Regulatory/compliance: foreign firms in China

Allen & Overy LLP

An international full-service law firm, Allen & Overy LLP’s Shanghai-based compliance team can draw from decades of experience and expertise in the region’s culture and laws pertaining to the regulation of banking and financial services. Its partnership with Lang Yue Law Firm enables it to streamline the process for its clients in the cross-border and multi-jurisdictional cases which it regularly undertakes. The team, co-led by Shanghai-based Jane Jiang and Hong Kong-based Charlotte Robins, has worked together on regulatory compliance issues concerning banks as well as other financial institutions, in addition to cryptocurrency payment and trading platforms. Matt Bower and of counsel Andre Da Roza are also key figures in these fields.

Practice head(s):

Jane Jiang ; Charlotte Robins

Other key lawyers:

Matt Bower; Andre Da Roza;  Melody Wang

Testimonials

‘Incredible team. The breadth and depth of PRC regulatory knowledge are impressive. The team’s ability to distil complicated concepts and conflicting PRC laws/regulations into logical advice makes it one of the most desirable advisors onshore.’

‘The team’s ability to table into a local law firm through its JV is particularly useful when it comes to regulatory engagement.’

‘Jane Jiang is amazing. Her technical wizardry combined with her client skills makes her a go-to advisor on PRC law matters.’

‘First-rate team combining a wealth of experience, strong technical ability and practical, commercial approach. The team go above and beyond to turn the work product around in a tight timescale and are very responsive.’

Melody Wang (Lang Yue Law Firm) is a brilliant lawyer. She is technically great, very articulate and confident and has a strong understanding of the regulatory and competitor landscapes which ensures that the advice that she delivers is a mix of the legal, practical and business risks. She is ever-available and very personable – always a delight to work with.’

Baker McKenzie FenXun

Baker McKenzie FenXun’s China compliance & investigations team has wide-ranging expertise on cross-jurisdictional compliance issues. Led by Hong Kong-based Mini VandePol, its partnership with FenXun Partners further expands its field of expertise and ability to provide sound legal advice on domestic regulation in China. It is particularly experienced in anti-corruption and corporate investigations representing clients from the healthcare, information technology, financial services, industrial, consumer goods and retail sectors. Shanghai-based Henry Chen and Simon Hui are also highly recommended. The firm is at the forefront of technological innovation, and uses technological tools in investigations, including e-discovery, data analytics, and artificial intelligence such as technology-assisted review.

Practice head(s):

Mini VandePol

Other key lawyers:

Simon Hui; Henry Chen

Testimonials

‘Provided prompt and reasonable compliance and investigation related advice.’

‘Henry Chen – Solid experience in compliance and investigation area.’

Clifford Chance LLP

Clifford Chance LLP’s Beijing-based regulatory team, co-led by Terry Yang and Lei Shi handles both non-contentious and contentious matters in a broad range of regulatory areas; its client roster features Chinese and global financial institutions, funds and multinational conglomerates which it advises on regulatory compliance matters in China. Shi regularly works alongside his colleagues in the US offices, and has notable experience in both advising Chinese companies in overseas criminal and regulatory compliance and investigations 9n Hong Kong, US and Europe, as well as advising multinational companies in China-related internal and external investigations and compliance matters. Counsel Kimi Liu is highly experienced in financial regulatory and derivatives, financial market infrastructure arrangements for accessing the China market and regulatory investigations.

Practice head(s):

Terry Yang; Lei Shi

Other key lawyers:

Kimi Liu

Testimonials

The team works seamlessly with other lawyers around the world to provide more specialised and localised compliance services.’

Lei Shi is able to understand client needs and provide clients with the solutions they need.’

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

The compliance team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has a wide-ranging experience across an array of sectors, enabling a multi-disciplinary and therefore expert approach to the complex regulatory environment in China. Among its broad areas of expertise, it handles corporate crime, anti-money laundering, regulation of foreign investment, data protection and privacy, marketing restrictions, sanctions, and cybersecurity matters. The team is led by the highly regarded Hong Kong-based Kyle Wombolt, who has a wealth of experience handling cross-border criminal and regulatory matters including white-collar defence, corporate investigations, and both criminal and regulatory enforcement proceedings. Jeremy Birch, senior consultant Pamela Kiesselbach, and Beijing-based of counsel James Gong are also key figures to note.

