Dispute resolution: Litigation: foreign firms in China

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP ‘s status as a full-service law firm supports the wide range of disputes which its Hong Kong-based team engages in across China. The litigation team, led by Gareth Thomas, handles highly complex and technical proceedings. Thomas has acted for a number of clients in disputes regarding corporate liability in multijurisdictional cases. Jojo Fan acted for Bank Julius Baer in a $15m case regarding allegations of misrepresentation of over 140 investment projects, and represented BYD in a case of alleged breach of confidentiality of trade secrets. Fan was recently promoted to partner.

Practice head(s):

Gareth Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Jojo Fan

Key clients

Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd.

Bank of China International Limited (“BOCIL”) and BOCI Securities Limited (“BOCIS”)

BYD Company Limited

Credit Suisse

Collins Aerospace

DBS Bank, Hong Kong Branch

Essilor International SAS and its subsidiary, Essilor Manufacturing (Thailand) Co. Ltd.

Members of the Lo Family, one of Asia’s richest families by net worth

PCCW Solutions Limited

The Law Society of Hong Kong

The estate of Mr Liu Cheng Chan, Chik Sau Kam and Liu Por

Toll Group

Town Health Corporate Advisory and Investments Limited

UBS AG

Work highlights

  • Represented DBS Bank in an appeal concerning the liquidation of Galleria Limited.
  • Represented Essilor International in a $210m embezzlement case.
  • Represented UBS in a dispute regarding the liabilities of over HK$4bn related to the liquidation of China Metal Recycling.

Baker McKenzie FenXun

A global full-service law firm, Baker McKenzie FenXun provides a key entry point for foreign firms to settle disputes relating to the Chinese market. Led by Hong Kong-based Cynthia Tang, its partnership with FenXun further expands its field of expertise to Chinese law both in terms of dispute resolution and in related sectors. Tang, along with Brian Ng, is well versed in advising on corruption. Simon Hui and Gary Seib handled a fraud case due to a cyberattack. Mini VandePol, Kwun Yee Cheung, and Roberta Chan are also highly recommended. 2020 saw the retirement of Anthony Poon and the departure of Paul Teo.

Practice head(s):

Cynthia Tang

Testimonials

The team is able to articulate well through the complex legal framework in China. The lawyers stand out for their ability to explain the local culture which helps with the decision making process.

Key clients

Haitong International Securities Company Limited

Tongfang Kontafarma Holdings Ltd.

National United Resources Holdings Limited

MUFG Bank

EFG Bank AG

China Merchants Group

KPMG

Work highlights

  • Represented Chinaculture in a dispute regarding CNT’s directors’ handling of the spinning off of its paint business.

Clifford Chance LLP

An international full-service law firm, Clifford Chance LLP’s onshore practice is the culmination of decades of experience in the region. The team is led by mainland-based Lei Shi and Hong Kong-based Ling Ho and handles a broad range of commercial disputes. Shi has legal qualifications in Hong Kong, New York and on the mainland; associate Nathan Zhou is likewise qualified both in New York and on the mainland, supporting the global nature of the firm’s business. Shi, Ho, and Zhao handle a wide variety of international financial, fraud, trademark and competition disputes; consultant William Wong is highly regarded in the field of financial disputes.

Practice head(s):

Lei Shi; Ling Ho

Other key lawyers:

Nathan Zhou; William Wong

Testimonials

‘Commercially savvy, technically sound and bilingual.’

‘William Wong is extremely helpful and responsive. He also has a good grasp and understanding of clients’ needs.’

Lei Shi can grasp the key points and client needs in a short time and leads the team to complete the work on time.’

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s position as a global full-service law firm enables its offshore office in Hong Kong, led by Kevin Chan and supplemented by on the ground experts in Shanghai and Beijing, to engage in highly complex, multijurisdictional litigation. Chan represented Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Chow Sang Sang Securities in the recovery of defaulted loans valued at HK$1.5bn and HK$722m respectively. Satpal Gobindpuri is well versed in commercial litigation and disputes in the insurance sector. Harris Chan has experience dealing with cases ranging from corporate restructuring to disputes over high net-worth estates. Xiaoshan Chen is also highly regarded.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Chan

Testimonials

‘The firm stands out in providing assessment on the degree of legal and commercial risks against certain circumstances in a timely manner and demonstrating sound judgment in planning and managing the dispute resolution matters.’

