Clifford Chance LLP‘s antitrust group is routinely mandated by multinationals, major Chinese clients, investment banks and private equity firms. With a career including a stint at the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM), Beijing-based Yong Bai is highly appreciated for his familiarity with China’s various antitrust agencies. Also on the mainland, 2021-promoted counsel Dayu Man advises multinational and Chinese corporations, investment banks and private equity firms on global merger control and FDI filings, along with antitrust conduct rules. In May 2022, competition law expert Zibo Liu was elevated to counsel.
Antitrust and competition: foreign firms in China
Clifford Chance LLP
Other key lawyers:
Dayu Man; Zibo Liu
China Baowu Steel Corporation
China Three Gorges (Europe)
China XD Group
- Advised CVC on its purchase of the entire issued share capital of ekaterra (a subsidiary of Unilever), which produces tea brands.
- Advised Sinosteel Group Corporation on the merger control filings for its acquisition of sole control of Deen Holdings Corporation, the holding company for chrome ore and ferrochrome producer, Samancor Chrome.
- Assisted one of Abbott’s business units in China with an antitrust investigation by Shanghai Administrative for Market Regulation.
With ‘an unrivalled antitrust practice in China‘, Linklaters is sought out by both prominent multinational corporations, as well as large Chinese companies. On the merger control front, the firm’s recent track record includes assisting Intel with the $5.4bn acquisition of Tower Semiconductors, along with the $9bn sale of NAND/SSD assets to SK hynix. The group is also highly active in investigations and litigation. Heading the Beijing-based Asia/China antitrust and foreign investment group, Fay Zhou, whose practice covers competition/antitrust law and other regulatory issues, has ‘deep knowledge of both Chinese and EU competition law‘; and managing associate Qiuying Zheng regularly handles healthcare sector-related antitrust issues. Through the firm’s joint operation with PRC practice Zhao Sheng Law Firm, where experienced partner Xi Liao assists with Chinese and overseas merger filings, investigations, compliance programmes and behavioural issues, it ‘provides a one-stop-shop service, combining its international network with on-the-ground capability‘.
Fay Zhou; Xi Liao
Other key lawyers:
‘The joint operation provides a one-stop-shop service, combining its international network with on-the-ground capability. This gives it an edge over other law firms and brings real benefits to clients when tasked with the most business-critical, challenging and innovative work.‘
‘Linklaters is professional and responsive, and has a deep understanding of clients’ businesses.‘
‘The Linklaters Zhao Sheng joint operation has an unrivalled antitrust practice in China, in particular when it comes to the auto sector. While many other firms purport to be experienced in the auto sector, Linklaters Zhao Sheng remains a go-to firm, given its in-depth industry knowledge, sharp insights into regulatory trends, and a well-structured team.‘
China Merchants Group
China National Nuclear Corporation
Johnson & Johnson
- Assisted Intel with implementing multiple reform strategies on Chinese merger control matters, in relation to the $5.4bn acquisition of Tower Semiconductors and the $9bn sale of NAND/SSD assets to SK hynix.
- Advised Microsoft on the Chinese merger filing for its $70bn acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
- Advises SAMR and other authorities, including being on the expert panel of Beijing AMR.
Baker McKenzie FenXun
The result of a joint operation between international law firm Baker McKenzie and PRC practice FenXun Partners (which provides access to local legal advice), Baker McKenzie FenXun‘s Greater China platform is experienced in competition and antitrust matters throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It handles the full range of competition issues, including clearances for M&A, joint ventures and other arrangements in Hong Kong, PRC, and across multiple jurisdictions. The group also frequently assists with complex investigations by the Hong Kong Competition Commission (HKCC) and other authorities, in relation to anti-competitive practices, and fields a go-to practice for compliance audits. In Hong Kong, Stephen Crosswell is highly experienced in significant competition trials, dawn raids, leniency applications, cartel matters and merger clearance work. In June 2022, Beijing-based merger control and antitrust compliance, investigations and litigation specialist Laura Liu at FenXun Partners was promoted to partner.
