 billion. According to the firm, the approval and authorisation procedures for this transaction were complex and difficult due to the listed securities company’s dual attributes as a securities company and a listed company, and the listed securities company’s numerous branches.
REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Hefei)
|Antaida Law Firm|
|Chengyi Law Firm|
|Tianhe Law Firm|
Tianhe Law Firm has a long history, and last year the firm significantly increased its practice in the areas of capital markets and bankruptcy restructuring. Tianhe assisted a number of local companies in Anhui to list on the Star, GEM and SME boards last year. In civil and commercial affairs, the firm’s clients include the Anhui branch of China Development Bank and Anhui Gujing Group, a prominent liquor company in China.
In the foreign-related area, Tianhe provided legal services to Hefei Xingtai Financial Holding Group and Israeli chip giant Tower Semiconductor for its 12-inch wafer foundry factory project in Hefei, with a total investment of RMB19 billion (USD2.9 billion). The firm provided legal services in various aspects such as structuring the transaction of the joint-venture company, construction of the factory and IPR.
The Hefei office of DeHeng Law Offices has made achievements in capital markets, bankruptcy restructuring, IPR, construction and infrastructure construction and other fields. Last year, the office provided legal services for increasing the capacity for a wastewater treatment plant and water reclamation plant public-private partnership project. These two projects belong to a 12-inch memory wafer manufacturing base project, a key project in Anhui province with an USD8 billion investment.
Grandall Law Firm’s Hefei office performed well in the field of dispute resolution last year. The office completed a number of billion-RMB transactions in 2020, including dispute cases in construction contracts, equity transfers and loan contracts. In addition, the firm has also acted as legal counsel for some well-known local companies, such as Anhui Province Energy Group and Anhui Transportation Holding Group.
REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Hong Kong)
|Wilkinson & Grist|
For Deacons, 2020 began with the promotion of four new partners in the specialties of corporate finance, financial services and corporate commercial. It advised on the privatisation of Wheelock, a well-known Hong Kong property company, with a total consideration of HKD47.5 billion (USD6.12 billion). Another sizeable transaction that the firm has advised on involving Hong Kong laws is the RMB bond issuance from Bank of China (Hong Kong). The total amount of the issuance in both 2019 and 2020 is RMB190 billion (USD29.68 billion).
In the asset management sector, Deacons has completed a few one-of-a-kind deals. It assisted CSOP Asset Management to debut its first exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in a Hong Kong-mainland cross-listing scheme and advised Shanxi Securities on the successful listing of its first ETFs in Hong Kong.
Last year, Wilkinson & Grist performed well in multi sectors. It represented a few big-name companies in trademark disputes with infringers in Hong Kong. And it acted for a number of banks in Hong Kong such as the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) and China CITIC Bank International, in new financings and refinancings with China onshore and offshore structures and multijurisdictional as well as borrower’s collateral packages.
The firm has been recognised by clients in trademark services. “Wilkinson & Grist is my go-to law firm for all trademark and copyright matters in China and Hong Kong. They are knowledgeable, concise and respond quickly to all of my inquiries,” said Alexandra Zottola, the trademarks counsel of the Kraft Heinz Company.
REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Nanjing)
|Co-Far Law Firm|
|Fadedongheng Law Firm|
|G&D Law Firm|
|Sundy Law Firm|
Fadedongheng Law Firm is a long-established law firm with 13 offices in Nanjing, Suzhou and Xuzhou in Jiangsu province. Fadedongheng acts as legal adviser for a number of local government departments, including the Jiangsu provincial government, Nanjing municipal government, and both the Jiangsu and Nanjing State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commissions .
Last year, Fadedongheng also assisted Guosheng Group to set up a relief fund with a scale of more than RMB20 billion (USD3.1 billion), making it the largest relief fund for private enterprises set up by local governments in Jiangsu province in 2020. In addition, Fadedongheng has issued various bonds for Nanjing Jiangbei New Area Industrial Investment Group, with a cumulative amount of more than RMB10 billion.
Video profile: Fadedongheng Law Firm
The Nanjing office of Zhong Lun Law Firm has steadily improved its strength in various fields. In environmental protection, the firm introduced lawyer Sun Huaining and his team to act as legal advisers to the Department of Ecology and Environment of Jiangsu province, an environmental technology company and a clean energy company. In the field of debt restructuring, the firm’s Nanjing office assisted large private enterprises such as Fullshare Group and Sanpower Group, as well as other companies covering industries such as oil, agriculture and automobiles.