‘Harris Chan is a pragmatic and seasoned litigator who has vast experience in all kinds of civil litigation. On top of that, he understands the capital market well and is familiar with the industry practice. He is able to grasp the key of the matter quickly and is able to turn around as quickly with a solution.’

Satpal Gobindpuri tries to do everything possible to settle and avoid going to court.’

Key clients

China Huarong International Holdings Limited

Combest Holdings Limited

DIO Corporation

Dymocks Franchise Systems (China) Limited

Everwill Industrial Limited

Haitong International Assets Management Limited

HK A-Sun Group Co., Ltd

Huatai Financial Holdings (Hong Kong) Limited

MHK Restaurants Limited

Power Securities Company

Sand Aire Limited

Sung Chung Kwun

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s team, co-led by Kelly Naphtali, Tiana Zhang and Cori Lable, is primarily split between Hong Kong and Shanghai, although some members are based in the US, enabling multi-jurisdictional expertise at all stages of the litigation process. Zhang along with Yue Qiu and Jodi Wu are highly knowledgeable of multi-jurisdictional patent litigation. Zhang, as well as Los Angeles-based Yi-Chin Ho, is also well-versed in cases pertaining to corruption. Naphtali, Paul Quinn, Amy Ngan, Fergus Saurin and Richard Sharpe all have extensive experience concerning disputes regarding accusations of negligence in liquidations across multiple jurisdictions. In 2020, David Harrington, previously of MinterEllisonRuddWatts, joined as a partner whilst Saurin and Qiu were both promoted to the partnership. Tarun Warriar departed to Varde Partners.

Other key lawyers:

Yi-Chin Ho; Amy Ngan; Yue Qiu; Paul Quinn; Fergus Saurin; Richard Sharpe ; Jodi Wu

Key clients

Xiaomi Inc.

TCL Corp.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Hong Kong-based team, led by Camille Jojo, works across jurisdictions in high profile commercial litigation, IP litigation, fraud including cyber fraud disputes. Jojo and associate Daniel Ng have collaborated on numerous projects ranging from debt recovery, to the management of estates.  Recently-promoted partner Kevin Hong and Alfred Wu   are also key names to note. Wu has also worked extensively with Hong and associate Anita Fong on cases regarding breach of contract. Philip Nunn is also well regarded.

Practice head(s):

Camille Jojo

Testimonials

The team has good cooperation ability, clear division of labour, clear organizational structure, smooth coordination and communication with clients, and quick response in handling cases.’

The team is skilful in litigation, with a solid legal foundation, good communication in Mandarin, English and Cantonese. The lawyers are good at dealing with cases from the perspective of clients and achieving their expected goals.’

‘The individuals have enough experiences and knowledge to handle unprecedented cases.’

Key clients

Mr Fok Chun Yue Benjamin (co-executor of the estate of Fok Ying Tung Henry)

Zhaoheng Hydropower (Hong Kong) Limited

A minority shareholder a Hong Kong company listed on the Korean Stock Exchange

One of the beneficiaries of the estates of his parents

A former independent non-executive director

Paloma Company Limited (Paloma)

ChinaCast Education Corporation (ChinaCast)

Asia Allied Infrastructure Holdings Ltd (Asia Allied)

Hsin Chong Aster Building Services Limited (Hsin Chong)

JSP International s.r.o.

Work highlights

  • Represented Mr. Benjamin Fok Chun Yue in disputes relating to a settlement agreement.

Clyde & Co LLP

A global law firm, Clyde & Co LLP‘s expertise extends to its onshore practice in Shanghai, in collaboration with Westlink Partnership. The team’s work is often multijurisdictional and highly complex, with practice heads Ik Wei Chong and Canming Wang both having a particular focus on disputes regarding shipping and insurance within the region and globally. Nicholas Lum has complementary expertise, and has recently worked on a number of trade disputes in the fields of commodities, resources and technology. The firm seeks to be at the forefront of technological innovation, with extensive use of data analytics and machine learning as well as expanding into growth markets such as advising clients on the regulation of distributed ledger technology across jurisdictions.

