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Index of tables

  1. Real estate and construction: foreign firms
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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The ‘commercial and dedicated’ practice at DLA Piper covers due diligence, acquisitions and divestments, financings, and taxation; it is also highly rated for leasing and facilities management, project and commercial developments, REITs, hotel management and agreements, trusts and syndicates, fund formation and restructuring. Lillian Duan, who splits time between Shanghai and Beijing, advises major investment institutions and property funds on their real estate investments and business operations in China, in addition to acting for Chinese clients in their outbound property investments globally. Together with colleagues in the US, Duan acted for Sino-Ocean Group during its acquisition of an office building in San Francisco and its related REIT formation. Wayne Ma divides his time between Shanghai and Hong Kong, and focuses on cross-border real estate transactions, and includes acquisitions and disposals of various types of real property, joint ventures, limited recourse and secured financings, private equity and institutional investments and fund formation. Ma led the advice to the Carlyle Asia Real Estate team on the sale of Central Plaza office tower in Shanghai to V Capital, the private equity arm of Chinese real estate developer Vanke. Hong Kong-based Asia Pacific real estate head Susheela Rivers also heads up the firm’s Asia Pacific hospitality and leisure practice; she is ‘a good relationship partner with in-depth knowledge’, has extensive experience handling landmark developments throughout the region including in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau, Malaysia, Korea, India, Vietnam and Indonesia. Shanghai senior associate Julian Zhu and Hong Kong senior associate Janice Yau Garton are other names to note.

Mayer Brown JSM has one of the largest real estate and construction teams in China and Hong Kong, and is highly rated for its expertise in real estate finance and corporate real estate matters. The team has longstanding experience in outbound investment from China and Asia to the US and Europe, and fields lawyers with expertise in hospitality and leisure, construction and engineering, major construction litigation and arbitration, large-scale infrastructure work and environmental law issues. Recent highlights include advising CSI Properties on the high-value acquisition of several floors of retail premises in Shanghai from Carlyle. Andy Yeo advises developers, funds and other investors on investment structures, land and building acquisitions, establishment of project companies, obtaining required permits and licences, and construction. Construction arbitration expert Tom Fu is also recommended for environmental issues in China. Additional names to note include real estate department head Keith Cheung, Ricky Yiu and Alan Yip, and senior associates Rosalyn Han and Ellen Zhang.

Allen & Overy LLP recently hired Chinese M&A and private equity specialist Wayne Lee in Hong Kong from Shearman & Sterling LLP; Lee typically advises private equity houses, investment funds and other corporate investors on real estate acquisitions. The wider team works across the firm’s Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong offices on corporate real estate, real estate finance and capital fundings, and the practice is experienced across all real estate asset classes, including residential, commercial, retail, hotels and logistics. On the corporate side, the team’s focus is on acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures and real estate investment trusts. Reflecting the firm’s finance credentials, the practice is strong in real estate finance transactions, particularly on the lender side. Recent work highlights saw the group advise V Capital on its acquisition of Shanghai Central Plaza, which also included handling the finance aspects. It also assisted Wing Lung Bank and Standard Chartered Bank, as mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners, with the $250m refinancing for New Century REIT. On the residential side, the team advised CBRE Global Investors and one of its clients (a sovereign wealth fund), on a cross-border equity acquisition and the formation of an onshore residential joint venture with a major Chinese developer and another co-investor. Shanghai-based Matthew Bisley is a highly rated real estate finance partner.

Baker McKenzie FenXun Joint Operation Office’s team specialises in acquisitions and disposals, real estate financing, major developments and real estate investment trusts. Other areas of strength include mortgage-backed securities, asset management, public and private funds, commercial leasing, and dispute resolution. The practice acted for Yuexiu Property Company (YPC), an investment and holding company, in the disposal of a 49% equity interest in Guangzhou Hong Sheng Property Development Co. and assignment of a loan by YPC. Edmond Chan, Rico Chan, May Lau, and Shiu-man Wan are highly regarded advisers and all based in Hong Kong.

Clifford Chance LLP’s breadth of practice includes office, residential and industrial real estate, as well as specialised assets such as networks, hub sites, data centres, LPG sites, hospitals, exhibition venues and logistic centres. The client base includes vendors, purchasers, bidders, lenders, developers, and warranty and indemnity insurance brokers. Recent matters saw the team advise Grosvenor on its disposal of properties in Beijing’s CMT building to Honray Capital. Terence Foo, Matthias Feldmann and Dauwood Malik are key practitioners, as are corporate partner Kelly Gregory, Tim Wang and Ying White. Yi Yang is a key counsel.

In addition to Morrison & Foerster LLP’s reputed work in the logistics sector, the practice is also recommended for high-profile residential and commercial real estate matters. In one of the largest logistics transactions in China in recent times, the team acted for Global Logistic Properties, a provider of modern logistics facilities in China, Japan, and Brazil, in its landmark agreement with a group of Chinese strategic partners. Shanghai’s Maria Wang is a corporate lawyer with a focus on real estate transactions, including complex M&A, joint ventures, financings, disposals, and project developments and management. Hong Kong-based Marcia Ellis co-heads the firm’s Asia private equity practice and is also recommended.

Paul Hastings LLP’ ‘consistently delivers high levels of service at reasonable market rates’. The team is highly regarded for real estate deals in China, primarily involving the buying and selling of companies that own real estate assets. It also regularly receives mandates from real estate funds, with the team advising on the structuring and establishment of private equity, venture capital and other types of investment funds in Asia. Practice head David Blumenfeld splits time between Hong Kong and Shanghai, and Paul Guan, whose ‘strengths are his local knowledge, real estate investment experience in China and high-level international standards’, recently played a key role in several of the firm’s most significant deals. Representing a significant milestone in the Chinese hospitality sector, Blumenfeld and Guan advised Starwood Capital on the establishment of a new China-based hotel joint venture with Shimao Property Holdings, a Chinese property developer and operator.

Pinsent Masons’ team is well known for its construction law services, including transactional work, contract management services and dispute resolution, particularly arbitration. Shanghai-based China head Hew Kian Heong specialises in construction and engineering law; he has advised owners, contractors and consultants on a range of major infrastructure and commercial construction projects in China and elsewhere. Also in Shanghai, Helen Chang specialises in PRC construction law and related regulatory issues, as well as foreign investment, and Helena Chen has vast experience in arbitration, infrastructure projects and cross-Taiwan-Strait investments. Other notable contacts include Sam Boyling, who advises on large-scale infrastructure developments in the UK and abroad and has road and rail sector expertise, and Ellen Zhang, who is noted for the development and financing of international energy and infrastructure projects.

White & Case LLP’s recent work saw the team advise developers, owners, private and institutional investors, investment funds, lenders and underwriters on a range of real estate transactions in Asia, including real estate finance, real estate capital markets and investment funds. The firm is experienced in all types of assets, such as office and apartment buildings, multi-family developments, mixed-use properties, shopping centres, hotels and resorts, industrial developments and warehouses, and the team provides Hong Kong, English and US law advice. Highlights included acting for Ping An Bank in a HK$3.8bn facility to PA Investment Funds SPC IV for its participation in the buyout of Dalian Wanda Commercial Property Co’s Hong Kong-listed shares. Beijing-based David Li’s recent real estate deals included bond offerings and bank financings, while in Hong Kong, Baldwin Cheng co-leads the real estate industry group in Asia; and Eugene Man has extensive experience advising banks and real estate investment funds on highly structured, cross-border China real estate-related financings.

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