AllBright Law’s Nanjing office has a strong influence in the local area. In the restructuring project of a large water park in Nanjing, AllBright acted as the bankruptcy administrator and set up different liquidation plans according to various types of claims. After investigation and argumentation, the team finally recommended that the park continue its operation and pay off debts by increasing its business income, effectively balancing the interests of creditors, consumers and employees.
REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Ningbo)
|Boning Law Firm|
|DOS Law Firm|
|Harnest & Garner Law Firm|
|Hightac PRC Lawyers|
|Suhao Law Firm|
In 2020, the dispute between Compagnie Generale des Etablissements Michelin and Ningbo Lucky Craft Company over the infringement of trademark rights handled by Dentons’s Ningbo office was selected as one of the 50 typical intellectual property cases in the Supreme People’s Court in 2020.
The office handled several billion RMB bankruptcy liquidation cases last year. Among them is the bankruptcy liquidation to reorganisation case of 19 enterprises in Zhongdu. The case involved more than 1,000 creditors filing claims and more than RMB10 million in wages owed to employees, and was finally consolidated and reorganised after years of effort by the joint administrators. The case was also selected as one of the 10 Typical Cases of Bankruptcy Trials of the Hangzhou Courts (2019-2020).
Hightac PRC Lawyers established an office in Cixi in July 2020. Hightac is strong in the field of capital markets. The firm issued RMB1 billion (USD156.3 million) worth of corporate bonds for each of the two development groups last year and participated in the refinancing of listed companies on behalf of the China Development Bank. In the field of bankruptcy restructuring, Hightac is qualified as a provincial bankruptcy administrator. According to Hightac, in a bankruptcy liquidation case involving a concrete company undertaken by the firm last year, the debtor and all creditors reached a settlement agreement on their own and successfully concluded the bankruptcy proceedings, which is seldom seen.
The Ningbo office of Yingke Law Firm introduced more than 10 lawyers in 2020, many of whom were listed as foreign-related talents by the provincial and municipal judicial departments. Last year, the firm represented the Ningbo branch of the Export-Import Bank of China in granting a loan to a Thai manufacturer of air conditioners, valued at USD30 million. Yingke investigated the borrower from multiple perspectives such as legal, tax and compliance, and worked with multidisciplinary and multinational professionals.
Capital Equity Legal Group attracted Lin Tianjie, a former military lawyer, to join the firm last year and added a new military-civilian integrated law department. The firm’s bankruptcy team undertook more than 20 cases last year, and the more influential ones included Zhidou Electric Vehicles and Hangzhou Changjiang Automobile. The firm also has extensive experience in the automotive industry.
REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firm (Northeast China)
|An-King Law Firm|
|Chuangyi Law Firm|
|Fada Law Firm|
|Gongcheng Law Firm|
|Heng Xin Law Office|
|Hengfeng Law Firm|
|Think Tank Law Firm|
|Wang Wu Yang & Ma Law Firm|
Liaoning Fada Law Firm is a leading comprehensive law firm in northern China, with offices in Dalian and Shenyang. In the field of intellectual property, the firm was entrusted by Jilin Joinature Polymer last year to vigorously defend the case involving Solvay, a global leader in special engineering plastics, against the infringement of some of its polyether ether ketone products and production methods, and rejected all the claims of the other side, which became a socially influential foreign case at that time.
In July last year, it undertook the bankruptcy reorganisation case of Dalian Zeus Entertainment with Heng Xin Law Office as joint administrators. The case took only 130 days from the time the court accepted the reorganisation application to the successful execution of the reorganisation plan, demonstrating the high level of practice of the two firms.
Heng Xin Law Office has a long history and a good reputation. Headquartered in Dalian, it has offices in Shenyang and Shanghai. It also opened a Tokyo office in March last year and entered into a strategic partnership with a local Japanese law firm to enhance its foreign-related services. In an international arbitration case involving Australia’s largest iron ore project, the applicant was remiss in performing the obligation of compensation following the arbitration award. With the co-operation of foreign lawyers, the firm successfully recovered about RMB120 million (USD18.76 million) and maintained the interests of its client.
Last year, Gongcheng Law Firm attracted two partners, one of whom was Shen Haijiao, a lawyer who had worked at the Jilin Provincial High Court for many years and participated in the drafting and demonstration of judicial interpretations of the Supreme People’s Court. The firm participated in a number of public private partnership (PPP) projects in Jilin province last year, including the Changchun Economic Circle Expressway Project.