Practice head(s):

Ik Wei Chong; Canming Wang

Other key lawyers:

Nicholas Lum

Testimonials

‘Always responsive and available when needed.’

Latham & Watkins LLP

With a central Greater China team led by Hui Xu and supported by Asia-wide litigators as part of the firm’s OneAsia strategy, Latham & Watkins LLP hosts extensive professional expertise in resolving multi-jurisdictional disputes within the region. Xu is experienced in a wide variety of geopolitically sensitive trade disputes and has worked both with Catherine McBride and with Ing Loong Yang when advising on fraud investigations. Both Xu and McBride have conducted a number of internal investigations for clients; McBride and Yang are highly experienced in handling contract violations disputes. Catherine Palmer retired. Since publication, the team saw the arrival of Dominic Geiser who joined from Herbert Smith Freehills in August 2o22.

Practice head(s):

Hui Xu

Key clients

China Life Insurance (Overseas) Company Limited

China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited

Sinovac Biotech Ltd.

China Orient Asset Management (International) Holding Limited

United Microelectronics Corporation

Shenzhen Senior Technology Material Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Assisted China COSCO Shipping Corporation with the lifting of US sanctions.
  • Assisted Sinovac Biotech’s Board of Directors with its actions of dissident shareholders.
  • Represented United Microelectronics Corp in a “China Initiative” trade secret case brought by the US Department of Justice.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Co-led by Rory McAlpine and Steve Kwok, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s Hong Kong-based China dispute resolution team is well-versed in multi-jurisdictional litigation, particularly relating to allegations of fraud. Acting for HNW individuals, hedge funds and private equity firms, McAlpine and Wilfred Ho have extensive experience acting in shareholder disputes and fraud allegations. Washington DC-based Bradley Klein (who is a fluent Mandarin speaker) is noted for his in-depth experience in internal investigations, regulatory enforcement actions and compliance matters, as well as US securities class action representing China-based companies.

Practice head(s):

Rory McAlpine; Steve Kwok

Testimonials

‘The Skadden litigation team is very professional with both solid legal skills and strong business senses. They are responsive, always act proactively, and provide clients with business-friendly solutions. Their reaction to the emergency cases and clients request is also quick even under pressure.’

‘The level of expertise, the calibre of the team, the responsiveness and professionalism. This is what makes the Skadden team unique.’

‘Wilfred Ho is excellent. He is an incredibly good technical lawyer but he also has great commercial awareness. The fact that he is truly bilingual (English and Mandarin) is particularly impressive and useful in offshore litigation. It is both a privilege and a pleasure to work with Wilfred.’

‘A strong team that can deliver under pressure.’

‘Rory McAlpine is an experienced partner who works incredibly hard for his clients. ‘

‘Rory McAlpine is a superstar.’

Key clients

Bermuda Trust Companies established by a Taiwanese Conglomerate

Evenstar Capital Management Ltd.

58.com Inc.

Hong Kong holding companies and their directors

HFW

Based in Shanghai and led by Nicholas Poynder, HFW, in partnership with Wintell & Co Law Firm, has wide-ranging expertise in the dispute resolution market in the Greater China area. Poynder counts Chinese SOEs and large listed and private companies as his clients, and Hong Kong-based George Lamplough has notable experience in fraud, shipping, banking and international trade disputes. Master Mariner Julian Davies is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Poynder

Key clients

ANZ Commodity Trading Pty Ltd

CLP Power Hong Kong Limited

Bright Shipping Limited

Grant Thornton – The Liquidators of Centaur Litigation SPC

Al Baraka Banking Group B.S.C

Grey Reach Investment Limited

Blink Limited (in liquidation)

Work highlights

  • Represented ANZ Commodity Trading Pty in coordinating the tracing and recovery efforts following a $300m metals fraud involving non-authentic warehouse receipts.
  • Acted for Al Baraka Banking Group in the recovery of over $5m stolen from the Bank’s customers as a result of confidence fraud perpetrated against the bank.

