China > Real estate > Foreign firms
Index of tables
Real estate: foreign firms
Other recommended firms
Troutman Sanders LLP
Leading individuals: foreign firms
Allen & Overy LLP’s advice is ‘invariably strong, extremely reliable, well balanced and focused’. The ‘solution and relationship-driven’ team has ‘longstanding real estate expertise in China, both for onshore and offshore structures’, and is singled out as a firm that understands clients’ businesses particularly well. Its client roster includes a number of major financial institutions. Practice head Richard Kim ‘provides a much-appreciated hands-on role’ and is a ‘great coordinator’ who adopts a ‘practical and warm approach that means he can succinctly recognise both sides of a dispute’. Both Kim and Ji Zou ‘always look out for the clients’ interests first and foremost’. Matthew Bisley made partner in 2012, bringing the partner count in Shanghai up to three, while Matthias Voss in Beijing is also recommended.
Baker & McKenzie has ‘knowledgeable lawyers at all levels’, is ‘good at solving problems’ and provides ‘sensible and commercial advice’. Key mandates in 2012 included advising Yue Xiu Group on its proposed REIT investment in a mixed-use development in Guangzhou International Finance Center, comprising a shopping mall, offices, hotel, apartments and car park, valued at over $2.4bn. It was also instructed by the CEO of Kingston Financial Group regarding the acquisition of a mixed-use development in Beijing, and advised a joint venture (JV) investment management company on the formation of a $500m private equity real estate fund focusing on investment and development opportunities in China. The firm continues to advise Disney on its JV with Shanghai Shendi, an SOE specifically established for the Shanghai Disneyland project, and it is also acting as project counsel for the planned development of the theme park. Hong Kong-based practice head Rico Chan has ‘in-depth knowledge of PRC legal issues’ and ‘always provides practical, commercial decisions’. Key partners in Shanghai include Michelle Gon, Brendan Kelly and Harvey Lau, while Barbara Li is the key contact in Beijing.
Hogan Lovells International LLP’s practice is led by the ‘highly respected’ Andrew McGinty, and includes Steven Robinson and Jun Wei; all are based in Shanghai although the latter two also spend much of their time in Beijing. It has advised Thayer Lodging Group on its $307m acquisition of a business hotel chain project in China, and is currently acting for AEG in negotiating sponsorship agreements and management agreements for its Mercedes-Benz Arena facilities. Other recent highlights include advising Kingdom Hotel Investments on the $60m sale of a hotel in China. It also acts for Corning, Value Retail and Martinrea.
JSM has a ‘great reputation for real estate transactions’, and the team provides ‘practical and commercial advice’. Department head Billy Ho enjoys great respect in the market, as does Andy Yeo; both are based in Shanghai. The team recently advised TaiKoo Hui, a subsidiary of Swire Properties in PRC, on leasing 29 floors of office space at its flagship development in China to HSBC; it also advised on pre-lease arrangements. It assisted Shui On Land with the disposal of a 49% stake in its wholly owned company to Mitsui Fudosan; the company indirectly holds a 92% interest of Lot 18 of the Foshan Lingnan Tiandi, a large-scale urban redevelopment project in Guangdong. It has also been involved in fund formation work for YCP, aimed at development projects in various Chinese cities. The firm has a dedicated real estate finance team in Hong Kong.
Paul Hastings LLP is one of the traditional leaders and remains a ‘strong force in the market’, with a number of real estate specialists based in Beijing and Shanghai working alongside counterparts in Hong Kong and Tokyo. It regularly advises on outbound transactions, complemented by the firm’s strong M&A capabilities. It is currently advising Baha Mar Resorts on the $1.4bn financing of the multiphase development of a resort project in the Bahamas; the mandate includes restructuring the loan facility to add an RMB tranche to allow RMB sales proceeds to be applied to the loan in 20 years. Treasury and China Trust is a key client; the firm advised it on the acquisition and financing of Shanghai’s Huai Hai Mall, and regularly advises on other aspects of its portfolio. A key highlight was advising Maker Maxity on an agreement with MGM Hospitality for the development and operation of three hotels in a major mixed-use development complex in Mumbai, India. It also acts for BNP Paribas. Beijing-based Joel Rothstein and Shanghai-based David Blumenfeld are both very well reputed.
DLA Piper’s team is ‘extremely responsive to clients’ needs’, and ‘handles large workloads with speed and professionalism’. Highlights included acting for SOCAM in the acquisition of 90% of two companies that held three plots of land for development (valued in excess of RMB200m); advising Tesco in relation to a project site in Beijing; and advising Max Fame Capital Investment on the purchase of a park in Hong Kong. Other clients include Redevco and RDM gruppo Fingen. The multi-office team is headed by Susheela Rivers in Hong Kong, where respected practitioner Mabel Lui is also based. The Beijing team includes a number of real estate specialists, as well as corporate partners with expertise related to this field.
Deacons’ practice is led by Franki Cheung, who splits his time between Hong Kong and Beijing, and includes Myles Seto, who works from both Hong Kong and Shanghai and specialises in finance-related matters. Recent work includes advising a PRC developer on the acquisition of a land use right and a partly completed commercial complex in Pudong, Shanghai; and advising a major Hong Kong developer on various shopping mall projects in China. It also advises on real estate disputes, such as those arising from tenancy agreements, and has recently been advising a number of clients on land and property recovery actions in southern China; the mandate included negotiating with the PRC government.
Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.’s recent highlights include advising L RealEstate on a project involving a 72,000 sq ft office and retail facility in Shanghai, and the acquisition of a commercial centre and offices in Shenyang. Club Med is another key client; the firm advised it on establishing a high-end resort in China with a Taiwanese partner. Further clients include China Vanke. Former Shanghai partner David Boitout now divides his time between there and Paris, and the Shanghai office also includes Antoine de la Gatinais. Beijing-based Zheng Yu is a further name to note.
Morrison & Foerster has a small but competent team in China. Integrated into the wider corporate team, it includes managing partner Paul McKenzie in Beijing, and the well-regarded Gregory Tan in Shanghai. It recently advised the The Nature Conservancy on the start of its national programme in China, and acted for a Singapore-based real estate company on its proposed investment in a mixed-use project in the North of China.
O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s practice includes Qiang Li and Walker Wallace in Shanghai. The firm acts for various Chinese and multinational corporates and funds, and recently represented Taubman Centers in the acquisition of a 90% controlling interest in Beijing-based retail real estate consultancy TCBL. Other clients include Tishman Speyer Properties, and Treasury China Trust.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has a strong emphasis on finance-related work, particularly where there are cross-border elements. Key clients include Standard Chartered Bank, which it recently advised on a term loan facility secured by Chinese real estate. The Greater China team practises out of Hong Kong, and includes Michelle Taylor and Michael Haworth.