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PRC firms

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  1. Antitrust and competition: PRC firms
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The ‘professional and efficient’ team at AnJie Law Firm delivers ‘excellent response times and appropriate advice’. Its work falls into four broad categories: merger filings, investigations, compliance and private litigation; its reputation in the latter field has been cemented by its involvement in numerous high-profile private antitrust lawsuits in recent years. IP-related antitrust is another area of strength. Hao Zhan and Ying Song are highly recommended; the pair represented state-owned oil company Sinopec as the defendant in antitrust litigation concerning abuse of dominant position. Michael Gu is also recommended.

Fangda Partners’ antitrust practice strikes a balance between contentious and non-contentious work. Its reputation for M&A combined with its strength in competition law ensures a steady flow of merger control instructions; in one high-profile deal, the team advised AB InBev on the Chinese merger filing of its acquisition of SABMiller. Practice head Michael Han and counsel Caroline Huang took leading roles on the transaction. Antitrust investigations also account for a high proportion of the team’s workload; Han led a team representing Medtronic in an antitrust investigation by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the first such investigation in the medical device industry. Private antitrust litigation also features. Vivian Cao joined as counsel from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Fang Qi and Hong Kong-based Andrew Skudder are also key figures in the team.

The ‘first-class antitrust practice’ at JunHe LLP is noted for its ‘deep insights into China’s regulatory landscape and enforcement practices’. The department’s multinational and Chinese clients operate in numerous sectors, though it is particularly active in the pharmaceutical and medical devices fields, where it has ‘strong industry knowledge’. Mandates in 2016 and 2017 included high-profile merger filings, NDRC investigations, compliance reviews and antitrust litigation. The already sizeable team was boosted with the hire of Ziqing Zheng from King & Wood Mallesons and the promotion of Mingfang Gong to partner. Yingling Wei heads the practice, which includes the ‘highly professional’ Janet Hui. Senior associate Xuefei Bai stands out for her ‘solid legal expertise and diligent work’.

King & Wood Mallesons’ competition team fields six partners in mainland China; within the group are US, Hong Kong and Australia-qualified lawyers, who are able to assist in multi-jurisdictional transactions. Areas of practice include abuse of dominance, cartel investigations, merger control, international trade and vertical agreements. In the area of compliance, the firm has a well-rounded offering thanks to the establishment of its commercial and regulatory department in 2015, which provides a strong antitrust, labour, tax, customs and anti-bribery compliance platform. Highlights on the merger control side saw Cheng Liu advise Qingdao Haier during its acquisition of GE’s home appliance business. Susan Ning heads the department, which also includes Hazel Yin and Kate Peng. Zhifeng Chai made partner in 2016.

A ‘leading law firm’ for antitrust and M&A, Zhong Lun Law Firm has a well-established practice that takes in merger control, antitrust investigations, private litigation and compliance. The team also advises clients on the negotiation and preparation of licensing, distribution and R&D agreements. 2016 saw the team assisting numerous clients with domestic transactions, as well as acting for multinationals in cartel investigations. In one highlight, it acted for Guirenniao Co in its acquisition of 36.17% of the shares of Hubei JZX Sports, which was approved by MOFCOM without any conditions. The trilingual Peng Wu has a varied practice and frequently acts for leading Japanese companies thanks to his Japanese language skills. Yi Xue and Yikai Yang are also recommended.

Broad & Bright represents multinational companies across diverse sectors, including electronics, automotive, IT, and food and beverage. It is well versed in merger control filings, an area in which the firm has a large market share, but clients also turn to the team for representation before the NDRC in high-profile investigations into pricing practices. Practice head Yao Feng is deeply experienced, having previously worked at MOFTEC (now MOFCOM) and an international law firm.

Antitrust litigation is a specialism at Han Kun Law Offices, which has handled numerous litigation proceedings filed by private plaintiffs, often with an IP angle. Merger filings are also a mainstay. Recent highlights include acting for Schindler China before MOFCOM for the merger notification of its acquisition of 25% of the shares of Volkslift Elevator (China). Chen Ma is the name to note. At the associate level, Da Shi is an up-and-coming lawyer.

Antitrust is a core practice at ‘go-to firmT & D Associates, which has been working in this field since 1997. It acts for both Chinese and international companies in complex merger filings, and also has an active antitrust investigations practice. The team also provides internal compliance training. Managing partner Yong Ren is singled out for praise.

Tian Yuan Law Firm is noted for its ‘fast response times and communication with the relevant authorities’. It continues to grow, particularly in the areas of antitrust compliance and merger filings. Clients include leading domestic and multinational companies in the pharmaceutical, technology, shipping and utilities sectors. Practice head Wei Huang has ‘rich experience’ and ‘profound understanding of the Chinese legal environment’; his team includes senior associates Fan Zhu and Guizhen Han.

DeHeng Law Offices has an impressive track record in unfair competition litigation; Yao Kefeng is a key contact in this space. Clients also turn to the team for advice on PRC anti-monopoly law and for representation in merger notifications before MOFCOM. Ding Liang heads the antitrust practice and is also well versed in WTO proceedings.

Clients of FenXun Partners benefit from the firm’s joint operation with Baker McKenzie, which provides an international platform and allows the firm to participate in multi-jurisdictional filings. Zhi Bao heads the team, which has a strong merger control practice. In a recent deal, he acted as local counsel to a German company during its acquisition of a US company with operations in China.