Morrison Foerster

Morrison Foerster’s China practice is based in Hong Kong and led by managing partner Timothy Blakely; it covers a wide range of corporate and commercial disputes across sectors and jurisdictions. Blakelyregularly works with of counsel Jessica Chan on shareholder disputes, fraud allegations and disputes arising from real estate investment. Chen Zhu joined from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in 2020, and excels in securities fraud, compliance and anti-corruption matters.

Practice head(s):

Timothy Blakely

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Thomas; Jessica Chan; Chen Zhu

Key clients

Softbank Group Corp.

Work highlights

  • Advised Softbank Group on obtaining documentary and testimonial evidence in Hong Kong and Mainland China for use in a case before the Delaware Chancery Court.

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood’s Hong Kong-based team, led by Ivan Ng, is well versed in handling multi-jurisdictional IP, construction and financial disputes for high-value clients across a range of sectors. The team is particularly strong in handling litigations involving international trade finance and PRC elements, and is recommended for representing PRC clients in large cross-border disputes, particularly shareholders disputes (in which Ng and senior associate Emily Li is a key name to note). The firm also has an association with Chinese law firm Wei Tu Law Firm in Guangzhou, enabling it to advise on both Hong Kong and PRC law. Greater China managing partner Jamie Stranger focuses on corporate insolvency, commercial litigation, fraud and professional liability.

Practice head(s):

Ivan Ng

Other key lawyers:

Jamie StrangerEmily Li; Ian Childs

Key clients

Purple Surgical UK Limited

Employees of China Shanshui Investment Limited

Dan Form International Limited and its owner (a high net worth PRC individual)

Société Générale

HWH Holdings Limited

Phillips Fine Watches Limited

The joint and several liquidators of Shanghai Huaxin (Hong Kong) Limited

OCBC

ICBC

OCBC Wing Hang Bank Limited

Hongkong Chaung Yue Co. Limited and its owner (a high net worth PRC individual)

Incomlend Pte. Ltd.

FundPark Limited

Raiffeisen Bank International AG

PricewaterhouseCoopers

China Tailong Green Power Group Limited

Agricultural Bank of China

SinoPac Securities (Asia) Limited

FTI Consulting (Hong Kong) Limited

Hiro Bharwani

Deepak Pagarani

Work highlights

  • Represented over 2000 employees and minority shareholders in China Shanshui Investment Company Limited in regards to its management of China Shanshui Cement Group Company Limited.
  • Acted for CECEP COSTIN New Materials Limited and its joint provisional liquidators regarding its debt restructuring.
  • Acted for Purple Surgical UK Limited in a dispute pertaining to a breach of a sale and purchase agreement and of an escrow agreement.

White & Case LLP

Co-led by Hong Kong-based Melody Chan and Bingna Guo who splits her time between Beijing and Shanghai, White & Case LLP  demonstrates its expertise in contentious matters, as well as advising on transaction-related disputes. The team has established a highly regarded practice representing Chinese banks and financial institutions on contentious debt recovery and restructurings. Demonstrating this, it recently successfully represented Chinese lenders recovering loans made to the troubled Reliance Communications group, one of the largest conglomerates in India. Complementing its litigation practice, the broader dispute resolution team also regularly handles international arbitration, white collar and regulatory matters, and governmental investigations in China. Its recent caseload also features inbound and outbound cases arising from corporate and finance transactions.

Practice head(s):

Melody Chan; Bingna Guo

Other key lawyers:

Mark Chu; James Hsiao

Testimonials

‘Excellent in compliance business.’

‘ Bingna Guo is able to provide service with excellent experience and timely feedback.’

Key clients

Anker Innovations

China Cinda (HK) Asset Management

China Development Bank

China Exim Bank

Ernst & Young Transactions

EY Cayman

Feilong Nonwoven Machinery

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

Work highlights

  • Represented China Cinda on the enforcement of transaction documents made under a loan financing to Hong Kong-based Linca Industry Holdings Company.
  • Represented China Development Bank, China Exim Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China on a payment default under certain existing facility agreements.
  • Represented Ernst & Young Transactions Limited and EY Cayman Ltd in the discharge of their duties as liquidators.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP‘s Hong Kong-based dispute resolution litigation team handles a broad range of commercial litigation, regulatory investigations and arbitration matters. The team is increasingly handling disputes in United States federal and state courts, including complex class-action securities litigation defence against Chinese companies and their IPO underwriters. Martin Rogers, James Wadham, Patrick Sinclair and Karen Chan jointly lead the team.

