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  1. Tax: foreign firms
  2. Leading individuals
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The ‘very knowledgeable’ tax department at Baker McKenzie FenXun Joint Operation Office is ‘highly recommended to multinational corporations operating in China’; clients appreciate the team’s ‘availability, anytime of the day or night’, and ‘broad and technical skills’. Transfer pricing is a particular strength; 2016 and 2017 saw the group advising numerous companies on transfer pricing audits in China. Other mandates included assisting with the tax aspects of cross-border corporate transactions. Practice co-head Jon Eichelberger draws on over 25 years of experience working in China, and is particularly active in tax planning, advisory work and audit defence for multinationals’ inbound business into China. ‘Trusted adviser’ Jason Wen and Shanwu Yuan are international tax directors, and senior counsel Jinghua Liu heads the tax controversy team. ‘Solid tax lawyer’ Brendan Thomas Kelly, who jointly leads the China tax practice alongside Eichelberger, is also recommended, as is Hong Kong-based Amy Ling.

The majority of DLA Piper’s tax experts are based in Hong Kong, though the firm operates an integrated China and Hong Kong practice that sees the five partners cooperating closely on complex tax matters in Greater China and beyond. From Hong Kong, Daniel Chan heads the Asia-wide tax practice; recently, he has been particularly active in the supply chain management, distribution and retail sectors in China. Technology and telecoms are other industry focuses for the practice. The group’s transfer pricing services are highly sought after, where the workload includes compliance, implementation of new policies and litigation. Windson Li is a key contact in in Beijing, while Anderson Lam is another name to note in Hong Kong.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. has longstanding experience in the market, and the China team’s cooperation with colleagues elsewhere in the firm’s office network and the provision of services in English, Chinese and French are distinguishing features. Its impressive client base includes Fortune 500 companies and an increasingly high number of Chinese companies, both private and SOEs. The team continues to be heavily involved in the tax issues arising out of significant energy, infrastructure and construction projects. Guo Min leads the practice in Beijing, where key associate Bin Wu is also based.

In 2017, Hogan Lovells International LLP invested heavily in its China tax department by hiring well-respected partner Larry Sussman from O'Melveny and promoting Shanghai-based tax specialist Roberta Chang to partner. Sussman’s broad corporate and tax practice sees him advising multinational companies, financial institutions and private equity firms, and his arrival will develop the firm’s burgeoning media and entertainment practice. The team is particularly active in the education sector, where Chang and Steven Robinson in Beijing act for major US-based schools and universities with operations in China.

Jones Day advises multinational clients on tax issues associated with corporate, private equity and real estate matters. In 2016, the team saw heightened levels of cross-border M&A and reorganisations, which led to an increased demand for tax support. ‘The perfect contact for foreign investors seeking more clarity of the Chinese tax system’, Fuli Cao ‘steps into clients’ shoes and provides wise advice’. He recently worked alongside a team of corporate and tax lawyers in the firm’s US offices to advise Canyon Bridge Capital Partners on the formation of a buyout fund followed by the acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor Corporation. Liming Yuan has a broad corporate, M&A and tax practice, as well as knowledge of FCPA and PRC anti-bribery law matters.

At CMS, senior associate Gilbert Shen heads the tax practice, working closely with partners Nicolas Zhu, whose practice takes in tax, corporate and commercial law and intellectual property, and Ulrike Glueck, who oversees many of the department’s corporate transactions.

Cuatrecasas is active in cross-border transactions involving inbound and outbound transactions between Iberia and China. For example, Omar Puertas and associates Yao Wang, Conchi Bargalloì García and Grace Lin provided tax advice to a Spanish company on its joint venture with a Chinese company with operations in Ningbo and Hubei.

A founding member of the TAXAND network of tax advisory firms, Garrigues has notable tax experience across its offices in China, Europe and Latin America. It provides tax advice to its clients in the context of corporate matters, IP exploitation and IPOs. Diego D'Alma and Cynthia Zhou are the names to note.

O'Melveny sector focuses include the media and entertainment, automotive, financial services, pharmaceuticals and technology industries. Senior counsel and tax compliance expert Cevela Zhou and Anita Choi, who is dual qualified in California and Hong Kong, are key contacts in Beijing and Hong Kong, respectively. The firm took a hit with the departure of former practice head Larry Sussman to Hogan Lovells International LLP.

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