TMT: foreign firms in China
Baker McKenzie FenXun has 'a rare combination of intimate knowledge of the local landscape with an international mindset'. The TMT group acts for both users and producers of technology, including technology and outsourcing service providers, e-commerce, media, entertainment and telecommunications companies, computer hardware and software providers, banks, insurance companies and manufacturers. Corporate partner Howard Wu sits in Shanghai and jointly leads the group with Hong Kong-based Nancy Leigh who counsels on regulatory and contractual issues relating to the provision of voice and data, Internet and e-commerce, cloud computing and SaaS agreements. Zhenyu Ruan is also a name to note in Shanghai while Paolo Sbuttoni sits in Hong Kong.
Howard Wu; Nancy Leigh
‘The firm is in a unique position to advise on both local and international law, which is helpful for MNCs with China business’.
‘The TMT team is responsive, knowledgeable and pragmatic’.
‘Provided technically sound advice together with practical business solutions’.
China Eastern Airlines
- Advised Tencent on the establishment of the joint venture, Infinium, and the application for a virtual banking licence, which was approved by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
- Assisting China Eastern Airlines with the formulation and implementation of its GDPR compliance program and on China Cybersecurity Law and data protection matters.
- Advised Ctrip on its $10m note investment in a US technology start-up that designs and manufacturers supersonic aircrafts.
Hogan Lovells regularly advises on local, inbound, outbound, cross-border and multi-jurisdictional transactions for Chinese institutions expanding globally or international clients engaging in Greater China. In recent highlights, the team is active in the fintech space where it has been acting in stored value, e-money, peer-to-peer lending and data analytics matters for retailers and content providers seeking to implement online, mobile distribution or digital marketing. Eugene Low is an intellectual property partner based in Hong Kong who works in close cooperation with Beijing-based antitrust specialist Adrian Emch, new private equity group head Stephanie Tang who recently joined in Hong Kong from Shearman & Sterling, and associate Wensheng Ren. Andrew McGinty and Mark Parsons jointly lead the practice from the Hong Kong office.
Mark Parsons; Andrew McGinty
China Telecom Global
- Advised Tencent on a number of initiatives, including Wechat Wallet, Tencent’s stored value and payments product, and Tencent Cloud, Tencent’s cloud computing arm.
- Maintains a global retainer with CTG in relation to commercial, regulatory, employment, intellectual property and disputes work.
The dedicated offering at Morrison & Foerster advises on the development, establishment and roll‑out of proprietary technologies and platforms both for regional players and for global players. Combined with the firm's well-known private equity and venture capital expertise, the practice has the capabilities to act for leading investors and start-ups with regards to various regulatory issues. Hong Kong-based Gordon Milner heads the firm's Asia technology practice and is supported in China by Chuan Sun and Paul McKenzie who manages the Beijing and Shanghai offices. Also notable in Hong Kong are Marcia Ellis and Thomas Chou who jointly lead the private equity practice.
‘Chuan Sun has a wealth of knowledge on his clients’ existing products and services offerings and a good understanding of what terms they are or are not willing to accept. This helps tremendously with contract negotiations.’
‘Chuan Sun has extensive experience in the technology space. Many other competitor firms in the technology space are not really pure IT lawyers, as they are more focus on privacy and trade marks or other related fields, as opposed to technology contracts such as SAP or Microsoft software license agreements. A normal general commercial lawyer would not be able to identify the same issues or raise the right questions, as they are not equipped with the technology know-how of the products and services, their benefits, and general industry standard terms and trending patterns in the market.’
SoftBank Vision Fund
The Dairy Farm Group
- Advised Alibaba Group Holding Limited in Alibaba’s acquisition of a 33% equity interest in Ant Financial, China’s leading financial services company.
- Acted for Softbank Vision Fund in connection with an investment as part of a $3bn investment by Softbank and the SoftBank Vision Fund into Local Services Holding Company.
- Assisted SoftBank Vision Fund with an investment totalling $1.5bn in Chehaoduo.
- Advised Alibaba Group in relation to Ant Financial’s most recent $14bn Series C fundraising, valuing Ant Financial at approximately $150bn.