In banking and finance, Gongcheng Law Firm has provided legal services to many banks in Jilin province, including the China Development Bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, etc. In addition to providing regular legal services, Gongcheng has assisted banks in dealing with unexpected events and has helped clients recover losses for hundreds of millions of RMB through litigation and arbitration, and has also helped a bank reduce non-performing assets by more than RMB2 billion (USD312.68 million).
Dentons’ Changchun Office is widely recognised by the local market and it saw a significant increase in total revenue last year compared to 2019. In handling the bankruptcy project of Changchun Changsheng Bio-technology, the property price change plan and property distribution plan prepared by the law firm have been approved by the court. The company had been punished by the National Medical Products Administration for the falsification incident on its vaccine production records. This time, the company’s debt amounted to RMB9.8 billion (USD1.53 billion), which received wide attention from society.
Established in 2018, AllBright Law Offices’ Changchun office has completed several crucial transactions in just a few years. It has provided special legal services for the Changchun Old City Renovation PPP project, which lasted three years with an investment exceeding RMB20 billion (USD3.13 billion). In addition, it represented a series of channel financing businesses between a financial institution and a well-known enterprise in Jilin province, with a cumulative amount of RMB8 billion (USD1.25 billion) for the litigation matter.
Video profile: DHH Law Firm
REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firm (Shandong)
|Deheng Law firm|
|Jointide Law Firm|
|Qilu Law Firm|
|Qindao Law Firm|
|Wincon Law Firm|
Qingdao-based Qindao Law Firm successfully completed two significant transactions last year. Qingdao Jiaodong International Airport, for which the firm provided five years of comprehensive legal services, was completed in June last year. It became the first 4F international airport in Shandong and the gateway airport to Japan and South Korea. In 2020, the firm also completed the bankruptcy case of Qingdao Xiyingmen Group, one of the most sizeable bankruptcy cases in Shandong, and designed a way for bidders to increase their capital into shares during the asset disposal stage to achieve bankruptcy liquidation finally.
Wincon Law Firm continued to expand its team and broaden its practice areas last year. The firm attracted 15 partners and consultants to join, established a customs practice team and formed a team for legal services involving South Korea.
In 2020, the firm was recognised by its clients for its performance in several areas. In dispute resolution, Zhang Yuanxin, the director of the legal department of China Railway Modern Logistics Technology was satisfied with Wincon’s services, commenting, “Wincon Law Firm is very timely in providing feedback on the progress of case processing during its representation of cases, with great professional abilities and quick responses in court.”
The legal director of COSCO Shipping Logistics (Qingdao), Zou Xinxiu, also affirmed the firm’s capabilities in maritime affairs, stating, “[Wincon Law Firm] has achieved successful results in handling relevant litigation cases, and has performed rigorously and professionally in responding to daily practice inquiries.”
Zhong Lun Law Firm’s Qingdao office is based on traditional dispute resolution practices, banking and finance, real estate and infrastructure, and maritime affairs. In the field of capital markets, it represented a tyre company in the public issue of A shares. During the process, the firm’s Qingdao office and the issuer’s subsidiaries in Southeast Asia and Europe worked closely and finally completed the tyre company’s public offering of RMB1.991 billion (USD311.23 million) and achieved an oversubscription.
The firm also assisted a company in the military industry to issue A shares to specific targets and list them on the GEM last year. Due to the unique nature of the company, Zhong Lun Law Firm’s Qingdao office also needed to obtain opinions from the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence on the review of matters involving the military industry and the declassification of relevant military issues during the disclosure process and obtain approval of the exemption of disclosure when implementing the non-public offering in accordance with the regulations on new registrations.
REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Shanghai)
In 2020, Llinks Law Offices undertook several transactions, like representing Ningde Times New Energy Technology, a power battery system provider, in its private offering of shares and participating in the listing of UCloud Technology on the Star board. The former client raised RMB19.61 billion (USD3.07 billion), making it the largest single refinancing project on the GEM at that time; the latter client marked the first listed company in A-share history with a structure of “the same share with different rights”.
Llinks Law Offices set up a large compliance team of more than 20 lawyers in August last year to meet the diversified needs of its clients. These lawyers have either served as heads of legal and compliance practices in companies or have backgrounds in administrative enforcement and compliance-focused industry services, attracting companies such as Panasonic and Abbott Trading as clients. In November last year, Llinks was also one of the first law firms to set up an office in the Lingang New Area of the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone to provide legal services for domestic and foreign clients moving into the new area.
