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  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.

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