- Advised SoftBank Vision Fund as lead investor on the combined $1bn financing in OYO Rooms, India’s leading hospitality business, to expand current operations in India and launch new operations in China.
Allen & Overy
Allen & Overy's practice covers the full gamut of work in the technology, media and telecoms sector, with a particular expertise in fintech where it advises start-ups and major players on cybersecurity, cryptocurrency, AI, data acquisition, big data analytics, cross-border payments, ICOs, token exchanges, virtual currency issues and blockchain issues. Will McAuliffe heads the firm's corporate team in Hong Kong and spearheads the Asian TMT group. Victor Ho is based in Beijing and is also a key name to note alongside counsel Benjamin Crawford.
Will McAuliffe; Victor Ho
21st Century Fox
- Advised Thomson Reuters on the sale of a majority stake in its financial and risk business to private equity firm Blackstone Group.
- Acted for 21st Century Fox in its $71bn acquisition by The Walt Disney Company.
- Acted for Starbucks Corporation on a strategic cooperation with the Alibaba Group aimed at enhancing Starbucks’ digital experience and building Starbucks’ online presence, delivery capabilities and customer base and network in the PRC, while utilizing various online platforms operated by and services offered by the Alibaba Group (including Tmall, Taobao, Ali Pay, Hema and Ele.me).
- Advised FIS on the on-going sale of its subsidiary, Sungard Kingstar Data Systems (a large Chinese software company), to Zhongping Capital.
- Acted for Clear Channel on its commercial and compliance work, such as compliance with the Hong Kong listing rules.
Bird & Bird provides a full service of corporate TMT services, including M&A transactions, joint ventures, and venture capital financing, predominantly as inbound work from foreign clients. The team handles a range of commercial, dispute, and regulatory matters relating to TMT, and has expertise in data protection concerning both GDPR and China's cyber-security law. The team has a growing offering in the cloud, AI and robotics. Christine Yiu, who has extensive experience in IP, heads the team, along with Hong Kong-based Michelle Chan and Clarice Yue.
Michelle Chan; Clarice Yue; Christine Yu
‘Provides accurate, insightful and business-focused solutions’.
- Advised Riot Games on a partnership with Nike.
CMS advises clients in the telecoms, technology, media, network and IT infrastructure sector in mandates pertaining to internet and e-commerce law as well as data protection and cybersecurity issues. Ulrike Glueck spearheads the Shanghai office, the regional corporate group and the firm's TMC sector group; she regularly advises German and international companies on M&A transactions and restructuring projects in China. Also notable is Beijing's Nick Beckett who specialises in IP and commercial dispute resolution.
‘CMS team has an excellent problem-solving approach. Its experts focus on client circumstances in order to provide a tailor-made legal solution.’
‘Ulrike Glueck is one of the best lawyers in the region. She is an excellent legal technician and has huge experience in the Chinese territory.’
Elmos Semiconductor AG
Dentsu Aegis Network
Covington & Burling LLP
Covington & Burling LLP focuses on the entertainment industry, with expertise in the film industry, television, sports, and licensing and merchandise. Other facets of its practice include advising technology companies on outbound M&A and venture capital investments; advice on EU and US data protection law and Chinese cyber-security law; anti-corruption investigations and compliance advice; and IP work for TMT clients. The practice is jointly led by Shanghai-based Jason Goldberg and Eric Carlson. Of counsel Yan Luo is another name to note who advises on a broad range of regulatory matters involving data protection and cyber-security.
Jason Goldberg; Eric Carlson
Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp. Ltd.
- Advised Microsoft on setting standards and developing policies on AI.
Mayer Brown covers the full range of TMT services including technology outsourcing, data privacy, domain names, media regulations, dispute resolution and telecoms. Led by Gabriela Kennedy out of the Hong Kong office, the team boasts a diverse client roster spanning virtually every industry sector and including several technology start-ups, as well as leading international corporates. Newly promoted counsel Karen Lee has recently been advising on fintech, AI, biometrics and the procurement of critical IT solutions for major financial institutions, leading airlines and other multi-national companies.
