Antitrust and competition: foreign firms in China
Clifford Chance LLP's China antitrust practice acts for both multinationals and significant Chinese clients on complex merger filings, antitrust investigations and compliance matters. With over 10 years' experience in international mergers and related antitrust matters, Beijing's Yong Bai, formerly at the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM) and familiar with the working practices of China's antitrust agencies, is a key member of the firm's antitrust practice. He recently led advice to GE on the complex merger filings surrounding the disposal of its biopharma business to Danaher. Providing senior associate-level support in Beijing, Dayu Man acts for multinational and Chinese domestic corporations, investment banks and private equity firms on merger filings and conduct rules; and Zibo Liu is a merger control, antitrust investigations and compliance expert. Richard Blewett leads the Greater China practice from Hong Kong.
China Baowu Steel Group
China National Agrochemical Co., Ltd
State Development and Investment Corporation
- Advised GE on the antitrust aspects of the $21.4bn disposal of its biopharma business to Danaher.
- Advised SABIC on the antitrust aspects of Saudi Aramco’s $69bn acquisition of a majority stake in SABIC from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.
- Advised China Baowu Steel Group Corporation on the antitrust aspects of its acquisition of a 51% interest in Magang Group.
Linklaters' sizeable competition practice handles some of China's most complex matters, including navigating antitrust risks in China's fast-developing enforcement environment, and assisting with merger control, litigation, and behavioural matters and investigations. Many of its international competition law specialists have previously worked as enforcers, and stand out for their strong relations with the regulators. The practice also has notable expertise in relation to the mining, healthcare and automotive sectors. Widely recognised as one of China’s leading competition lawyers, Beijing-based Fay Zhou heads the highly-rated group; she consistently advises multinational and Chinese clients on the full range of competition law issues, including merger control investigations and clearances, as well as cartel, antitrust and abuse of dominance investigations, and compliance and anti-corruption risks. In addition, the practice works closely with the firm's joint operation partner, Zhao Sheng Law Firm, where the joint operation competition practice is headed by experienced partner Vivian Cao (who joined from Fangda Partners in 2019), and Xi Liao is a key counsel.
Fay Zhou; Vivian Cao; Xi Liao
‘Its antitrust professionals have a good understanding of the laws and regulations, policy trends, hotspots and difficulties, as well as a global and domestic perspective.‘
‘It provides a first-class legal service in the highly technical and complex anti-monopoly law field. The team has a deep understanding of the law and its legal opinions are constructive and operable.‘
‘The team has a very clear understanding of anti-monopoly regulations and has good communication with the competent authorities. It also quickly determines the relevant market according to the industry.‘
‘Fay Zhou is very familiar with antitrust and competition matters, and always provides practical and solution-oriented advice.‘
China Merchants Group
CPP Investment Board
Johnson & Johnson
- Advised Bayer on a SAMR filing, which concerned the $7.6bn sale of its animal health business to Elanco.
- Advised ams (a sensor company) on obtaining SAMR merger clearance for its proposed acquisition of OSRAM Licht, a large lighting solutions company.
- Advising QIAGEN on the China merger filing aspects of its $11.5bn sale to Thermo Fisher Life Scientific.
Baker McKenzie FenXun
Baker McKenzie FenXun's practice stands out for its breadth of expertise across complex, multi-jurisdictional matters, in relation to merger control, global cartels, antitrust compliance work, and competition litigation. Recent work includes securing antitrust clearances for M&A and joint ventures; acting in several leniency applications and ongoing investigations; and assisting with enforcing competition law and resolving competition-related disputes. Stephen Crosswell in Hong Kong chairs the Asia Pacific (APAC) antitrust and competition group, and acts in high-profile competition trials, dawn raids, leniency applications, cross-border cartel matters and merger clearance projects. On the mainland, Beijing-based Laura Liu is an experienced special counsel, who drives the China practice. On the PRC side of the joint-operation, locally-admitted Chinese lawyer Zhi Bao, who spent over seven years working at MOFCOM in Beijing, heads the antitrust practice at FenXun Partners, where Honghuan Liu is dispute resolution leader.