Practice head(s):

Kyle Wombolt

Testimonials

‘The HSF’s regulatory/compliance team is a premier practice of its kind in Asia. They are simply unrivalled in Asia. The practice, led by Kyle Wombolt, has been a go-to team by the world’s leading financial institutions and companies for their highest stakes and critical matters. The tremendous experience and presence Kyle and his team have acquired over the years make them a huge powerhouse that is unmatched by any of their competitors. They have the ability to move swiftly, effectively and seamlessly. I can say with complete conviction that their service is top-notch and they deliver solid value to their clients. ’

‘Kyle Wombolt is the preeminent regulatory and enforcement lawyer in the Asia Pacific. He has seen everything and is respected by the regulatory authorities across Asia. He has an immense presence and is much in demand by his clients. He is exceptionally good and has tremendous leadership qualities and HSF’s practice seems to grow stronger and bigger year on year under his leadership.

‘Pamela Kiesselbach is very good at what she does and she and Kyle make a terrific team.’

‘The HSF team has vast experience across all of major APAC jurisdictions. Their key strength lies in their deep knowledge of the law, practical experience on the ground, and understanding of our business. They are able to operate across jurisdictions and efficiently coordinate significant matters which involve multiple teams of local counsel.

‘Kyle Wombolt is my go-to person for any sensitive and/or urgent matter. He is always accessible, knowledgeable, and practical in his advice. He is experienced in handling regulatory requests in a vast range of areas and jurisdictions. He is also able to draw from the broad range of experts that HSF offer and comes up with a seamless solution.’

‘Kyle is exceptionally easy to work with. He understands how our business operates and our concerns. I call Kyle whenever I need someone to act as a sounding board on a difficult matter. ’

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s Shanghai-based regulatory team handles complex multi-jurisdictional cases across Asia and other parts of the wider world. The team, co-led by Hong Kong-based Cori Lable and Shanghai-based Tiana Zhang, has extensive experience in handling numerous highly sensitive, complicated and cross-border government investigations, enforcement actions, civil litigation, and related compliance advice. Zhang is a go-to for US-China cross-border crisis management, including complex financial fraud investigations by audit committees and special committees of China-based companies listed overseas, and China-related high-stakes compliance and trade secret theft investigations by multinational companies. Richard Sharpe is a further name to note who is supported by China investigation specialists Jodi Wu and the recently promoted partner Yue Qiu in Shanghai.

Practice head(s):

Cori Lable; Tiana Zhang

Other key lawyers:

Richard Sharpe ; Jodi Wu; Yue Qiu

Testimonials

‘Brilliant, responsive, and creative. Always know how to handle anything that comes their way. Learns the business inside out.’

‘Tiana Zhang is a strong leader who takes charge and makes sure the matter is handled from start to finish.’

Yue Qiu  is a masterful writer and interviewer who delivers excellent work product.’

‘Jodi Wu is a critical team player who serves as the glue and ensures that nothing is left behind.’

Ropes & Gray LLP

Ropes & Gray LLP’s regulatory team is able to utilise its status as a global full-service law firm to undertake complex, multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary compliance work across a range of sectors whilst displaying in-depth local expertise from its base in Shanghai. The team, led by Hong Kong-based Andrew Dale, advises its clients on a range of compliance issues, particularly regarding anti-corruption regulation, and has notable strength in the life sciences, real estate, retail and private equity sectors. Geoffrey Atkins has notable experience assisting clients in the US and Asia involved in civil and criminal anti-corruption and securities enforcement matters, as well as in internal investigations and compliance regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Dale

Other key lawyers:

Geoffrey Atkins; David Chen

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP  acts for multinational clients with operations in China and Chinese clients with operations abroad on their operations and business practice in the trade-related developments. The team is particularly well-positioned to conduct parallel investigation proceedings, in response to regulatory authority inquiries that involve cross-border contexts. Beijing-based practice head Bingna Guo is regularly instructed to handle anti-corruption, fraud, embezzlement, conflicts of interest investigations, and compliance risk assessment. Hong Kong-based James Hsiao who joined from Sidley Austin in 2020 and senior associate Mark Chu are further names to note.

Practice head(s):

Bingna Guo

Other key lawyers:

James Hsiao; Mark Chu

Key clients

CMC Capital Partners

Boyu Capital

CareCapital Partners

Audit Committee of Hebron Technology

Hillhouse Capital

Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics

Work highlights

  • Represented the audit committee of Hebron Technology on an internal investigation regarding allegations of undisclosed related party transactions.
  • Advised Shenzhen Mindray on the global assessment and update of its compliance and internal controls.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has a regulatory and investigations team with dedicated lawyers based in its Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong offices. Leveraging its impressive global footprint, it represents international and China based multinational corporations on compliance, internal and regulatory investigations with a strong focus on cross-border issues. It is increasingly handling cybercrime and data breach-related reviews and investigations, and its recent caseloads include representing household MNCs operating in Greater China and major Chinese companies. The team is jointly led by Hong Kong-based Sammy Fang and Singapore-based Nathan Bush, and also includes Christine Liu. The firm continues to develop its online tool Rapid Response App which is a crisis management global service assisting clients with responding to a dawn raid, cyber attack or other major incidents.