Global Law Office’s competition practice was given a significant boost with the arrival of Qing Ren from Zhong Lun Law Firm. It is a popular choice for healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, though its client base extends beyond these to take in work from the technology, automobile and logistics sectors, among others. Frank Hang is well versed in merger filings.

At Jingtian & Gongcheng, the antitrust department is centred largely on merger notifications, combining the firm’s strong M&A experience and Yongqing Huang’s significant expertise in competition law. The team’s track record advising Chinese internet companies on merger control issues involving variable interest entity (VIE) structures is a distinguishing feature.

Lifang & Partners stands out for its combination of IP and competition knowledge and handles IP-related antitrust investigations and litigation. Merger notifications are also a mainstay within the department. In a significant multi-jurisdictional deal, the team advised Rosneft Oil Company on its acquisition of shares of Essar Oil; Guanbin Xie and Yi Jin took key roles.

The multi-linguistic team at Llinks Law Offices has a broad client base of domestic and multinational companies. David Yu’s experience spans M&A, antitrust, real estate and corporate finance; he and Nicholas Lou acted for SAIC Motor Corporation on the notification of its proposed acquisition of 53.92% of the shares of SAIC-IVECO Hongyan.


Foreign firms

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Foreign firms clients in China using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Internationally renowned for competition and antitrust, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Greater China practice comprises Hong Kong and Beijing-based lawyers with longstanding experience in the region. Its global platform allows it to take lead roles on major multi-jurisdictional deals; in a recent highlight, the integrated China team advised AB InBev on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of SABMiller. It is also frequently instructed for compliance counselling and training, and for representation in antitrust investigations before the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and Hong Kong Competition Commission (HKCC). Nicholas French and counsel Ninette Dodoo are names to note (the former splits his time between the Beijing, Hong Kong and London offices). Alastair Mordaunt and William Robinson are key contacts in Hong Kong.

Combining domestic and international competition law expertise, Linklaters regularly has a hand in high-profile transactions in China, and its antitrust capabilities in the region and globally ensure a strong flow of multi-jurisdictional deals. The team advised SABMiller on its acquisition by AB InBev in a transaction that involved over 25 merger filings globally. Other major deals included assisting CMA CGB (as buyer) with the acquisition of Neptune Orient Lines, where both parties were major players in the container shipping industry. On the conduct side, the Greater China team has a broad behavioural competition practice that takes in advisory work and representation in cartel investigations. 2016 and 2017 saw it acting in numerous investigations brought by Chinese and Hong Kong authorities. In Beijing are practice co-head Fay Zhou, who brings significant experience both from private practice in international firms and from an eight-year stint at MOFCOM, and counsel Yuan Cheng. Clara Ingen-Housz jointly leads the practice alongside Zhou and handles global antitrust cases from the Hong Kong office, where managing associates Marcus Pollard, who re-joined the firm from the HKCC in 2016, and Xi Liao are also based.

Allen & Overy LLP takes a ‘real interest’ in its clients and provides ‘very precise’ advice. Based primarily out of the Hong Kong office, François Renard ‘goes the extra mile to provide the best quality service’ and demonstrates an ‘eagerness to fully understand his clients’ businesses’. Counsel Charles Pommiès, in Beijing, is another key practitioner, who advises Asian, European and US companies in transactional and behavioural antitrust matters. In 2016, he and associate Liwei Wang advised Saudi Aramco on the MOFCOM clearance of a joint venture with Lanxess.

At Hogan Lovells International LLP, practice head and Mandarin speaker Adrian Emch is recommended; working alongside him are a group of associates, including former MOFCOM official Andy Huang. The China practice is integrated with the firm’s strong US and EU competition teams and often works on a cross-office basis with colleagues overseas. Its client base comprises household-name multinational companies, including several leading players in the TMT and maritime sectors. Highlights included advising FIH Mobile on the MOFCOM merger control proceedings for its acquisition of Microsoft’s mobile phone business; Emch led on the transaction, with support from associate Jiaming Zhang.

Baker McKenzie FenXun Joint Operation Office has a seamless domestic and international antitrust law practice. Bao Zhi heads the practice in Beijing, while the Hong Kong office acts as the base for Stephen Crosswell, who oversees antitrust matters in Greater China and across the Asia Pacific region. Clients include leading multinationals, such as L’Oréal, British American Tobacco and Nokia, and a range of Chinese clients. The team recently assisted Platinum Equity with the China merger control clearance of two separate acquisitions.

The ‘excellent’ and ‘client-centric’ team at Norton Rose Fulbright comprises five dedicated antitrust specialists based in the Hong Kong office, who work alongside colleagues in Beijing and Shanghai with regulatory and competition expertise. Under the leadership of ‘top-class professionalMarc Waha, the team shows a ‘willingness to adapt to clients’ needs’ and ‘build long-term relationships’. It handles antitrust cases in China, the Asia Pacific region and globally, with team members frequently flying to Brussels to represent clients in hearings and meetings with the European Commission. Waha and associate Sophie Chen are currently advising a Chinese client on global antitrust issues connected with its acquisition of an asset in South America. Maxime Vanhollebeke was promoted to of counsel in June 2017. Associate Pearl Yeung also receives praise.


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