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China > Real estate and construction > Real estate and construction: foreign firms > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

With extensive experience in both domestic and outbound investments,¬†DLA Piper's broad practice covers¬†due diligence, acquisitions and divestments, joint ventures, structuring, financing and taxation. Other areas of strength are leasing and facilities management, project and commercial developments, REITs, hotel management and agreements, fund formation, and restructuring. Highlights include acting for a consortium of five international banks, as mandated lead arrangers, in a secured term loan facility to three borrowers that indirectly own a grade-A office tower in Beijing. It also advised a newly-established fund, Enhanced Real Estate Series APAC II ‚Äď China Outlets (managed by TH Real Estate), on its acquisition of a pipeline of designer outlet malls;¬†a global manager of real estate equity,¬†debt, securities and specialised strategies on selling two Shanghai office buildings; and an¬†international financial institution on the acquisition of a 49% interest in each of Merry Wave and Bright Power Enterprises from a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed real estate company, Shui On Land. Shanghai's¬†Lillian Duan¬†is highly rated for¬†real estate M&A and joint ventures as well as the sale and leasing of properties in China;¬†Wayne Ma, who divides his time between Shanghai and Hong Kong,¬†advises¬†multinational and Chinese investment banks, financial institutions and private equity funds on both inbound and outbound transactions across Asia, Europe and the US.¬†In¬†Hong Kong, the Asia Pacific real estate head is Susheela Rivers¬†and¬†Janice Yau Garton¬†is a key senior associate.

In addition to its widely respected transactions and development practice, Mayer Brown JSM also has a dedicated real estate finance team that advises lenders on Hong Kong and PRC financing arrangements, loan restructuring, foreign exchange matters and security issues. Additional key areas include construction litigation and arbitration, large-scale, non-contentious infrastructure projects, and environmental law issues. Recent work includes advising InfraRed NF Investment Advisers and Dynamic Sino Company in relation to an investment in Beijing-based self-storage platform operator, China Mini Storage. It also assisted Swire Properties, a property developer, owner and operator of mixed-use properties in Hong Kong and mainland China, with the framework agreement with Shanghai Newbund Industrial Development Company for the joint development of a retail project in Shanghai. Andy Yeo advises developers, funds and other investors on investment structures, land and building acquisitions, the establishment of project companies, and obtaining the required permits and licences. Yeo's experience also includes construction, property title application, sales and leasing, and property management. Other key practitioners include Tom Fu, who advises on issues arising out of construction projects in China and on the drafting of contract documentation for China projects, while the senior associates to note are Rosalyn Han and Ellen Zhang. In Hong Kong, Keith Cheung, Ricky Yiu and Alan Yip are all experienced advisers.

Allen & Overy LLP's full-service Greater China real estate practice fields 30-plus real estate lawyers across Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. It advises Chinese and foreign investors on Chinese real estate investments and divestments and financing arrangements. The team advised AEW, a privately-owned real estate investment manager that invests in private real estate markets across the globe, on its acquisition of an offshore target company that owns an onshore office property in Shanghai with a co-investor. It also regularly acts for logistics client ESR, which is the result of a merger of Singapore-based logistics fund manager, Redwood Group Asia, and Shanghai-based developer and operator of warehouses e-Shang, on the purchase of properties or investments in properties to convert them into state-of-the-art distribution and transport facilities.Matthew Bisley acts on real estate investment trust, acquisition and mezzanine financing as well as refinancing; Wayne Lee is a highly rated corporate real estate partner; Jean Ye is a key counsel.

Specialising in acquisitions and disposals, real estate financing and real estate investment trusts, Baker McKenzie FenXun Joint Operation Office's other areas of strength include mortgage-backed securities, asset management, public and private funds, commercial leasing and dispute resolution. On the development side, it fields lawyers with expertise in mixed-use projects; these include emerging class of assets such as hotels and tourism, theme parks, car parks, industrial parks, private residence clubs and container terminals. It assisted Shui On Land with the sale of a 49.5% interest in one of its commercial real estate portfolios in Shanghai. It also acted for Excel Partners China Fund (Excel) in a $175m secured term loan facility by a consortium of five international banks, led by Deutsche Bank, to three Barbados subsidiaries of Excel. Alexander Gong is the key contact in Shanghai and his practice focuses on real estate matters, including cross-border M&A deals, foreign direct investments, joint ventures, financing, commercial leasing, hotel management and construction matters. Rico Chan heads the firm’s Asia Pacific structured real estate group; Edmond Chan oversees the Hong Kong-based real estate practice.