Practice head(s):

Sammy Fang ; Nathan Bush

Other key lawyers:

Christine Liu; John Zhang

Testimonials

‘Their mainland China/Hong Kong team are real experts when it comes to regulatory matters.’

‘Sammy Fang, a very user-friendly partner, is technically strong with excellent insights and strategic mind.’

Latham & Watkins LLP

As part of its OneAsia strategy, Latham & Watkins LLP’s Greater China practice hosts extensive regional expertise across multiple jurisdictions supporting its delivery of high-stakes and complex casework for multinational companies and financial institutions. Hui Xu leads the team from Beijing and focuses on advising clients in multijurisdictional white-collar investigations and litigation. Xu recently assisted China Cisco Shipping Corporation with the delisting from the US sanction list. Hong Kong-based litigator Catherine McBride has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in enforcement proceedings, regulatory and criminal investigations in Hong Kong and cross-border.

Practice head(s):

Hui Xu

Other key lawyers:

Catherine McBride

Key clients

China Life Insurance (Overseas) Company Limited

China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited

Sinovac Biotech Ltd.

Warburg Pincus Asia LLC

Work highlights

  • Advised Warburg Pincus Asia on the compliance-related due diligence on JD Property, in relations to a series A preferred share financing, with a specific focus on the FCPA and sanctions.
  • Assisted China COSCO Shipping Corporation in lifting US sanctions under the Trump administration.
  • Successfully represented the Board of Directors of Sinovac Biotech in its defense against dissident shareholders.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP handles a wide range of issues related to anti-corruption and regulatory compliance, bringing decades of experience and a cross-disciplinary team of lawyers to its work. It also regularly advises on the development of compliance programmes. The team is jointly led by Lesli Ligorner, Todd Liao, and Charles Mo operating from its Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong offices respectively. Ligorner's corporate investigation practice is closely supported by her employment practice, in which she is experienced in handling employee conduct and operational issues, and Liao has notable experience handling matters related to the FCPA in China and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Practice head(s):

Lesli Ligorner; Todd Liao; Charles Mo

Key clients

Blank

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Shanghai-based regulatory and compliance team, co-led by Hong Sun and Lynn Yang, stands out for its cross-border capability of advising clients on the regulatory compliance issues in China and foreign laws and regulations applicable to the operations in China. Areas of expertise include advising on regulatory issues arising from corporate transactions, internal investigations, regulatory matters concerning highly regulated industries, and conducting risk assessments in the emerging regulatory sectors such as cyber security and data privacy. Sun has extensive experience in handling anti-bribery and corruption cases. Yang focuses on transactional and regulatory issues in the financial services industry in China, particularly insurance and fund/asset management sectors, an area counsel AI Tong also has notable expertise in.

Practice head(s):

Hong Sun; Lynn Yang

Other key lawyers:

AI Tong

Testimonials

‘The team is very attentive to client needs.’

‘The team is experienced in the field of compliance, and provided efficient services and insightful suggestions and advice on our corporate compliance.’

Lynn Yang has an excellent understanding of local insurance regulation policies in China and other major countries.’

The team is very familiar with the laws, regulations and industry practices in the insurance industry, particularly in terms of the needs of foreign-owned insurance companies.’

Lynn Yang focuses on client needs, she is able to partner with other specialist legal firms to gain an edge, brings in specialist teams at appropriate times, and provides clients with a diverse range of professional resources. Lynn is very good in terms of coordination and communication abilities, ensuring that communication between her, the client and their head office, as well as between the client and collaborating law firms, is smooth and successful.’

Key clients

AXA

China Reinsurance Group China Property & Casualty Reinsurance Company Ltd.

China Southern Fund Management Company

HSBC Insurance (Asia) Ltd

Silicon Valley Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised HSBC on the launch of its first wholly-owned FinTech services company, HSBC FinTech Services (Shanghai) Co., Ltd in China’s Free-Trade Zone, Lingang New Area in Shanghai.
  • Advising a manufacturer of batteries on a wide range of matters involving employment, and chemicals industry regulatory issues.
  • Advised a French electrical device designer and manufacturer on an investigation into the conduct of its supplier in China raising concerns on bribery and corruption.