Other key lawyers:
Alibaba (including AliCloud, Youku, AG Tech)
Airport Authority Hong Kong
Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Hong Kong Limited
eBay / StubHub
Jardine Matheson & Company Ltd / DairyFarm
LVMH Asia Pacific
Television Broadcasts Limited
Toys “R” Us
WTT Hong Kong Limited
Xperi Corporation (DTS, Inc)
- Advised several luxury brands, retailers and property developers on mobile payment deals.
- Acted for an international financial institution in relation to a complex data privacy and data security project spanning 14 APAC jurisdictions.
- Advising a global financial investment management and insurance company on legal issues in relation to the dissemination of information to consumers through WeChat.
- Assisted Alibaba Pictures Group Limited with the issuance of one billion new shares to its controlling shareholder, Alibaba Group, subject to independent shareholders’ approval.
- Representing Ninestar and Static Control Components REGARDING A complaint filed by Canon with the US International Trade Commission claiming the violation of some of its patents.
The TMT practice at Norton Rose Fulbright consists of technology, cybersecurity, fintech, M&A, regulatory, IP and dispute resolution specialists. Corporate partner Barbara Li spearheads the fintech team out of the Beijing office; she specialises in China-related cross-border transactions including foreign direct investment, M&A, joint ventures, major projects, commercial contracting and complicated regulatory matters. Also notable is associate Bohua Yao who also sits in Beijing. The firm's data privacy team is particularly strong, with a solid advisory practice in both inbound work relating to domestic privacy laws, as well as outbound work for asia-based clients on issues such as GDPR.
Other key lawyers:
‘The Beijing team has extensive experience in the TMT industry, especially for serving foreign companies, not only to providing comprehensive legal advice, but also having a deep understanding of the business characteristics and corporate management of foreign companies‘.
‘Barbara Li has many unique insights in the field of TMT and data security compliance. She has a sensitive sense of the rapid development of Chinese law in relevant fields, including legislative trends, as well as practical treatment of legal issues‘.
‘Barbara has a deep understanding of the characteristics of foreign companies doing business in China, and is able to contribute to the business development of foreign companies as well as legal advice‘.
Armada Holdings Limited
- Advised the Web 3.0 Technologies Foundation in relation to several follow-on issues arising from an ICO that raised $153m in 2017.
O'Melveny advises on complex transactions, including investment, listing and M&A. In addition to traditional companies, the practice also advises start-ups and private equity and venture capital firms focusing their investment in technology start-ups. The team is headed by Walker Wallace, who has extensive experience in international transactions and Ke Geng, who advises on private equity and venture capital financing, and by Nima Amini and Li Han, both Hong Kong-based. Highlights include advising TTM Technologies, a global printed circuit board manufacturer, on its acquisition of Anaren for $775m.
Walker Wallace; Ke Geng; Nima Amini; Li Han
ATAI Management Consortium
China Securities (International) Corporate Finance Company Limited
LinkSure Literature Holding Limited
- Advised the ATAI management consortium in the $200m leveraged acquisition of ATA Online (Beijing) Education Technology Co., Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of ATA Inc.
- Acted for China Securities (International) Corporate Finance Company Limited in the IPO and listing of Digital Hollywood Interactive Limited on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
- Advised LinkSure Literature Holding Limited, a mobile platform for online publications, in its $50m Series A financing,
- Assisted TTM Technologies, Inc., a printed circuit board manufacturer, with its definitive agreement to acquire Anaren, Inc. for $775m in cash from affiliates of Veritas Capital.
- Advised Fenix technologies, which manufactures refinery technology, on its initial round of equity financing which valued the company at $3bn on a pre-money basis.
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP's client roster features Tencent, Didi Chuxing, SoftBank, KKR, and NBA which the group advises on high-profile transactions in the TMT sector in China and internationally, particularly those involving private equity. Greg Liu and Judie Ng Shortell are both experts in the private equity investments and M&A space and jointly spearhead the practice from Beijing. In Hong Kong, Edwin Chan was recently promoted to counsel. Former practice head Jeanette Chan departed the firm for an in-house position at Airwallex.
Greg Liu; Judie Ng Shortell
Other key lawyers:
‘Excellent ability to control transactions and understanding of client’s requirements‘.
