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  1. TMT: foreign firms
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    • Benjamin Crawford - Allen & Overy LLP

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Forming part of the firm’s global IT and communications practice, the Greater China TMT team at Baker McKenzie FenXun Joint Operation Office covers M&A, IT and outsourcing transactions and regulatory and compliance advice. It regularly has a hand in large, high-profile deals in the market, where it is instructed by its longstanding clients across the technology, financial services, telecoms and transportation sectors. In one recent transaction, Howard Hao Wu and the ‘pragmatic and balanced’ Zhenyu Ruan acted as sole deal counsel to SAP in its alliance deal with Lenovo for the provision of enterprise cloud solutions in China. Nancy Leigh jointly leads the practice alongside Wu and is based in Hong Kong, where e-commerce and data privacy expert Paolo Sbuttoni is also situated.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s renowned TMT group comprises lawyers with multidisciplinary expertise spanning corporate, competition, regulatory and IP matters. Among its sub-specialisms are the developing fields of fintech, e-commerce, social media and cybersecurity. Recent work highlights saw Liang Xu act for Guangzhou Auto in a minority investment in Uber’s China operations. New clients include Foxconn, which Adrian Emch advised on the acquisition of Microsoft’s feature phone business, including the acquisition of Microsoft Mobile Vietnam. Other key figures include Hong Kong-based Mark Parsons and Andrew McGinty in Shanghai.

Morrison & Foerster LLP is experienced in cross-border M&A and other corporate transactions, and regulatory and operation advice in the TMT sector. The team saw increased workflows in telecoms and broadcasting related work, and maintained its buoyant technology and outsourcing practice. On the transactional side, a cross-office team from the firm’s Greater China and US offices, which included Gordon Milner and Chuan Sun in Hong Kong, advised Wal-Mart Stores and its e-commerce division on the establishment of a strategic alliance with JD.com. Beijing-based partner Paul McKenzie has notable expertise in privacy and data security. Other clients include Oracle, Tencent and Intel.

With a longstanding presence in the TMT field in Greater China, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP maintains a dominant position in the market and its global reputation for M&A and cross-border investments ensures a steady flow of high-profile transactions. In 2016, it expanded its corporate and M&A team further through the hires of Judie Ng Shortell in Beijing and ‘superstar’ Betty Yap in Hong Kong; the pair were previously at Linklaters. Practice head Jeanette Chan, who is based in Hong Kong, and Shortell advised key client Tencent on its investment in Zhuan Zhuan, a Chinese used goods trading platform.

Allen & Overy LLP provides a ‘top-notch service’ to its TMT clients, many of which are leading regional and global players. The 15-strong team is equipped to provide English, Hong Kong, US and Australian law advice from its offices in Greater China. It is regularly instructed in standout corporate transactions in the TMT field; for example, a cross-office team, including Victor Ho in Beijing, advised Shanghai Giant Network Technology on its consortium-led acquisition of Caesers Entertainment’s online gaming arm, Playtika. Hong Kong-based Will McAuliffe jointly heads the practice alongside Ho. Also recommended is Beijing-based of counsel Benjamin Crawford. Ji Zou and senior associate Taoye Ye are key names in Shanghai.

With a strong focus on – and organisation around – key industries, Bird & Bird has an international reputation in the TMT sector. Most of its key lawyers in Greater China operate out of the Hong Kong office, including highly experienced practice heads Michelle Chan and Justin Walkey. Developments included the promotion of data protection expert Clarice Yue to of counsel in 2017. Richard Keady is representing a leading technology company in litigation against an outsourcing agent, and Pádraig Walsh is another key contact.

Covington & Burling LLP is also ranked.

The sizeable team at O'Melveny is spread across its Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai offices, and cooperates closely with the firm’s IT and media specialists in the US. The firm’s roots and experience in Los Angeles and Hollywood means it has built up an enviable client list of media and entertainment companies. Other clients include Asia-based start-ups and private equity and venture capital firms. Ronald Cheng heads the white-collar and data privacy practices and has significant experience both in US and Chinese criminal law enforcement; he splits his time between Hong Kong and Los Angeles. Other key figures in the practice include Ke Geng in Beijing, Walker Wallace in Shanghai and Nima Amini in Hong Kong.

In 2017, Simmons & Simmons demonstrated its investment in its TMT practice in Greater China through the promotion of Beijing-based Jingyuan Shi, whose corporate and commercial practice is rooted firmly in this sector. Fintech is a growth area for the firm. Shanghai-based of counsel Xun Yang advised Baxter (China) Investment on cybersecurity and patient data issues, as well as negotiating IT service outsourcing agreements. In Beijing, IP specialist George Chan is also recommended. Davis Wang left in 2017 to establish his own advisory firm.

The ‘very professional’ team at CMS provides ‘realistic solutions’. Ulrike Glueck heads the TMT group, which comprises lawyers with IP and corporate and commercial backgrounds. Its client base includes domestic and foreign companies, particularly those with European roots, where the team’s English, French and German language skills are an important asset. Nick Beckett recently advised a multinational client on cross-border e-commerce matters. Falk Lichtenstein is also recommended.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s TMT practice is hinged off its strong reputation in the corporate and M&A space. In a major transaction, a cross-office team – including Jack Wang in Shanghai and Richard Bird in Hong Kong – advised Starbucks on its strategic collaboration with Tencent to launch a new program that allows customers to make purchases using WeChat Pay. Alan Wang, who splits his time between Beijing and Shanghai, has a broad, cross-border corporate practice.

Clients across the technology, automotive, retail and media sectors turn to MMLC Group for advice on IT, licensing, privacy and security issues. Its practice also takes in corporate and commercial transactions and litigation. In 2016, the team advised numerous clients on outsourcing agreements for data processing and call centres. Matthew Murphy is the practice head.

Under the leadership of IP and TMT expert Gabriela Kennedy, Mayer Brown JSM provides advice to TMT sector clients from its base in Hong Kong. Areas of sub-specialism include e-commerce, fintech and cybersecurity. The team recently assisted a household-name company with global operations in a data privacy and security audit spanning China, Hong Kong and South Korea. Xiaoyan Zhang joined Reed Smith LLP in November 2017.

Norton Rose Fulbright excels in technology, outsourcing, data protection, privacy and cybersecurity. The team is particularly involved in advising foreign companies on regulatory compliance in Greater China, including in the context of cross-border projects concerning e-commerce and data transfer. It saw an uptick in queries concerning cybersecurity following the enactment of China’s first cybersecurity law; Beijing-based Barbara Li is the key contact in this area. Anna Gamvros is a leading figure for technology and data privacy and is based in Hong Kong.

Paul Hastings LLP is recommended for high-value and high-profile technology transactions, as well as a range of media and entertainment deals. A recent highlight was advising Samsung Electronics on its acquisition of Harman International Industries – Samsung’s largest acquisition to date; David Wang and Jia Yan advised on the Chinese aspects of the transaction. Elsewhere, corporate finance and M&A expert Nan Li advised education tech start-up Xuebajun on its $100m series C financing.

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