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Editorial

Tax: foreign firms

Index of tables

  1. Tax: foreign firms
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Many clients consider Baker McKenzie FenXun's tax department to be 'peerless in the Chinese market'. Leveraging 'a very good understanding of local customs and regulations', the team provides 'high-quality service that is well worth the price'. The China-focused group is spread across the firm's Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong offices, and its ability to handle PRC tax disputes is enhanced by its tie-up with domestic firm FenXun Partners. Headed by Brendan Kelly, the team advises a number of prominent international corporates on direct and indirect tax, transfer pricing, customs and challenges by the Chinese tax authorities. Kelly and Nancy Lai recently advised a Fortune 500 company on its eligibility to claim a particular withholding tax rate on the cross-border distribution of certain monies. The team including international tax director Jason Wen has also acted alongside its US colleagues to advise on the tax aspects of global M&A transactions. In the contentious space, the department represented clients in cases involving issues such as VAT backfiling and the taxability of multijurisdictional share transactions. Additional contacts in the mainland include senior counsel Jinghua Liu and Frank Pan, a 'very professional' special counsel, who 'performs to a global standard'.

DLA Piper specialises in assisting domestic companies and listed international corporates with transfer pricing arrangements and tax structuring across the various arms of their businesses in China. The Beijing group is led by Windson Li, who has experience representing clients in Chinese tax audits and regularly acts alongside his colleagues in Hong Kong in relation to cross-border investment transactions and offshore tax claims. In one matter, Li acted for a NYSE-listed client in relation to a substantial tax VAT and corporate income tax audit involving the client's Chinese subsidiary. Li also worked with the Hong Kong team to advise a Chinese growth company on its transfer pricing arrangements and pre-sale supply chain tax structuring. Contacts in the Hong Kong office include Doris Ho, Peng Tao and Daniel Chan, who heads the Asia-wide tax practice.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. has a long-standing presence in the Chinese tax market where it advises multinationals, and particularly French companies on the tax aspects of a wide range of corporate transactions. Indeed, the China team often acts in conjunction with its colleagues in Paris to advise on outbound investment transactions in Africa, and inbound transactions involving French corporates. In addition to its M&A and investment work, the Beijing-based group has also advised clients including an international pharmaceutical company on the tax issues arising from a group reorganisation. Min Guo heads the firm's Beijing office and is the key figure in the tax team. The firm's domestic clients include Aluminum Corporation of China and Anhui Tianda Oil Pipe, while Renault and Agence Française de Développement are among the team's European clients.

The tax team at Hogan Lovells International LLP has developed into 'one of the preeminent practices in the region'. The team is singled out for its 'technical capability and commercially-minded approach'. In the Shanghai office, Roberta Chang has advised clients in the aviation, retail, real estate, manufacturing and education sectors on tax and transfer pricing issues concerning global M&A and multinational joint venture agreements. Larry Sussman practices in the firm's Beijing office and has particular experience in fund and investment taxation. Sussman advised Bain Capital on the tax issues associated with the establishment of a NPL investment platform in China, and also advised Deutsche Bank on the tax structuring of a China-focused clean energy fund. Other key clients include Juilliard School, Goldman Sachs and Warner Brothers.

Jones Day's China tax group is best known for advising on the tax aspects of inbound and outbound investments, reorganisations and M&A transactions involving Chinese parties. Of counsel Fuli Cao often works with the firm's US and European offices to advise on the Chinese tax aspects, particularly issues involving the taxation of non-resident equity, arising out of large global corporate transactions. Acting in conjunction with the firm's Paris team, Cao advised on Chinese tax issues associated with Total's $3.2bn sale of Atotech to The Carlyle Group. Cao also has experience in Chinese tax disputes, where he advised a client on the China tax costs in relation to a transaction in the oil and gas sector.

CMS is a trusted adviser to German corporates doing business in China, and has particular expertise in advising first-time entrants to the Chinese market. The Chinese tax group is led by Gilbert Shen, who was recently promoted to counsel. Working in conjunction with his colleagues in the corporate department, Shen assists clients in the automotive, heavy machinery, manufacturing and pharmaceutical sectors with the tax aspects of their commercial dealings in China; he also advises on transfer pricing policies. Nicolas Zhu and managing partner Ulrike Glueck are key figures in the wider corporate team.

Cuatrecasas is a go-to team for Spanish and Portuguese companies with Chinese operations, or those transacting business in China for the first time. In Shanghai, Omar Puertas has expertise in M&A and litigation and principal associate Grace Lin specialises in tax planning, expatriate taxation and transfer pricing. Recent work has included the team advising Laboratorios ISDIN on the reorganisation of its presence and activities in China, with particular focus on the taxation of various distribution channels, and structures of third party agreements. Lin also assisted Lucta with its transfer pricing arrangements in China. Additional clients include Iberia, SEAT and Batz S Coop.