‘Able to grasp the rhythm of transactions, and understands client’s needs‘.
‘Judie Ng-Shortell is excellent, and has excellent communication skills‘.
Dalian Wanda Group
State Grid Corporation
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
Universal Parks & Resorts
- Advised SoftBank Vision Fund in its investment in Chinese truck-hailing company Full Truck Alliance.
- Advised China-based investment management firm, Hony Capital, along with TPG Growth, in its more than $100m equity financing round in STX Entertainment, a film development, production and distribution company.
- Assisted Chinese internet giant Tencent with the acquisition of an 80% stake in Grinding Gear Games, the New Zealand-based gaming company that developed the popular online role-playing game Path of Exile.
- Advised KKR and Tencent in a $175m minority investment in Voyager Innovations, the financial technology arm of PLDT Inc, a Philippines-based telecommunications and digital services provider.
- Acted for Hillhouse Capital, alongside Permira, a global private equity firm, in the $1.68bn sale of Magento Commerce, a global provider in cloud digital commerce innovation to Adobe.
The team at Clifford Chance primarily acts on transactional and capital markets mandates for TMT sector clients and others looking to invest in the sector. The firm is particularly experience in advising on the IPOs of Chinese tech companies, as well as large financing rounds of startups, often acting for the joint sponsors and underwriters in the former, or large foreign investors in the latter. The firm's outbound practice also covers large Chinese investments in foreign tech companies. Key lawyers within the team include Tim Wang and Terence Foo, who split their time between Beijing and Shanghai, Beijing based Kelly Gregory, Hong Kong-based Ling Ho, and Liu Fang, who sits in both Hong Kong and Beijing.
‘Always respond in a timely manner‘.
China Literature Limited
China Tower Corporation Limited
Ctrip.com International Ltd
Didi Chuxing Technology Co., Ltd
Huifu Payment Ltd
iDreamsky Technology Limited
Ping An Good Doctor
Tsinghua Unigroup Co Ltd
- Advised the joint sponsors and underwriters including China International Capital Corporation and Goldman Sachs on telecommunications infrastructure provider China Tower’s $6.9bn IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
- Advised Ping An Good Doctor, a well-known market player in the PRC online healthcare industry, on the establishment of a new joint venture with Grab, a Singapore-based company mainly offering ride-hailing transport services.
- Advised Tencent Holdings Limited on the $90m fund-raising of Nubank, the leading financial technology company in Latin America.
DLA Piper works on TMT matters across sectors including logistics and supply chain management, software, transport, telecoms, and consumer goods. The practice handles work including fintech and e-payment, data privacy and data storage, management of cyber incidents and strategic joint ventures between international technology companies and Chinese partners. The firm is instructed for both inbound and outbound work, drawing on its wide-ranging international presence. Hong Kong-based Scott Thiel heads the team, and Carolyn Bigg is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is recommended for its experience in TMT transactions, including joint ventures, private equity investments, and outsourcings. The firm is also recommended for ICT procurement, including white-label agreements and cloud-based software licensing. The team collaborates with other departments in the firm, advising TMT clients on disputes, competition law, and regulatory issues. Beijing-based Karen Ip heads the team and is particularly recommended for transactional work.
‘The team understands the commercial issues, and is able to craft out solutions that are easy to implement’.
Bank of China
Sun Art Retail
Standard Chartered Bank
Latham & Watkins LLP advises clients in the e-commerce, fintech, AI and entertainment sectors. The practice handles matters including M&A transactions; commercial contracts; private equity; IP and software licensing; data protection; outsourcing and telecoms technology. Frank Sun and Lex Kuo head the team. Highlights include acting as Primavera Capital Limited's lead counsel in its investment in Bytedance Ltd., a Chinese Internet technology company operating several machine learning-enabled content platforms.
Frank Sun; Lex Kuo
Tencent Holdings Limited
Vipshop Holdings Limited
Trax Technology Solutions Pte Ltd
- Advised Tencent on its co-financing and co-distribution transaction for various global films, such as Wonder Woman and Bumblebee.
- Advised on a strategic partnership between L Catterton Asia, and JD.com with Secoo Holding, a China-based operator of an integrated online and offline shopping platform.
