Next Generation Partners

Real estate and construction: foreign firms in China

Allen & Overy LLP

Leveraging several branches of expertise in the finance, funds and corporate spheres, Allen & Overy LLP‘s ten-partner team is well placed to provide financial sponsors, banks and corporate entities with advice regarding the real estate sector, with key areas of strength extending to the commercial, retail and logistics markets. The team is co-led by Wayne Lee and Matthew Bisley, who showcase combined expertise in private equity-related offerings in the real estate sector and the handling of finance work for local and international clients in the banking industry. Lee is further capable when it comes to deal life cycles, dissecting and managing issues from the structuring and financing of a platform to the surfacing of relevant downstream investment activity. Jean Ye is another notable figure, qualified in China and the US, and drawing from her 17 years of experience to build strong relations with high-profile private equity sponsors and sovereign wealth funds. Changes to the team include the addition of Hong Kong-based counsel David Ye from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and counsel Richard Ou from Shearman & Sterling LLP in May and October of 2021, respectively. All named lawyers are based in Shanghai unless otherwise stated.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Bisley; Wayne Lee

Other key lawyers:

Jean YeDavid Ye; Richard Ou

Key clients


DNE Group

Baker McKenzie

With ‘in depth knowledge‘, the six-partner team at Baker McKenzie FenXun benefits from an international network that catalyses both multi-jurisdictional and local work relevant to the Greater China real estate sector, acting for developers and investors in relation to a variety of market-specific needs. Based in Hong Kong, Rico Chan, who has around 30 years of experience dealing with China and Hong Kong markets in connection with real estate transactions in a PRC and cross-border context, leads the team alongside Edmond Chan, regarded for his advice to financial investors and real estate developers acting within the scope of the Hong Kong immovables market. Among recent highlights, Rico Chan acted for Hysan Development Company on a joint venture with IWG for the development of a flexible workspace embodying a hybrid work model. In Shanghai, Alexander Gong heads the team, acting as a key figure with regard to development projects, leasing and private equity work for a range of local and foreign clients. Shiu Man Wan departed the practice in January 2022.

Practice head(s):

Rico Chan; Edmond Chan


‘Really in depth knowledge about the Chinese market, which is notoriously difficult to navigate.’

‘Knowledgeable and professional.’

Key clients

Angelo Gordon

APG Asset Management

Hysan Development Company


SF Holding

Wheelock Properties

Yuexiu REIT

Work highlights

  • Acting as issuer’s counsel on the establishment and IPO of SF REIT, Hong Kong’s first logistics-focused REIT.
  • Advised Yuexiu REIT on its ¥7.8 billion acquisition of Yuexiu Financial Tower.
  • Advised Link REIT as Hong Kong legal counsel on its acquisition of Happy Valley Shopping Mall.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper‘s presence in the real estate sector extends across Greater China and Hong Kong, with an offering tailored towards end-users, developers and funds seeking advice on a variety of corporate real estate issues. Leading the practice from Hong Kong is ‘very experiencedSusheela Rivers, noted for her advice on real estate matters concerning the hospitality and leisure sectors, having recently acted for Crane Capital in a joint venture investment designed for the acquisition of a portfolio relating to industrial buildings in Shanghai. Acting alongside her in this matter was Ed Sheremeta, with notable expertise in transactional work, including with regard to private equity investments. Lillian Duan, who divides her time between Shanghai and Beijing is another key contact, bolstering the firm’s ability to handle a range of transactional work in relation to the real estate sector for major investment institutions and property funds.

Practice head(s):

Susheela Rivers

Other key lawyers:

Lillian Duan; Ed Sheremeta

Key clients

PGIM Real Estate

Crane Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised PGIM Real Estate on a joint venture with New Ease.
  • Advised Crane Capital on its joint venture investment with regard to its acquisition of a portfolio of an industrial building in Shanghai, and the onshore/offshore financing thereof.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown stands as a leader across the spectrum of construction work, acting for funds, developers and end-users in contentious and non-contentious matters. Supplementing this is the firm’s integrated practice, with extended reach into matters with a link to commercial, residential, retail and logistics properties. Among recent highlights, the team acted for a leading charitable organisation, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, on the construction of a facility designed for the training of the region’s thoroughbred racehorses, plotted across a surmounting 150 hectares. Hong Kong-based Keith Cheung leads the team alongside Geoffrey Chan, also in Hong Kong, and Shanghai-based Andy Yeo, who regularly advises developers, funds and other investors with regard to investment structures, land acquisitions, and property management. Also leading the team is Tom Fu, who divides his time between Hong Kong and Beijing and is regarded as an expert in a range of compliance and regulatory issues in the industry, with further expertise in significant construction projects in Greater China. Reinforcing the practice’s construction offering is Beijing-based counsel Rosalyn Han, noted for her advice to leading international developers in relation to high-profile projects. Senior associate Ellen Zhang is another a key contact at the Shanghai office for property acquisitions, joint ventures and regulatory matters.

Other key lawyers:

Rosalyn Han; Ellen Zhang

Key clients

Hong Kong Jockey Club

Swire Properties

Work highlights

  • Advising The Hong Kong Jockey Club on their Conghua Training Centre in Guangdong.
  • Advising Swire Properties on the review of a series of standard forms of construction contracts, consultancy agreements and supply contracts.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Distinguishable for advising contractors and SOEs in relation to outbound construction mandates, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP leverages it global network, with an established presence in mainland China and Hong Kong. With the ability to provide ‘first rate directions‘, the firm is also active in both contentious and non-contentious matters, with a further emphasis on inbound China mandates relevant to international actors in the space. Dividing their time between Shanghai and Beijing, Hew Kian Heong and Michelle Li co-head the team. Heong’s 30 year practice covers non-contentious and contentious work as he acts for Chinese SOEs in transactions as well as arbitration and litigation, while Li adds 15 years of experience to the team’s offering, advising local and foreign clients with ties to the energy and petrochemical sectors.

Practice head(s):

Hew Kiang Heong; Michelle Li

Other key lawyers:

Murphy Mok; Grace Fang


‘First rate directions as to areas to evaluate.’

‘They often offer strategic thinking and approaches to resolve disputes.’

‘Hew Kian Heong is definitely the leading figure for the practice, he offers strategic thinking and practical solutions to the team and the clients.’

Key clients

China Machinery Engineering

Diageo China

Saudi Branch of China Huanqiu Contracting & Engineering

China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering

Shanghai Construction Group

SEM-Calaca Power

China Railway Construction

China Chengda Engineering

Bjarke Ingels Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Diageo China with regard to its investment and construction of a new facility in Yunnan.
  • Advised SEM-Calaca Power in relation to potential claims arising out of generator supply and installation agreements with a major energy conglomerate.
  • Advised Bjarke Ingels Group in connection with it first and newest landmark architectural project in Chengdu.

Paul Hastings LLP

Noted for its international network, Paul Hastings LLP acts for a range of developers, banks and end-users involved in real estate transactions, focusing on investment mandates in an inbound and outbound context. Its relationship with sovereign wealth funds is another key strength for the group, catalysing work with respect to a variety of cross-border transactions and investments in the space.

Pinsent Masons

With a presence in Hong Kong and mainland China, Pinsent Masons stands out for its international construction reputation, with a practice that extends into the Middle East, Africa, South America, and Europe, advising major contractors in relation to large-scale infrastructure and energy projects. Sam Boyling, who divides his time between Beijing and Singapore, leads the practice alongside Dean Lewis, working out of the Hong Kong office. Boyling has particular expertise advising Chinese SOE contractors with respects to energy and infrastructure projects in several continents, while Lewis specialises in infrastructure projects in the Asia Pacific region primarily. Other notable members include Beijing-based Mark Hu, recommended for high-profile outbound infrastructure, power and renewable energy projects, and Shanghai-based senior associate Rachel Turner, a key player in the team’s contentious offering with regard to construction and engineering law.