Other key lawyers:
Archer Daniels Midland Singapore Pte
City Garden Hotel
Nuvoton Technology Corporation
- Acted for Aztiq on the $475m acquisition of Alvogen Emerging Markets Holdings (via a consortium formed with co-investor Innobic (Asia) Company) from its existing shareholders, including advising on competition law aspects.
- Advised Archer Daniels Midland Singapore Pte and Temasek on the regulatory/merger control-related aspects of a greenfield joint venture set up in Singapore.
- Assisted Tencent with its investments in over 10 gaming studios globally, including providing merger control and foreign investment review advice.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP‘s Hong Kong-based Greater China practice acts across a range of competition and antitrust matters, while many of its key clients are from the consumer goods, telecoms and technology sectors. It routinely works alongside the firm’s corporate and disputes teams on major merger transactions, as well as on high-profile competition law enforcement cases. The firm is additionally able to provide China legal services through its joint operation with Kewei Law Firm, which showcases Shanghai partner and Chinese competition law expert Frances Xu, who is experienced in advising clients from the pharmaceuticals, TMT, automobiles, luxury products, energy and public utilities sectors. Head of competition in Asia, Adelaide Luke‘s broad competition law practice ranges from behavioural issues, to regulatory investigations, merger control and joint venture-related issues. Senior associate Howard Chan has notable experience in the competition law regimes of Asia, as well as the EU and UK.
Other key lawyers:
Frances Xu; Howard Chan
Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners
ICL Investment Co
Hydro Rein Invest
Hogan Lovells International LLP
Part of a wider global antitrust, competition and economic regulation practice, Hogan Lovells International LLP‘s China competition and antitrust department comprises ‘a first-class antitrust team’. The group acts on the full scope of competition/antitrust issues in China, including assisting numerous companies on merger-related issues, such as conducting multiple jurisdictional merger filings analyses for deals originating in China and the rest of Asia. It also routinely acts in government investigations and procedures, internal compliance investigations by companies, and advisory matters. The firm is a go-to practice for international and domestic hi-tech and internet players that require TMT sector-related antitrust advice in China. ‘One of the strongest antitrust lawyers around‘, Beijing-based partner Adrian Emch is a specialist in merger control, cartel/abuse of dominance investigations, and antitrust advisory work.
‘Hogan Lovells’ antitrust team is outstanding! It is responsive and able to provide practical solutions and suggestions. The lawyers are very good at working closely with clients’ in-house colleagues and really try to understand their situation.’
‘Clients are particularly impressed with the team’s speed, efficiency, availability and responsiveness – even during particularly intense work periods, there is never any difficulty with obtaining the support needed.‘
‘Hogan Lovells’ competition law practice undoubtedly has outstanding expertise in Chinese competition law, and the team is highly adept at using legal technology solutions.‘
‘Ability to communicate risks and recommendations in a clear, concise and business-friendly way, sparing in-house lawyers the effort to translate lengthy and detailed memoranda into more easily digestible formats for management. Clients also find that any comments they have on work products are swiftly and carefully taken into account, so that the team’s final work products are always to the highest standard and fully meet clients’ requirements.’
‘Hogan Lovells has a first-class antitrust team that provides excellent legal advice, which is very sound, sensible and solutions focused.’
‘Adrian Emch constantly impresses with his ability to guide clients seamlessly during merger control filing processes. Besides his formidable understanding of antitrust laws and what PRC regulators look out for, Adrian provides very user-friendly and commercially-focused advice, which is much appreciated.’
‘For European clients in particular, it can be extremely helpful and enriching to work with a partner like Adrian Emch, who successfully and effortlessly straddles the cultural and legal divide between the EU and China. His availability and responsiveness are exceptional, and his understanding of both business considerations and practical legal risks is excellent.‘
‘Adrian Emch is one of the strongest antitrust lawyers around. He is quick to understand problems and can provide practical solutions under tight deadlines. He also understands business concerns and is able to simplify complex matters.’