Paul Hastings LLP

Paul Hastings LLP continue to strengthen its Greater China investigations and white-collar defence team with the hire of Hong Kong-based of counsel Sarah Zhu and Shanghai-based Phoebe Yan, from Ropes & Gray LLP and Hogan Lovells International LLP, respectively. It has notable experience in compliance reviews and investigations that involve multinational life sciences, technology and private equity clients seeking to enter the Chinese market. The team is led by Shaun Wu who focuses on the FCPA, UK Bribery Act, corruption, fraud, misconduct, and other regulatory enforcement matters. Within the team, Yan specialises in advising clients in the healthcare sector, and Sophie Han regularly works alongside Wu in anti-corruption compliance and investigations matters.

Practice head(s):

Shaun Wu

Other key lawyers:

Phoebe Yan; Sophie Han; Sarah Zhu

Testimonials

‘The key partner, Shaun Wu is the one who makes this practice stand out among its peers. Shaun’s energy, solution-based approach, and extensive China knowledge among other qualities have given us a lot of confidence when engaging Paul Hastings’ regulatory/compliance practice.’

‘Shaun Wu, the lead partner, has that China touch few others have in the similar category of legal practitioners. For anyone who is experiencing regulatory/compliance challenges in China or seeking advice in that area, Shaun would be the go-to person – and he is very responsive and switched-on.’

‘The Paul Hastings team in China has wide and deep experience in dealing with complex regulatory matters.’

‘Shaun Wu – Excellent operator who is well connected in the market and knows how to get things done. Have worked with him numerous times over the years and it is always a pleasure dealing with such a professional.’

‘The team is unique because of its international capabilities. They involve just the right people at just the right time to create the best possible value for the projects.’

‘John Tso and Shaun Wu are outstanding lawyers at the firm. They have a deep level of legal knowledge and fantastic services.’

Key clients

Airbus S.E.

Goldman Sachs

Braskem S.A.

SAP S.E.

Embraer S.A.

Work highlights

  • Advising a leading pharmaceutical and medical devices corporation in internal investigations of its operations in China and Asia Pacific.
  • Acting for a Chinese intergrated design and manufacturing technology conglomerate on compliance and mitigating potential risk in technology related investigations and sanctions arising out of the ongoing US-China trade war.
  • Acting for a US multinational industrial technology congromerate in internal investigations of its business in China in connection with highly sensitive whistle-blower allegations regarding revenue recognition fraud, sales transaction controls and anti-corruption issues.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP stands out for its experience in representing and defending Chinese companies in response to US regulators’ inquiries and related investigations. The team, led by Hong Kong-based Steve Kwok, has a number of associates in its Beijing and Shanghai offices. Kwok regularly teams up with colleagues in the US to conduct internal compliance investigations in China and other countries in the region and counts a number of technology and financial services sector companies as his key clients. Washington DC-based Bradley Klein has experience representing clients in Asia in internal investigations, regulatory enforcement actions and compliance matters.

Practice head(s):

Steve Kwok

Other key lawyers:

Bradley Klein; Zhong Guan

Testimonials

‘Steve Kwok in Hong Kong is a good regulatory/compliance advisor.’

‘Skadden has a strong practice both in HK and in the US, with a huge amount of experience in dealing with US regulators. They are very collaborative when working with Chinese counsel and forensic accountants. Great to work with.’

‘Steve Kwok is very sharp, experienced, and a good communicator both in dealing with Chinese and Western stakeholders. He has a common sense, a practical approach, and is a strong collaborator. He can grasp accounting issues quickly, and is very knowledgeable about China compliance-related matters.’

‘The team, led by Mr. Steve Kwok, is very professional with both solid legal skills and strong business senses. They are responsive and always act proactively and provide clients with business-friendly solutions. Their reaction to the emergency cases and clients requests is quick even under pressure.’

‘Both Mr. Steve Kwok and Mr. Zhong Guan have provided great support to our Company in class actions cases. Besides the merits that they are hardworking, professional and proactive, they are always willing to take more responsibilities and provide flexible solutions to the Company’s legal and business team.’

Ashurst

Ashurst’s financial regulatory team is highly focused on handling regional and international regulatory issues, investigations and disputes. Its client roster features banking, asset management, securities brokerages and insurance companies, and its joint operation with Guantao Law Firm expands its expertise and geographic reach, particularly in financial services disputes. Practice head Patrick Phua splits his time between Hong Kong and Beijing and is supported by Priscilla Chen, senior associate Tracy Wang and counsel Yolanda Liu. Wang and Liu are based in its Beijing and Shanghai offices, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Phua

Other key lawyers:

Priscilla Chen; Tracy Wang; Yolanda Liu; Yi Man; Yichen Cui

Testimonials

‘The team comprises a mix of strong local PRC talents and foreign practitioners who have vast experience with China’s legal and regulatory landscape. Ashurst’s team provides very sound advice, with a strong practical element. The practical solutions given by Ashurst are especially vital in helping MNCs negotiate the complex environment in China and manage the legal / regulatory risks.’