Practice head(s):

Dean Lewis; Sam Boyling

Key clients

Maeda-China State JV

Clifford Chance LLP

Clifford Chance’s multidisciplinary approach enables the Hong Kong-based team to handle a range of investment life cycle work for international investors, while also dealing with conveyancing, M&A, financing and joint ventures. Amy Ho leads the firm’s real estate, gaming and lodging group, with experience advising clients with regard to private equity, joint ventures and strategic transactions relevant to the real estate sector. Matthias Feldmann and Dauwood Malik are also noted as key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Amy Ho

Other key lawyers:

Matthias Feldmann; Dauwood Malik

Key clients

Cainiao Network

Partners Group

Chelsfield Asia

Phoenix Property Investors

Kai Tak Sports Park

Carrefour Nederland


HOPU Investments


CK Asset Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advising PAG on a $933 million loan facility provided by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Bank of China and BNP Paribas to finance PAG’s $2.8 billion minority investment in Dalian Wanda Group ahead of its Hong Kong IPO.
  • Advised APG Asset Management on the establishment of a joint venture with Wang On Properties, to engage in the acquisition of residential properties in Hong Kong for development and re-development for sale.
  • Acted as lead international counsel to Bank of China’s Macau Branch as arranger, lender and agent on USD and HKD revolving facilities in an aggregate amount equivalent to $1,5 billion.


With considerable international reach, CMS acts for both local and international clients in the acquisition, development and procurement of real estate assets, handling leases and service contracts on a regular basis. In Shanghai, Ulrike Glueck heads the firm’s real estate offering, with a focus on corporate elements of real estate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Ulrike Glueck

Key clients

Ernst Benary Samenzucht

Morrison Foerster

With extensive experience in private equity, Hong Kong-based Marcia Ellis leads Morrison Foerster‘s efforts in the real estate sphere, acting for clients with regard to investment cycles by handling joint ventures, acquisitions, and the development of assets in the Greater China region. The three-partner team is also active in relation to the technology sector, often advising stakeholders on data centre deals. Chuan Sun, who divides his time between Shanghai and Hong Kong is another standout, focusing on cross-border transactions in relation to the M&A and TMT spaces. Also noted in Hong Kong is Maureen Ho, bolstering the team’s private equity and real estate funds practice with regard to investment cycles, leveraged buy-outs and infrastructure investments.

Practice head(s):

Marcia Ellis

Other key lawyers:

Chuan Sun; Maureen Ho


‘The team possesses good technical knowledge and strong understanding of local market practice.’

They are detail oriented and willing to engage in active discussion with clients.

MoFo has a unique advantage in great team collaboration across various divisions and geographies, including compliance, litigation and cross-border corporate transactions.

‘Marcia Ellis is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the Greater China market. She understands how best to use various provisions to provide protection.’

Marcia Ellis is very good at distilling complex concepts into layman terms, which again, demonstrates her depth of knowledge and years of experience in practice through various engagements.

Key clients


Princeton Digital Group


Beijing Hualian Group

Greenland Hong Kong Holdings

Poly Property Group

Sunshine 100 China Holdings


Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund


Evergreen Real Estate


Asia Pacific Land

Work highlights

  • Advised Sino-Ocean on the formation of a $1.4 bn core office real estate fund that will invest in A-grade office projects in core business districts of tier-one Chinese cities.
  • Advised Macquarie’s real estate division in connection with its initial significant minority investment in UI Holding.
  • Advised Ascendent Capital Partners in its exit from its investment in Suzhou Yongding Hospital, by disposal of its shares in Etern Group.

Proskauer Rose LLP

With a prominent presence in Hong Kong, Proskauer Rose LLP is regarded for its work in the hospitality sector, playing an active role in transactions with regard to hotel and gaming real estate projects. Yuval Tal, who divides his time between Hong Kong and Beijing co-leads the firm’s global hospitality, gaming and leisure group, drawing from his corporate, M&A, and securities experience to advise clients in emerging areas of real estate, including with regard to museums, co-living and co-working properties. Supporting these efforts is Hong Kong-based consultant Cynthia Cheng, specializing in hotel project development.

Practice head(s):

Yuval Tal

Other key lawyers:

Cynthia Cheng


‘Proskauer has deep knowledge in real estate in PRC.’

Their in-depth network and ample experience accumulated over the years allows them to prepare a few options that you could choose as your business decision.

Key clients


Galaxy Entertainment Group

Mori Building Real Estate Advisory

Work highlights

  • Represented Accor in the launch of a global strategic partnership with Faena Group; in the sale of Accor’s interests in Huazhu.
  • Represented Galaxy Entertainment Group on its hospitality agreements with a number of international hotel operators in connection with its integrated resort gaming development in Macau.
  • Represented Mori Building and JR Kyushu, in a multi-property deal with Marriott international for Japanese hotels.