With ‘very extensive and profound anti-monopoly expertise‘, Jones Day‘s China competition and antitrust practice has a longstanding track record in complex merger reviews, as well as government and internal corporate antitrust/competition investigations. In addition to covering the key business centres throughout the Asia-Pacific region, the US, Europe and Latin America, the firm’s China team comprises former antitrust officials Yizhe Zhang, who works between the firm’s Beijing and San Francisco offices; and Qiang Xue in Beijing, who ‘has great insight into the actual enforcement of antitrust laws‘. Leading the firm’s China antitrust and litigation practices from Hong Kong, Peter Wang‘s experience includes major US and Chinese government antitrust investigations into M&A deals, as well as non-merger investigations and antitrust litigation. Within the firm’s associate pool, mainland China-based Yichen Wu and Lawrence Wang both have active antitrust and competition law practices.
Other key lawyers:
Yizhe Zhang; Qiang Xue; Yichen Wu; Lawrence Wang
‘Very responsive, experienced and practical, with lawyers who are always available and have good communication skills.’
‘Very rich experience in the hi-tech field, and can provide clients with very professional legal and business advice. The Jones Day team not only provides solid legal opinions on anti-monopoly and competition law, but is also able to coordinate with IP, trade compliance and other related fields very quickly -provides comprehensive and comprehensive advice.‘
‘Provides a variety of service models and billing methods, and can tailor reasonable and efficient service plans according to clients’ business needs.‘
‘Jones Day has a strong antitrust team in China. It is very integrated, which makes it possible to get one-stop legal service for complex antitrust issues from its Chinese and global resources and experience.’
‘Very extensive and profound anti-monopoly expertise, and a serious and responsible attitude towards client service. Solves all kinds of difficult problems for clients.‘
‘The law firm has a team of top anti-monopoly lawyers in China, with rich experience in overseas anti-monopoly law enforcement matters – excellent work!‘
‘Jones Day partner Qiang Xue is a former senior antitrust official, who has great insight into the actual enforcement of antitrust laws. Clients can always expect prompt and practical responses from him. He is also good at coordinating complex projects, while staying focused on clients’ business objectives.’
‘Qiang Xue is professional, rigorous, efficient and enthusiastic.‘
Illinois Tool Works
China Post Group Corporation
PTT Global Chemical Public Company
China Eastern Airlines
China Cargo Airlines
Shanghai Energy New Materials Technology Co
- Advised Illinois Tool Works on its China merger filing for its acquisition of the MTS Test & Simulation business.
- Advised Valmet Oyj on its successful China filing for its merger with Neles Corporation.
- Handled several high-profile investigations involving clients from the technology sector.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s China competition practice routinely handles complex antitrust matters, including cross-border transactions. It also advises at regional levels on conduct and litigation-related matters. Clients additionally benefit from the firm’s global antitrust, competition and M&A groups, in relation to merger control approvals for international transactions. The merger control work of practice head Andrew Foster, who divides his time between Beijing and Hong Kong, is particularly focused on clients from the technology, telecoms, aviation and chemicals sectors. On the mainland, 2021-promoted Asia-Pacific counsel Kexin Li regularly acts on high-profile merger control matters and associate Julia Zhu is experienced in the antitrust laws of China, along with a number of APAC jurisdictions. In Hong Kong, Jacqueline Arena, whose experience includes acting as lead associate for APAC and EC merger control filings, was promoted to Asia-Pacific counsel in July 2022.
Other key lawyers:
Kexin Li; Julia Zhu; Jacqueline Arena
Axiata Group Berhad
DuPont de Nemours
- Advised Xilinx on its $35bn acquisition by AMD, including negotiating remedies for approval in China, while securing unconditional approvals in Japan, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.
- Advised SK hynix on its $9bn acquisition of the NAND business of Intel Corp, including negotiating remedies for approval in China, while securing unconditional approvals in Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, the EU and the US.