‘Patrick Phua, and his team are always very responsive to our needs in China, especially given the very dynamic environment there. The quality of advice is consistently sound, with a very practical edge to the advice, i.e. not textbook advice. It facilitates our assessment of the risks involved, and the implementation of solutions to manage the issues on hand.’

Key clients

China Development Bank

Bank of China

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

China Construction Bank

Export-Import Bank of China

Deutsche Bank

China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation

Agricultural Bank of China

China Minsheng Bank

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

CMB International Finance

BOCOM International Asset Management

China Everbright Finance

CMBC Capital Finance Limited

Tai Fung Bank Limited

S&P Ratings (China) Co., Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised S&P Global in establishing its China subsidiary.

CMS

CMS’ compliance practice is known for representing German clients and assisting clients with their compliance regulatory matters in the pharmaceutical and biotech, technology and energy sectors. Philipp Senff leads the practice from its Shanghai office and has a solid track record in handling compliance audits, risk assessments, internal investigations, whistle-blower management, and corporate governance.

Practice head(s):

Philipp Senff

Linklaters

Linklaters’ financial regulation group is co-led by Hong Kong-based Sumit Indwar and Singapore-based Jelita Pandjaitan, which provides an integrated service for financial service providers on complex multi-jurisdictional compliance matters. It advises a broad-ranging client base from global and regional financial institutions, investment and commercial banks, and local and international financial market infrastructure players. The team is increasing advising on sustainable finance which combines financial regulation and transactional expertise, and experience of advising on ESG projects. Litigator Melvin Sng is recommended for regulatory investigations and financial services litigation, as are Andrew Chung and Denise Fung.

Practice head(s):

Jelita Pandjaitan; Sumit Indwar

Key clients

Trumid Holdings LLC

Work highlights

  • Advised Trumid on its joint venture with the Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Hillhouse, including advising on cross-border financial regulatory issues raised by the investment products to be traded on the innovative platform.

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s corporate investigations and anti-corruption team has notable experience in a wide range of investigations and regulatory compliance issues. It advises clients from heavily-regulated industries, such as telecoms, online services and cloud computing, banking and financial services, and data processing. Hong Kong-based managing partner Timothy Blakely leads the team which saw the arrival of B Chen Zhu who specialises in government and internal investigations and commercial litigation, as well as cross-border enforcement matters. Blakely and Zhu both have extensive experience in advising foreign firms on anti-corruption issues concerning operating in China.

Practice head(s):

Timothy Blakely

Other key lawyers:

B Chen Zhu; Gary Zeng

Testimonials

‘Morrison & Foerster has the great ability to unpack complex legal issues to “bite-size” pieces, and then provide pertinent advice on how to handle each piece. This is very efficient and effective, and client gets a better sense of “where we are going.” ’

‘Tim Blakely is amazingly reachable and always responds in a timely manner. He has great analytical skills and is a clear writer.’

Pinsent Masons

Pinsent Masons advises on compliance investigations, multilateral bank sanctions, compliance system management, import and export control and sanctions. Chinese SOEs counts as a major part of the firm's key clients, which the team recently advised a Chinese state-owned energy company on the establishment of a compliance guide, export control guide and sanction guide for its international development and operations, and represented a Chinese contractor in a state capture case. Feifei Zheng jointly leads the practice with London-based Neil McInnes (who previously led the firm's Asia Pacific white-collar crime team from its Singapore office) from its Beijing office, and has extensive experience advising international engineering corporations in China. Senior associate I-Ching Tseng is also a name to note.

Practice head(s):

Feifei Zheng; Neil McInnes

Other key lawyers:

I-Ching Tseng

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs is adept at handling corporate investigations, FCPA matters and the establishment of compliance structure for multinational companies with presence in China as well as major Chinese companies. Lindsay Zhu, a dual-qualified practitioner in the US and China, focuses on corporate governance auditing, international trade compliance and relevant corporate investigations. Zhu regularly teams up with the firm's trade team in the US to act for multinational and Chinese companies on export control compliance matters. Daniel F Roules specialises in FCPA-related regulatory and compliance matters and US-China policy advisory. Zhu and Roules jointly lead the practice.

Practice head(s):

Daniel F Roules ; Lindsay Zhu