Clifford Chance LLP recently worked on a high level of China inbound and outbound real estate matters, particularly in relation to US, UK, Middle Eastern and Central Asian investors. The practice is experienced in high-end conveyancing, real estate-related M&A, finance, capital raising, joint ventures, dispute resolution, fund formation and IPOs; and its coverage extends from conventional office, residential and industrial real estate to networks, hub sites, data centres, hospitals, exhibition venues and logistic centres. The team advised Bank of China (Hong Kong), HSBC and ING Real Estate Finance on the financing of Hong Kong investor C C Land Holdings' £1.15bn purchase of London's The Leadenhall Building; the team also acted for Goldman Sachs in its joint venture with KaiLong REIT to acquire commercial buildings in Hong Kong. The key mainland advisors are China managing partners Terence Foo and Tim Wang and corporate partners Kelly Gregory and Ying White; White is 'an exceptional communicator who is one of the few lawyers in Asia who understands the challenges faced by global asset management companies, and she works tirelessly to bridge the gap that exists between their expectations and understanding and the realities of working in China'. Yi Yang is a notable Shanghai counsel. Matthias Feldmann, who focuses on real estate fund formation, Dauwood Malik, noted for both development and investment financing work, and Clara Tang, who has expertise in development, conveyancing, financing, property management and leasing are the main Hong Kong contacts.

Morrison & Foerster LLP's Shanghai-based Maria Wang specialises in real estate transactions, including complex M&A deals, joint ventures, financing, disposals, and project development and management; she led advice to a real estate fund, managed by LaSalle Investment Management, on its acquisition of a 31-floor, grade A office building in Shanghai from Alpha Investment Partners. Wang also assisted BlackRock Asia Property Fund with its acquisition of two blocks of grade A office buildings in Shanghai from PGIM Real Estate, a property investment affiliate of Prudential Financial. Hong Kong's Marcia Ellis co-heads the firm’s Asia private equity practice and is noted for major real estate mandates. Together with the firm's Singapore office, she advised GLP Pte (formerly Global Logistic Properties), as international counsel, on its complex $11.64bn buyout and privatisation by a consortium of investors; the privatisation was reportedly the largest-ever private equity buyout of an Asian company by enterprise value.

Paul Hastings LLP acts in high-level and financially significant real estate matters, including real estate acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity work and corporate and transactional real estate matters within the Chinese market. The team advised ICBC International, the wholly-owned Hong Kong subsidiary of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, on its formation of a partnership with Sino-Ocean Capital for the acquisition of a large commercial real estate portfolio in China; it also acted for a joint venture, between Chinese private equity firm CDH Investments and China-based business park developer TecParkDevelopment Holdings, in the $300m sale of the XingchuangTechnique Plaza project, a class A industrial office building in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, to D&J Industrial. David Blumenfeld, who splits his time between Hong Kong and Shanghai, chairs the firm’s Asia hospitality and Asia real estate practices, and Paul Guan in Hong Kong is also a highly rated practitioner.

Pinsent Masons is recommended for its expertise in construction projects, including procurement matters, completion issues and construction-related  dispute resolution. The names to note are joint heads of the China offices Sam Boyling, who advises on infrastructure projects inthe power, oil and gas, transport and mining and mineral processing sectors, and Helena Chen, along with Helen Chang and recently promoted Mark Hu. Former mainland China head Hew Kian Heong and Ellen Zhang left for Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

White & Case LLP is experienced in advising on office and apartment buildings, multi-family developments, mixed-use properties, shopping centres, hotels and resorts, industrial real estate, and warehouses. The team assisted a consortium, comprising of Gaw Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs Group and Great Wall Asset Management, with its debt financing; this related to its HK$23bn acquisition of a portfolio of 17 retail shopping malls in Hong Kong. Beijing-based David Li and Hong Kong-based Asia real estate and banking practice co-head Baldwin Cheng are the names to note.

CMS' recent work includes advising on the construction of manufacturing plants, leasing agreements, environmental law matters, and land use issues. Ulrike Glueck is the managing partner of the Shanghai office and Nick Beckett is also a key contact.

Hogan Lovells International LLP's real estate practice in China advises on a wide range of real estate development projects, real estate acquisitions and financing transactions. Typical work for the team includes land purchases, sales, leasing, financing and construction projects. Andrew McGinty in Shanghai heads the team.

K&L Gates' practice covers development and construction projects, acquisitions, dispositions, financing and leasing. Other areas of note include land use, planning and zoning, tax advice, joint ventures, and real estate-related litigation. Recent work includes advising Invesco Real Estate on the acquisition of a portfolio of core logistic real estate assets in China from e-Shang Redwood for approximately $300m. Simon Poh and Max Gu are the principal Shanghai contacts, while Frank Voon divides his time between Hong Kong and Beijing.

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