Tax: foreign firms in China

Baker McKenzie FenXun

Maintaining an experienced tax practice in mainland China for over 25 years, Baker McKenzie FenXun is highly rated for its assistance to multinational companies with tax planning-related M&A; the establishment of new business presences, supply chain structuring and management; tax-efficient financing; tax compliance; and audits and other tax controversies. The practice has particular strengths in relation to direct tax, transfer pricing, customs, personal tax, and indirect taxes (including VAT). Notable work for the firm's China transfer pricing group includes its planning and documentation studies for multinationals in the retail, technology, consumer electronics, chemicals, semiconductors and fashion sectors. Shanghai-based Brendan Kelly, who specialises in advising cross-border clients on the tax implications of investments in China, heads the China tax practice, which also fields experienced partner Nancy Lai, who acts for both international and domestic companies. On the FenXun Partners side, Beijing's Jason Wen and Abe Zhao are experienced international tax directors, and Jinghua Liu is a senior tax counsel.

Practice head(s):

Brendan Kelly

Other key lawyers:

Nancy Lai; Jason Wen; Abe Zhao; Jinghua Liu; Luis Zhang

Key clients

Symantec Corporation

Work highlights

  • Provided Symantec Corporation with tax advice, in relation to the sale of its enterprise security business to Broadcom, which involved over 40 jurisdictions.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's highly integrated Hong Kong and China team advises on a wide range of international and domestic tax issues, from corporate and individual tax planning to dispute resolution. It has extensive experience in structuring inbound and outbound investments; M&A-tax matters, including post-acquisition integrations; supply chain management; business process review; and distribution, retail and after sales services. In relation to transfer pricing, the team works closely with the firm's US tax group, as well as its transfer pricing teams and economists in Europe. The firm has also recently expanded a number of its other specialised tax practices, such as executive compensation, private banking and personal tax planning, among others. In addition, the practice has strengthened its tax capabilities in relation to high-net-worth (HNW) individuals and outbound investments, including advising on cross-border tax planning and offshore trusts. China tax head Windson Li is a China tax and transfer pricing specialist.

Practice head(s):

Windson Li

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Chan; Peng Tao; Doris Ho


They respond quickly to legal issues and know how to provide tailor-made services for clients.

Our lead partner was able to understand the problem and work with other DLA colleagues in multiple jurisdictions to develop a strategy that met our needs in all jurisdictions.

The team is well versed in Chinese technical tax issues, but also understands the perspectives of a multinational company, and is able to understand multiple facets of an issue. Additionally, the team I have worked with is fluent in English and very accessible and easy to communicate with.

Windson Li and his staff have provided excellent compliance and planning advice, including joint venture work, and the customer service is always exceptional. Having worked with other law firms over the years, DLA exceeds my expectations.

Windson Li is one of my top tax lawyers – solid advice and great client service.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.

At France-headquartered firm Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I., the China tax practice has a significant strong track record in transaction-related tax advice. Its scope of practice covers the tax aspects of group reorganisations, M&A tax planning and structuring, joint ventures and major projects, and financing. Other key areas include business establishment and operations, tax compliance, transfer pricing, tax audits and disputes, and individual income taxation. Although traditionally known for advising predominantly French clients, the practice's client base has evolved to cover both Fortune 500 companies and large European multinational groups, which are active in a range of sectors, including automotive, construction, engineering, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, energy and utilities, and media and advertising. Beijing office head and PRC taxation and accounting specialist, Min Guo, leads the firm's China tax practice. Guo is also an expert in structuring the tax aspects of company reorganisations, international tax, customs law and foreign exchange controls.

Practice head(s):

Min Guo


Min Guo is very practical and always business oriented.

Key clients

Agence Française de Développement

Aluminum Corporation of China











Work highlights

  • Advised GANT (MF Brands) on the tax planning and structuring of its acquisition of a distribution network from its distributor and long-term partner, Longgoal.


CMS' China team is well known for its extensive experience in handling cross-border tax-related matters in a range of sectors, such as automotive, manufacturing, life sciences, consumer products, finance, insurance and energy, among others. In relation to their most significant transactions in Europe, China and Hong Kong, clients also benefit from the firm operating from over 70 offices in 40-plus countries. In Shanghai, counsel and China tax head Gilbert Shen is particularly experienced in tax matters that concern the establishment of efficient holding structures; company mergers and restructurings; profit repatriation schemes; investment exit strategies; cross-border transactions; and tax due diligence. Partner-level support is provided by Nicolas Zhu.

Practice head(s):

Nicolas Zhu; Gilbert Shen


At Iberian law firm Garrigues, China tax practice head Diego D’Alma is an expert in the internationalisation of companies and the international mobility of executives and entrepreneurs. D'Alma divides his time between the firm's offices in Shanghai and Beijing, and is particularly experienced in the international tax implications of foreign investments in China. Cynthia Zhou is an associate in the tax department, who has extensive experience in individual and corporate taxation, customs and foreign exchange matters, and compliance.

Practice head(s):

Diego D’Alma

Other key lawyers:

Cynthia Zhou

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Hogan Lovells International LLP's tax practice in China specialises in tax structuring work for foreign clients that enter into and operate in mainland China. It is particularly well known for acting for education sector clients, but has grown its client base to include the financial institutions, energy and natural resources, retail, and travel and leisure industries. Shanghai-based Roberta Chang acts on complex, high-stakes international taxation matters, including the development of sophisticated tax strategies for international operations and transactions.

Practice head(s):

Roberta Chang


Cuatrecasas' China tax practice advises Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American companies on their investments in China. It also assists Chinese companies with the tax aspects of their investments in Europe, Latin America, and Africa, and has expertise in the automotive, industrial engineering, chemicals and life sciences sectors. Senior associate Grace Lin  heads the tax practice in Shanghai.

Practice head(s):

Grace Lin

Key clients



Genomica – Pharma Mar Group

Mondragon Assembly

Fagor Ederlan


Tecam Solucinoes


AS Distribution

Work highlights

  • Advised SEAT on group tax structuring aspects within the group and on planning China-related assignments.
  • Advised Iberia on the tax aspects of its business operations in China.
  • Advised Mondragon Assembly on the tax aspects of its daily operations in China, investment activities and intra-group transactions.

Jones Day

Jones Day's Beijing-based of counsel Fuli Cao has over 20 years experience in international tax practice, with a particular focus on the tax aspects of international transactions that involve China, as well as other countries and regions. His tax practice includes acting on inbound and outbound China investments, M&A, reorganisations and restructuring, and tax disputes.

Other key lawyers:

Fuli Cao