Garrigues is a well-known name in the Chinese market where it advises Spanish corporates on inbound investment work and ongoing commercial activity, and also assists Chinese SOEs with outbound work, particularly in Latin America. The firm's China tax department is headed by Diego D’Alma, who has wide-ranging corporate expertise, which includes international taxation. Given the multijurisdictional nature of the practice, D'Alma has been particularly busy advising clients on the implications of new policies implemented by the State Administration of Taxation, especially those concerning beneficial ownership, taxation on reinvested profits and double taxation. Associate Cynthia Zhou has experience in individual and corporate tax, customs, and foreign exchange compliance.


Tax: PRC firms

Index of tables

  1. Tax: PRC firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Tony Dong - King & Wood Mallesons
    • David Liu - FuJae Partners
    • Peter Ni - Zhong Lun Law Firm
    • Bill Ye - King & Wood Mallesons

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

JunHe LLP's tax department assists domestic and international clients with investment and fund-related tax structuring, bilateral tax treaty advice, PRC tax aspects of inbound and outbound M&A and tax disputes. In the non-contentious space, Julie Cheng advised a European engineering company on the PRC tax issues associated with the client's disposal of two entities to a Chinese entity, while Tingting Zhao advised a Chinese investment fund with the VAT and tax structuring aspects of its establishment of a secondary debt fund. Contentious work has included the team acting for an industrial company in relation to a Chinese tax bureau's claim for back tax payment.

King & Wood Mallesons is well known for its tax disputes and regulatory compliance work, and is also instructed in tax mandates in conjunction with complex corporate finance, investment and M&A transactions. Negotiating with the country's tax authorities is a particular strength of the team's. Indeed, department head Tony Dong and Yan Zhao have represented clients including a European auto finance company, a Chinese pharmaceutical company, an American telecoms company and a Sino-American fast food group in tax and transfer pricing audits, tax deduction claims and even criminal proceedings. In the non-contentious space, Daisy Duan advised a financial services organisation on the tax implications of terminating an ABS arrangement. Other key figures include Alice Zhang, who specialises in tax disputes, and Bill Ye, who is instructed by some of China's foremost online businesses.

Having rebuilt its tax practice in 2016, Jingtian & Gongcheng is seeing the fruits of its labour, with high-profile instructions from multinational asset managers, Chinese SOEs and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. The department is headed by Lawrence Hu, who has extensive experience in nearly every area of PRC taxation and cross-border structuring. Recent highlights have seen Hu representing an ultra-high-net-worth individual in a large back-filing challenge, and also assisting a major domestic company with the tax aspects of a restructuring exercise to prepare for an upcoming public listing. Working in conjunction with the corporate department, the team has also provided tax advice on numerous complex cross-border corporate transactions.

Zhong Lun Law Firm provides 'practical tax advice from initial transaction structuring to execution and assessment' and does it all at 'a competitive price'. The team including Yacheng Zhou has particular strength in personal tax and wealth planning, and provides ongoing advice to clients such as Bank of Communications Beijing Branch and China Construction Bank in relation to its private banking and family trust business. Department head Peter Ni and recently promoted partner Mark Gao (both of whom have 'invaluable market knowledge and relationships with the local tax bureaus') acted for CLSA Investment Consultancy Services in relation to a share transfer completed immediately following the implementation of a relevant new tax regulation. Also recommended is Mingjun Jia, who has expertise in tax and family and individual wealth planning.

The tax group at Dentons China is headed by Xuefeng Leng, who has a wealth of experience handling tax planning, audits and tax disputes. Leng maintains a multidisciplinary practice covering fields including M&A, FDI, trade and restructuring, in addition to taxation. Clients have included Tianhong Asset Management, China International Aviation Group and Dalian COSCO KHI Ship Engineering, as well as international corporates such as AgFeed Industries.

FuJae Partners has a reputation for handling specifically international tax and customs mandates; a capability that is bolstered by the firm's international alliance with McGuireWoods LLP. David Liu heads the tax and customs department, and has a broad-based practice spanning cross-border structuring, M&A and international arbitration.

Hwuason Law Firm is a specialist tax firm that provides planning, consulting and advisory services to domestic and international clients, and also handles tax disputes. Headed by Tianyong Liu, the team works across a variety of industry sectors including TMT, energy, financial services, manufacturing, real estate and retail and consumer products.

The team at Jincheng Tongda & Neal handles transactional tax issues for its corporate client base, and is particularly skilled in tax evasion litigation. Indeed, department head Zhaohui Wang has recently represented a number of clients, including Beijing Guotu Weiye Technology, Beijing Oriental Yalian Investment and Wuhan Xinyang Electromechanical in tax evasion cases involving various local tax bureaus. Yuanyuan Xu is an active associate in the practice group.


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