With its roots in Shanghai, Jin Mao Law Firm maintains a leading position in the banking and finance sector. Important transactions it participated in last year included the first issue of ultra-short-term financing bonds in the interbank market for 2020 by Shanghai Yongye Enterprise (Group), and the issuance of USD1 billion of dual-maturity offshore high-grade bonds by a wholly owned subsidiary of Shanghai International Port (Group) outside of China in June. In the area of government and public affairs, Jin Mao serves as legal counsel for many departments in Shanghai, such as the United Front Work Department of the CPC Shanghai Committee, the Huangpu District People’s Government and the Shanghai Municipal Financial Regulatory Bureau.
Boss & Young continued to expand in 2020. The firm opened three new offices in Ningbo, Xiamen and Zhengzhou last year, attracting six partners to join. In the field of intellectual property, the firm has defended the rights of brands such as CCTV.com, Huayi Brothers and Paul Frank. It also provided legal services in many copyright infringements, such as the cases involving the Chinese Super League live broadcast, the One Piece Manga series and the song Yang (Itch).
Several clients have recommended the firm in the construction and infrastructure sector. Duan Lifeng, vice president of Shanghai East-China Computer, commented that the firm “framed a clear legal implementation path” when providing legal services to construct its data centre. He added: “[The attorneys] were diligent and dedicated … I’d like to express my thanks to Qin Rui, the young, diligent and professional primary attorney for this project.”
REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Taiyuan)
|Guojin Law Firm|
|Hua Ju Law Firm|
|Zhong Lv Law Firm|
Zhong Lv Law Firm focuses on the energy sector, with strong development in the fields of mining M&A, environmental compliance and financial services. Zhong Lv has accumulated an abundance of experience in Shanxi’s legal market. Last year, Zhong Lv represented an asset management company in a debt and equity swap for an energy group, involving RMB1.6 billion (USD250.29 million). In addition, after the implementation of the new environmental protection law, Zhong Lv completed a public interest litigation case on air pollution of a power generation company. According to Zhong Lv, what causes air pollution has always been a difficult issue and the case involved technical issues in the power generation industry, which made it an immense challenge.
Video profile: Zhong Lv Law Firm
Dentons’ Taiyuan office maintains a leading position in the field of wealth management. In this field, this office served clients including China Construction Bank, China CITIC Bank, China Minsheng Bank, Pacific Life Insurance, and Fidelity Life Insurance. In bankruptcy and liquidation, its special services were required in 16 projects, including transferring equity and the related debts of coal companies, and transferring assets of substations, with transaction amounts reaching billions of renminbi.
REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Tianjin)
|Join & High Law Office|
|Winners Law Firm|
|Zhang Ying Law Firm|
Winners Law Firm merged with Luowei Law Firm in 2020, combining the resources of both firms and attracting several partners to join. In the field of environmental law, Cao Caidan, an attorney who has worked for the international environmental organisation Greenpeace for many years, joined Winners as head of the firm’s Beijing office.
Last year, Winners also served a number of mixed-ownership reform projects for state-owned enterprises, including the acquisition of equity interests in Huadian Tiantou by Binhai Heating, the acquisition of equity interests in Dongjiang Financial Leasing by Tianjin State-owned Capital, and the mixed-ownership reform project of Tianjin Zhonghuan Electronic and Information Group.
Video profile: Winners Law Firm
Zhonglun W&D Law Firm’s Tianjin office continued to maintain its leading position in the financial field. In addition to continuing to provide legal services for Minsheng Financial Leasing and ICBC Financial Leasing last year, the firm also attracted China Railway Leasing and CCTEG Financial Leasing to become its clients. With its remarkable strength in the field of infrastructure, the firm undertook three large-scale PPP projects in Tianjin last year. These projects cover water conservancy construction, ecological construction and urban engineering, with a total investment of nearly RMB55 billion (USD8.59 billion).
Join & High Law Office is experienced in the field of restructuring and liquidation. Last year, the firm assisted the local government to take over a large flower enterprise in Tianjin with more than RMB1 billion in debt, which was about to mature. The firm provided legal services in various areas such as debt handling, staff resettlement and corporate governance, so the enterprise finally became a government enterprise and resumed production smoothly.