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Hong Kong > Legal market overview
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Hong Kong’s legal market has undergone profound change over the last decade. Firms have experienced structural and cultural changes, with the value of China-facing lawyers growing considerably. Firms looking to tap into the dynamic Chinese economy and its further potential have identified language skills and a cultural affinity with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as a pre-requisite.
The cadre of Western expatriates is still evident in Hong Kong, but some wonder whether their days are numbered. It is notable that the partnership ranks in most of the leading firms are filling steadily with Hong Kong locals and PRC natives. Naturally Western expatriates are gradually being squeezed out, retiring or relocating. Notable lateral hires that illustrate this include Kirkland & Ellis’ hire of PRC private equity star Gary Li from Ropes & Gray LLP. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Hong Kong) also hired PRC native and equity capital markets specialist Shuang Zhao from Shearman & Sterling LLP.
At the same time, firms in Hong Kong are increasingly reliant on their PRC rainmakers situated over the border. For instance, Clifford Chance’s flourishing Hong Kong initial public offering practice is thanks in part to the connections of Beijing partner Tim Wang and his colleagues.
While Hong Kong, Greater China and Asia Pacific offer significant rewards to firms that are able to successfully execute their strategies, the environment is not for the faint hearted. In 2015, leading Wall Street firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson closed its Hong Kong office, having launched it in 2006. It was a timely reminder that despite a global economic recovery and China’s emergence as an economic superpower, Hong Kong is still a brutally tough spot for firms to succeed. Competition is more intense than almost anywhere else in the world and partner remuneration is commensurate with many firms’ over-zealous enthusiasm to carve out a share of the market. At the same time, because competition is so fierce, charge-out rates often become a race to the bottom. As a consequence, partner remuneration and office profit margins rarely reach a satisfactory equilibrium.
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In a recent speech given by Mr. Carlson Tong, Chairman of the Securities and Futures Commission, Mr. Tong pointed out that companies can improve corporate governance by attaching higher importance to the role of their board of directors as an internal gatekeeper. Mr. Tong said that this can be done more easily by having effective independent non-executive directors (INEDs) on the board.
Authorities in Hong Kong have taken further steps in their deliberate approach to enforcing the Competition Ordinance. A little over a year after it was appointed, the Competition Commission released a report in which it provides a brief introduction to the Ordinance as well as a roadmap leading to its full entry into force. The report also explains how the Commission will prioritise its enforcement activities, and identifies the guidelines, policies and compliance tools which it plans to release before the Ordinance is enforced. Currently only some of the institutional provisions of the Ordinance are effective, allowing the Commission and the Competition Tribunal to prepare for enforcement.
The Hong Kong Competition Ordinance was enacted by the Legislative Council in June 2012. You can download our briefing here .
A recent Hong Kong case reminded us of the importance of getting things right when executing documents in virtual closings, particularly in relation to deeds.
After years of debate, on 14 June 2012 and in its last days of office, the Legislative Council finally enacted Hong Kong’s first cross- sector competition law.
The Hong Kong Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance Has Been Amended: Are Your Data Protection PracticesThe Personal Data (Privacy) Amendment Ordinance (the "Amendment Ordinance") was passed on 27 June 2012.
The Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China (“MOFCOM”) passed the Provisional Measures on the Investigation and Handling of Concentrations between Business Operators which were Not Notified in accordance with the Law (the “Provisional Measures”) on 30 December 2011, and uploaded them on its website on 5 January 2012.
will it emerge (relatively) unscathed or is its very survival threatened?
Article by Timothy Loh and Sherry Xiao
The meltdown in global financial markets has triggered a consolidation of the financial services industry as securities firms, asset managers, insurers and banks alike spin-off assets and restructure their operations to shore up capital. These transactions are often global in nature, involving substantial Hong Kong operations. In this article, we review the basic Hong Kong legal and regulatory framework for these transactions and present some lessons learned.
Piracy and copyright infringements are on the increase. As such, it is all the more important to take appropriate measures to protect one’s trademarks and intellectual property.
On October 12, 2016, VEGAS LEX organized a workshop, Advertising in the pharmaceutical sector: risk matrix , for representatives of pharmaceutical companies, manufacturers of medical devices and dietary supplements.
No distinction is made between “Mac” and “Mc” for the purposes of trademark law. The General Court of the European Union (EGC) ruled that whether the syllable includes an “a” is of no great significance (Az.: T-518/13).
Anyone who includes false statements in their application documents risks having their employment contract terminated with immediate effect.
The renewable energy company OX2 has been retained to construct the Lehtirova wind farm generating 148 MW (41 wind power turbines) in Norrbotten. The customer is Aquila Capital. Foyen Advokatfirma assisted OX2 in the negotiations regarding the turbine supply agreement and the service agreement with the turbine supplier, Vestas. The partner in charge at Foyen was Jacob Hamilton.
Members of the truck cartel will have to pay a fine totaling approx. 2.9 billion euros, and things could become even more expensive if damages claims brought by clients follow.
The IFLR1000 2017 Financial and Corporate rankings were published on October 14, 2016. VEGAS LEX improved its positions in Project finance and Mergers and acquisitions. Chairman of the Board of Partners Albert Eganyan was noted as a leading lawyer in the Project finance category.
The inheritance tax reforms have still yet to be finalized. With the Bundesrat, the upper house of the German parliament, having blocked the draft legislation on July 8, no further decision is expected to be taken before the autumn.
In an action brought by CL Educate Limited, the company behind Career Launcher (popularly known as CL), India’s premier test prep institutions, the Delhi High Court has restrained competitor Think and Learn Pvt. Ltd. (popularly known as Byju’s) and its directors from infringing and misusing CL’s trademarks to lure prospective students into enrolling.
Early signs of the new shape of IP litigation under the Commercial Courts Act are being seen in the speed with which the Delhi High Court disposed of a suit filed by Tata Sons Ltd. on the second date of hearing, applying the ‘summary judgment’ provisions contained in this Act.