Next Generation Partners

Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Data protection: foreign firms

Led by Frank Sun and Kieran Donovan, Latham & Watkins LLP handles a range of data and technology work, acting for clients in the TMT sector in complex cross-border transactions and cybersecurity matters. 
The team at Linklaters regularly advises local and foreign clients on their compliance with China’s Personal Information Protection Law, with a further emphasis on information management projects.

Data protection: foreign firms in China

Baker McKenzie FenXun

Baker McKenzie FenXun stands as a leader in the data protection field, acting for clients in relation to privacy complaints, investigations, and the retention, storage and destruction of data, with a further emphasis on multi-jurisdictional reviews regarding its collection, use and transfer. With additional expertise in the interplay between privacy requirements in the labour and consumer protection fields, the team is led by Shanghai-based Zhenyu Ruan, a member of the global TMT steering committee, whose practice focuses on regulatory and cybersecurity issues. Leading the team alongside him are Paolo Sbuttoni and Lex Kuo in Hong Kong, acting on IT regulatory matters and data protection issues relating to the entertainment and sports sectors, respectively. Shanghai-based associate Michael Wang is another key figure, advising clients on IT compliance and cybersecurity-related work.

Practice head(s):

Zhenyu RuanPaolo Sbuttoni; Lex Kuo

Other key lawyers:

Michael Wang

Key clients




Jones Lang LaSalle

Abercrombie & Fitch


Work highlights

  • Advised Tietoevry on its acquisition of IT, R&D and consulting business operations and employees from Ericsson China.
  • Assisted Porsche on legal and regulatory issues concerning the launch of the new version of the Porsche Connect mobile app in Mainland China and Hong Kong.
  • Represented Subway on agreements with several Chinese IT vendors concerning design setup and implementation of China franchisee online ordering, loyalty program and WeChat Mini-Program.


Leveraging its solid experience in the TMT sector, CMS is a popular choice for advising on risks and regulations of data protection and cybersecurity. Shanghai-based Ulrike Glueck, who leads the TMT sector as well as the firm’s corporate and M&A team, heads the practice alongside Nick Beckett, who is the Managing Partner of the Beijing and Hong Kong offices, and has experience advising clients in the life sciences and healthcare sectors with regard to personal information protection. Other key figures in the team include Shanghai-based senior associate Panpan Tang who acts for clients in the IT and media sectors on data protection matters.

Practice head(s):

Ulrike GlueckNick Beckett

Other key lawyers:

Panpan Tang

Key clients



University of Glasgow

Bird & Bird

With a broader global data protection offering, Bird & Bird focuses on a variety of compliance matters in addition to dealing with cross-border data transfer, including handling sensitive data transfer agreements and privacy impact assessments. Beijing-based James Gong, who specialises in GDPR and cybersecurity matters, joined from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP in August 2021, and now co-heads the practice alongside counsel Clarice Yue, who is the head of the firm’s data protection practice for both mainland China and Hong Kong, and has experience advising clients on projects with a cloud service, fintech, and adtech element. London-based of counsel Michelle Chan is another notable figure.

Practice head(s):

James Gong; Clarice Yue

Other key lawyers:

Michelle Chan

Morrison Foerster

With a practice focused on evolving privacy regulations, risk management and litigation surrounding data protection, Morrison Foerster also handles data breaches, while placing an emphasis on the development of tools to assist clients in project management and cost savings. The practice is jointly led by Beijing-based Paul McKenzie, acting as managing partner of the firm’s Beijing and Shanghai offices, Shanghai-based Chuan Sun, with experience advising multinational corporations and start-ups in the technology sector on data security matters, and Hong Kong-based Gordon Milner, with expertise in data, cloud and technology transactions.

Work highlights

  • Represented Roblox in its joint venture with Tencent and the establishment and launch of the Roblox platform in China.

Simmons & Simmons

With a focus on data compliance issues, Simmons & Simmons advises on compliance audits, data management, and monetisation matters for local and foreign clients with a presence in the hardware, technology, cybersecurity, digital service, banking, and healthcare sectors. Working out of Shenzhen and heading the wider data protection practice is Jingyuan Shi, with notable experience handling matters for clients in the TMT sector. The team welcomed the arrival of Ruina Liu who joined from Han Kun Law Offices in January 2022.

Practice head(s):

Jingyuan Shi

Other key lawyers:

Ruina Liu

Key clients


Work highlights

  • Advised Huawei on data protection/cybersecurity issues.