Stephen Crosswell; Zhi Bao
Other key lawyers:
Laura Liu; Honghuan Liu
Alliance Construction Materials
British American Tobacco
Continental Automotive Systems, Inc
Hino Motors Ltd
Hon Hai Industry Co., Ltd. (Foxconn)
Hong Kong Telecom
Jin Jiang International Hotels
MUFG Bank Ltd.
Nutreco Nederland B.V.
Press Metal Bhd
SKC Co. Ltd
Sumitomo Mitsui Auto Service Company, Limited
Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Company
Texas Pacific Group
- Represented a Thai petrochemicals conglomerate (PTTGC) and a European plastic supplier (Alpla) before the SAMR, in relation to Chinese merger control approval for the establishment of Thailand’s first plastics recycling facility.
- Acted for both SOCAR and BP on the China merger filing for the establishment of a joint venture in Turkey.
- Acted for financial services provider, APG Group, in securing unconditional China merger control approval for the establishment of a joint venture with ESR and GIC, in relation to an investment in logistical facilities in Japan.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has broad experience across the full competition and antitrust spectrum. The team consistently works alongside the firm's corporate and dispute practices on merger transactions and high-profile competition law enforcement cases. In a recent 12-month period, it assisted with several significant matters that involved merger control and regulatory aspects, investigations and cartel issues. The firm expanded its China legal services through the 2019 establishment of a joint operation with Kewei Law Firm, where Shanghai partner Frances Xu, who works closely with the Chinese antitrust authorities, advises on competition law issues across the pharmaceuticals, TMT, automotive, luxury products, energy and public utilities industries. Highly familiar with China's antitrust and merger control regimes, Hong Kong's Asia competition head Adelaide Luke was made partner in 2019.
Other key lawyers:
‘One of their key strengths is their ability to provide practical and straight-to-the-point advice. This reduces work at my end.‘
‘They try to anticipate what the client needs and address it earlier rather than waiting for the client to ask.‘
‘Adelaide Luke is easy to communicate with, practical and knowledgeable, and has a good understanding of what the client needs.‘
Marriot International Inc.
Associated British Foods plc
Furukawa Electric Co
Tata Motors Limited
- Advising Boral on complex competition law issues arising from the proposed reorganisation of its Asia-wide joint venture with Knauf.
- Advises Genus, a British animal genetics company, on its strategic collaboration with Beijing Capital Agribusiness.
- Advises, on an ongoing basis, Marriott International on competition law questions.
Hogan Lovells International LLP's 'team is highly specialised and has a global perspective of antitrust law and practice'. The dedicated antitrust practice in China has particular strength in the TMT sector; it is also fully integrated with the firm's other antitrust practices in key jurisdictions such as Washington DC, Brussels and London, among others. The practice's scope of work is balanced between merger and non-merger-related work, including government investigations, litigation and advisory work. Recent work includes several merger procedures before China's antitrust authority, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), as well as investigations concerning alleged cartels, abuse of dominance procedures, and a horizontal agreement probe. The group is led by the 'very competent' Beijing-based partner Adrian Emch, who 'provides good and practical advice', and consistently acts for both China-based and overseas multinational companies on competition and antitrust law.
‘The team is highly specialised and has a global perspective of antitrust law and practice.‘
‘Adrian Emch is a very competent antitrust lawyer, who provides good and practical advice.‘
Jones Day has a strong reputation in the market for complex merger reviews, as well as antitrust and competition investigations. Hong Kong and Shanghai-based Peter Wang leads the firm's China antitrust and litigation practices. Wang has handled major US and Chinese government antitrust investigations into proposed M&A deals as well as non-merger-related investigations and antitrust litigation. In Beijing, former of counsel Qiang Xue , who was involved in drafting the 2007 Anti-Monopoly Law, was promoted to partner in late 2019; he advises on all aspects of antitrust law, including government investigations, merger reviews, and private litigation. Providing additional support is Yizhe Zhang, who works across the firm's Beijing and San Francisco offices.