Other key lawyers:

Lisa Martin; Jonathan Chang

Testimonials

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Linklaters

Linklaters enjoys its joint operation with Zhao Sheng Law Firm to advise on both PRC and international law advice. The team is led by Singapore-based Jelita Pandjaitan which includes a number of experienced practitioners in its Hong Kong office: Melvin Sng excels in commercial litigation and regulatory investigations advising clients including SOEs and multinationals; Justin Tang has notable experience handling shareholders' disputes and insolvency-related litigation; and Denise Fung represents multinational corporations and financial institutions in commercial disputes including those arising from syndicated loans, shareholder agreements and distributor agreements.

Practice head(s):

Jelita Pandjaitan

Other key lawyers:

Melvin Sng; Justin Tang; Denise Fung

Testimonials

Linklaters China team is very knowledgeable and experienced in the PRC law and practice and has a thorough understanding of the clients’ needs as well as to address the concerns of the regulators. Their team is also capable of giving expert advice to deal with cross-border issues.’

Key clients

UBS AG

Nan Hai Corporation

KPMG

Jardine Matheson

HSBC

Hang Seng Bank

Shanghai Industrial Holdings Limited

J.P. Morgan

Ernst & Young

Citibank

Blackrock

CCB International

Ping An Securities

Societe Generale

FTI Consulting

Work highlights

  • Representing the Bank of East Asia in defending dishonest assistance and knowing receipt claims brought by the liquidators of China Medical Technologies.

Paul Hastings LLP

Paul Hastings LLP’s dispute resolution team, led by Shaun Wu (who splits his time between Hong Kong and Shanghai), engages in complex multi-jurisdictional litigation across a range of sectors. Wu advises on cross-border technology regulation and its intersection with international trade policy, and on cases regarding investment recovery, fraud, and tort law. Shanghai-based Phoebe Yan joined from Hogan Lovells International LLP in April 2021, and focuses on litigation, white-collar crime and internal investigations, and government enforcement actions.

Practice head(s):

Shaun Wu

Other key lawyers:

Phoebe Yan; Sarah Zhu

Key clients

Renowned U.S.-based international investment fund

Leading PRC-based private equity fund

Leading U.K.-headquartered multinational company

Leading U.S.-listed multinational technology company

Leading Chinese technology conglomerate

Leading Chinese internet software technology developer

U.S. multinational hedge fund

U.S. Fortune 500 leading technology conglomerate

Work highlights

  • Acted for a U.S.-based international investment fund in a dispute over real estate joint venture investments across China.
  • Acted for a PRC-based private equity fund in a dispute concerning an acquisition of a Chinese subsidiary from a US-listed conglomerate.

Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons’ Beijing-based dispute resolution practice, led by Tom Fyfe, operates across all the sectors in which the firm specialises including asset management and investment funds, financial institutions, TMT and life sciences. Internal and regulatory investigations, employment disputes, and IP claims also feature in its recent caseloads. Gary Yin joined from Jingtian & Gongcheng and has notable experience handling China-related disputes and regulatory investigations. The firm also established Simmons Wavelength which is a regulated firm of legal engineers, made up of qualified lawyers, data scientists and legal design experts, assisting clients in the context of investigations and litigation work.

Practice head(s):

Tom Fyfe

Other key lawyers:

Gary Yin; Eric Chan; Paul Li

Key clients

The Bank of East Asia Limited

Cheer Hope Holdings Limited

James Li Cheung Hung, former executive director and company secretary of China Shanshui Cement Group Limited

Organizing Committee of the XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympic Winter Games of 2014 in Sochi

TWB Investments Limited and Time Watch Investment Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Cheer Hope Holdings Limited in a $26m debt recovery action.
  • Represented the former executive director and company secretary of China Shanshui Cement Group Limited in a High Court shareholders dispute.