- Advised Coherent on its $7bn acquisition by II-VI, including negotiating remedies for approval in China, while securing unconditional approvals in Germany, Austria and the US.
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP‘s longstanding Greater China antitrust practice head, Hong Kong-based partner François Renard, consistently advises both Western and Asian clients on APAC (including China), EU and other national competition laws and the wider practice is experienced in cartel investigations, as well as litigation. Clients particularly appreciate the group’s ability to leverage domestic PRC law expertise through the firm’s China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone joint operation with domestic legal practice Lang Yue Law Firm, which fields former Allen & Overy LLP senior associate Jiaming Zhang (at counsel level since May 2022).
Other key lawyers:
‘I highly appreciate the contribution of the A&O team in supporting negotiations with our clients in a highly evolving competition law environment. Their expertise in contract , competition law and dispute resolution were key in our internal decision process and preparation of our arguments.’
‘François Renard – as a French native located for years in China and well aware of EU regulation, he is certainly one of the most appropriate people for French companies having to deal with Chinese competition law related issues. I will recommend without reserve. His leadership is also very much appreciated.’
CMS is noted for its 'great' China competition team which is particularly active in relation to merger control filings and the establishment of antitrust compliance programmes. The team also has notable sector expertise in utilities, TMT, life sciences and healthcare, along with construction, finance, automotive and manufacturing. The Shanghai-based group is jointly led by China managing partner Ulrike Glueck, the relationship partner for several key clients and counsel Aiping Bao, who has ‘great procedural skills‘. Beijing and Hong Kong-based Nick Beckett is also a key partner-level contact.
Ulrike Glueck; Aiping Bao
Other key lawyers:
Nick Beckett; Kevin Wang; Vera Zhang
‘Great team with good connections at the Anti-Monopoly Bureau.’
‘Counsel Aiping Bao has great procedural skills and an engaging and swift working style.’
Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.
Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.‘s competition group covers notifications to the Chinese competition authority and handles an array of PRC anti-monopoly law-related compliance issues. It also assists with reviewing corporate and commercial policies and contracts for non-compliance risks, and provides competition and antitrust law training for clients’ employees. In Beijing, merger notification and compliance specialist Xi Chen heads the firm’s China competition practice while partner-level support is provided by Shanghai-based Asia practice leader David Boitout and cross-border M&A expert Fan Jiannian, along with China tax team head Guo Min in Beijing.
David Boitout; Fan Jiannian
Other key lawyers:
Xi Chen; Guo Min
O'Melveny‘s antitrust and competition team is particularly active in matters involving the energy, petrochemicals, biotechnology, telecoms, entertainment, and digital economy sectors. The group advises on both merger control and investigations, as well as compliance work. Heading up the Asia antitrust and competition practice from Hong Kong, Philip Monaghan is a former first executive director general counsel to the Hong Kong Competition Commission and in Beijing, senior consultant Lining Shan has extensive experience in antitrust and competition matters in China.
Other key lawyers:
Lining Shan; Vivian (Weixuan) Wang
‘Philip Monaghan at O’Melveny & Myers has unique insight into the structure and foundation of Hong Kong’s competition regime, bringing to the table his experience at the Hong Kong Competition Commission and substantial EU competition law expertise.’
Alibaba Group Holding
CJ ENM Co
DL Chemical Co
SMART Global Holdings
- After successfully advising Finisar Corporation on its acquisition by II-VI Incorporated, and obtaining a conditional clearance decision from the China State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), assisted with implementing the remedies imposed by SAMR.
- Advised TTM Technologies, a global printed circuit board producer, on the antitrust and corporate aspects of its approximately $330m acquisition of surveillance technology and communications management provider, Telephonics Corp.
- Acted for DL Chemical Co, a Korean-based manufacturer of petrochemical products, on its $2.5bn acquisition of Texas-based specialty chemical manufacturer, Kraton Corporation, including advising on the competition aspects.