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP's Greater China team recently enhanced its PRC law capabilities (including antitrust) through an approved joint operation with Lang Yue Law Firm in the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone. The practice advises on merger control filings, cartel investigations and leniency applications, and compliance and audit matters. Recently promoted Hong Kong-based partner François Renard manages the firm's regional antitrust practice; Renard has over 20 years' experience in advising on APAC (including China), EU and other national competition laws.
Other key lawyers:
‘Able to crystalise complex competition law concepts into clear and practical advice.‘
‘François Renard has a deep understanding of competition law in the region.‘
BYD and Toyota Motor
China Ping An
- Retained by SAMR on two international antitrust knowhow projects, including abuses of dominant position and merger controls across various jurisdictions, including US, EU, UK, Germany and Australia.
- Advised BYD Company and Toyota Motor Corporation on the merger control aspects of the creation of a joint venture for the development of electric battery passenger cars and components.
- Advised Singamas Container Holdings on the antitrust side to the disposal of five subsidiaries.
CMS' China competition group is led by Shanghai-based China managing partner Ulrike Glueck and counsel Aiping Bao, while the Beijing competition and antitrust team is led by office managing partner Nick Beckett. The practice's scope covers merger control filings, the establishment of anti-trust compliance programmes, and a range of other antitrust issues.
Other key lawyers:
Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.'s competition team advises on both transactional and compliance matters, including notifications to SAMR and PRC anti-monopoly law-related compliance issues. Counsel and China competition practice head Xi Chen is a merger notification and compliance specialist. Partner-level support is provided by David Boitout and Jiannian Fan in Shanghai, along with Beijing-based Min Guo.
Other key lawyers:
- Advised Renault on obtaining clearance for its acquisition of a significant stake in China’s Jiangxi Jiangling Group Electric Vehicle Co.
- Advised Total Raffinage Chimie on the merger notification process surrounding the sale of its polystyrene business in China to Ineos Styrolution, a global styrenics supplier.
O'Melveny's Asia antitrust and competition team is experienced in merger control matters, with a particular focus on complex transactions in the technology, semiconductor, automotive, and telecoms sectors. It also assists with investigations and compliance issues. Philip Monaghan in Hong Kong is Asia antitrust and competition head, while Scott Schaeffer is an experienced Shanghai-based antitrust counsel.
Other key lawyers:
‘Replies are timely and the advice is clear and pragmatic – the partners are also hands-on.‘
‘Philip Monaghan is concise and easy to understand, and he can make decisive judgements.‘
Quantenna Communications, Inc.
TTM Technologies, Inc.
Multinational technology conglomerate
- Advised Quantenna Communications on a merger filing with China’s SAMR, which concerned its sale to ON Semiconductor.
- Acted for a multinational technology conglomerate in an investigation into alleged abuse of dominance.
- Acted for a semiconductor company in an investigation into alleged collusive conduct.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s China competition practice has longstanding experience in handling complex, cross-border transactions. It is led by Andrew Foster, who works across the firm's Hong Kong and Beijing offices. In addition to merger control work, Foster has significant experience in representing multinational firms in US and EU enforcement matters, including both cartel and dominance investigations. Kexin Li and Julia Zhu are the mainland China associates to note.
Willis Towers Watson
Air Products & Chemicals
- Advised DuPont de Nemours on the antitrust aspects of the combination of its nutrition and biosciences business with International Flavors & Fragrances.
- Advised Willis Towers Watson, a global advisory, broking and solutions company, on the antitrust aspects of its merger with Aon.
- Advised WABCO Holdings on the antitrust aspects of its $7bn sale to Germany’s ZF Friedrichshafen.