- Acted as lead counsel to Primavera Capital Group in its investment in Bytedance Ltd., a Chinese Internet technology company operating several machine learning-enabled content platforms, by way of subscription of Series E preferred stock.
- Advised JD Digits on its joint venture with Bank of China, to establish a virtual bank; the virtual bank’s application to the HKMA for a virtual banking licence; and JD Digits’ application to obtain a money services licence to develop a licensed e-payments platform in Hong Kong.
- Advised underwriters on the IPO of 42,000,000 American depositary shares (ADS) of Bilibili, an online entertainment company, on NASDAQ Global Select Market.
The TMT team at Linklaters is active across all aspects of commercial, corporate, and regulatory work, and aims to provide clients operating in the TMT sector with a one-stop shop for legal advice. The firm is also particularly specialised in the e-mobility space, acting for both automotive companies and financial institutions. The practice is headed by Simon Meng in Shanghai, and Alex Bidlake in Hong Kong, while in the same office Robert Cleaver is highly recommended for transactional matters.
Chongqing Sokon Industry Group Co., Ltd
Och-Ziff Capital Management Hong Kong Limited
China International Capital Corporation
ENGIE China Invest Company
Prive Services Ltd
- Advising Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC and Merrill Lynch Far East Limited as joint sponsors to the proposed Hong Kong listing of Hutchison China MediTech Limited (Chi-Med).
- Advised China International Capital Corporation Hong Kong Securities Limited as financial advisor to GTA Semiconductor Co., Ltd. on the proposed privatisation of Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation Limited by way of merger by absorption.
- Advised the French and Chinese teams of ENGIE China Invest Company in respect of the electrical car charging infrastructure operated by one of the company’s Chinese joint ventures, which seeks to provide an easy-to-use and cost-effective EV charging management solution.
- Advised NASDAQ on the regulatory impact of certain PRC broker association rules on its data distribution arrangements with international and Chinese data providers.
Paul Hastings LLP
Paul Hastings LLP's corporate partner David Wang advises key TMT clients such as SoftBank Vision Fund and Ping An; Wang jointly leads the China practice with Jia Yan and Beijing-based Meka Meng who sits in Beijing. The team fields a particularly strong corporate offering which covers the full gamut of transactions, from real estate acquisitions to restructuring and investments for clients operating primarily in the technology, media, entertainment and telecoms sectors. In Shanghai, Sophie Han was recently promoted to counsel.
David Wang; Jia Yan; Meka Meng
Other key lawyers:
Universal Studios Beijing
China Media Capital
Fujian Grand Chip
Fosun Tourism Group (Fosun Holdings)
ICBC Asset Management
Hujiang Education & Technology
City Football Group Limited
- Advised Deutsche Securities Asia Limited and Haitong International Capital Limited as joint sponsors on the HK$756m global offering (IPO) and listing on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange by Weimob Inc.
- Acted for Fosun Tourism Group, one of the world’s leading leisure-focused integrated tourism groups, on its spin-off from Fosun International, its $428m global offering and IPO on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
- Advised Golden Fortune as investor and ICBC Asset Management (Global) as investment manager on the investor’s $75m investment in the convertible note financing of Uxin, the largest used car e-commerce platform in China.
- Acted for CDH Genetech, part of the CDH Investments group, on its $1.4bn acquisition of all the issued shares of Sirtex Medical, an Australian medical device company, via Scheme of Arrangement.
- Advised Hujiang in its proposed initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Simmons & Simmons' greater China team handles matters including a full range of transactional, corporate and commercial concerns; fintech and e-payment systems; and data protection, particularly for Shenzhen-based technology companies. In addition to technology, media and telecoms companies, the practice acts for banks, venture and private equity capitalists, industry bodies, regulators and governments in TMT-related matters. Practice head Jingyuan Shi advises on corporate transactions and general regulatory matters. Beijing-based IP specialist George Chan is also recommended. Shanghai-based May Lu advises on TMT-related employment cases.
KYC Chain Limited
HNA Technology Investments Holdings Limited
i-Cable Communications Limited
Melco Crown Entertainment Limited