TMT: foreign firms in China
Baker McKenzie FenXun
Baker McKenzie FenXun's fervent commitment to the TMT sector stretches across its Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong offices. The Greater China team is making an impression in tech infrastructure and the cloud, e-commerce, social media and gaming. The group covers both advisory and transactional matters, notably in digitalisation processes, automated vehicles, smart mobility (including MaaS programmes) and smart city initiatives. It is also active in advisory matters relating to China's new cybersecurity laws. Shanghai partner Howard Wu is noted for big-ticket M&A in the tech sector and Shanghai colleague Zhenyu Ruan has a rounded TMT practice, including a strong focus on cybersecurity and data privacy. Hong Kong's Paolo Sbuttoni provides further senior level expertise, including in cloud computing contracts, data privacy, and social media.
‘The team is excellent. They have a deep and comprehensive understanding of Chinese telecom laws and regulations and provide excellent advice on how to legally and effectively engage in the Chinese market.’
‘Zhenyu Ruan provides exceptional advice and counsel on telecoms related matters. He has a thorough and unusual understanding of the telecoms landscape and the associated laws and regulations which is critical to legally and competitively engaging in China. His advice is well thought out, salient, timely, and cost effective. He provides exceptional value add.’
Abercrombie & Fitch
Guangxi Digital Group
- Advised METRO, a leading retailer in China, on the establishment of a strategic partnership with Wumei Technology Group as part of a digital transformation process.
- Assisted Porsche China in formulating the entire set of contracts and legal documents to be used for its roll-out of a smart mobility initiative related to its sale of electric vehicles and the operation of e-charging services.
- Advised Costco on the setup and implementation of the payment solution linked with its membership cards for the China warehouses, along with agreements concerning issuance of co-branded bankcard and multi-channel payment solution with Ping An Bank.
Hogan Lovells has an established core team of genuine TMT specialists, largely located in Hong Kong though supported by colleagues in Beijing. The firm represents a number of major financial institutions in big-ticket TMT projects. It has landed a series of major technology collaboration agreement engagements from financial services clients. Fintech and data projects are also fortes for the firm. Mark Parsons leads the team in Hong Kong where Andrew McGinty is another senior corporate specialist with a TMT background. Beijing partner Sherry Gong has a fine record in TMT transactions and regulatory matters, including in the e-commerce, payment services and data privacy segments. Beijing based antitrust partner Adrian Emch is also active in the TMT segment.
The Hong Kong Association of Banks
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
- Advised HSBC Life on a technology collaboration agreement with CXA Group for the development of an employee benefits marketplace platform for HSBC’s employees and future corporate customers, to enable employees to access and purchase a range of health, wealth and wellness offerings.
- Advised Prudential in relation to its Asia-Pacific region technology collaboration agreement with Indian-based global technology service provider, Tech Mahindra.
- Advised the Hong Kong Association of Banks, the trade association representing Hong Kong banks, on preparing a common baseline for Phase II of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s Open API Framework.
Morrison & Foerster has a strong affiliation with TMT businesses and this continues to be true in Greater China, spread across its Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai offices. The China team has attracted engagements from a range of big-name Chinese and international TMT businesses, along with a large number of technology investors and start-ups. The firm works extensively in the fields of digital transformation and the development of proprietary technology. It frequently advises strategic investors on their investments in emerging technology businesses. It also has extensive experience in cybersecurity and data privacy. Gordon Milner leads the Asia TMT practice from Hong Kong. Shanghai partner Chuan Sun is regarded as a pure TMT lawyer and is highly rated for M&A and commercial matters. Hong Kong's Thomas Chou and Marcia Ellis are noted for private equity and venture capital investments in the technology sector. Beijing and Shanghai managing partner Paul McKenzie is another key figure.
‘I have used MoFo’s services in relation to technology agreements in China, and they are truly specialised in this field.’
‘Chuan Sun has very solid expertise in the commercial technology agreements field and not only does he provide commercial practical advice, he is also able to manage his team to learn our business and turn around contracts with speed and efficiency. His scope of expertise is impressive, ranging from hardware agreements, open source software, to on-premises and cloud services to privacy law related issues.’
Softbank Vision Fund
- Represented Roblox in its joint venture with Tencent to publish and operate the Roblox platform in China.
- Advised Alibaba Group Holding Limited in Alibaba’s acquisition of a 33% equity interest in Ant Financial, China’s leading financial services company.
- Advised Princeton Digital on the establishment of its new portfolio of data center facilities across Asia, including negotiating a 70% interest in a JV with Axiata XL to acquire and operate multiple data centers in Indonesia.
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP has demonstrated deep commitment to the TMT sector through its Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong offices. The sizeable TMT group has achieved prominence in each of the technology, media and telecoms sectors, including transactions and regulatory matters. Digitalisation is a core part of the practice and fintech is a particular forte of the firm in Greater China and globally. Its illustrious client base features major Chinese and global tech giants, leading tech investors, media heavyweights, travel tech businesses and China's top telecoms corporates. Managing partner of the Beijing and Shanghai offices Victor Ho is deeply embedded in the TMT sector, including fintech and travel tech; he led the team that advised TripAdvisor on its strategic joint venture with Ctrip to form TripAdvisor China. Hong Kong's Will McAuliffe has an outstanding record in corporate transactions in the TMT sector. Benjamin Crawford is an increasingly prominent TMT transactional figure in Beijing.
Other key lawyers:
21st Century Fox
- Advised TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, on its $100m strategic joint venture with Ctrip, a subsidiary of Nasdaq-listed Trip.com, and the largest online travel agency in the PRC, to form TripAdvisor China.
- Advised FIS Global on a number of transactions where it requires commercial and regulatory advice, such as how the company should respond to changes in Singapore’s data protection regulations.
- Advised Starbucks on a number of corporate and commercial matters, most of which involve managing a large amount of rich data and intellectual property.
Bird & Bird's senior Greater China TMT members are largely based in Hong Kong, with additional IP expertise in Shanghai through Christine Yiu. The firm itself is intensely focused on the TMT sector and this is evident in Greater China with its major engagements in data, data protection and privacy, and large-scale transactional and regulatory projects in the wider field, including in the IT and telecoms segments. Hong Kong partner Michelle Chan has deep experience in mainland China transactions and regulatory matters, including data protection, cybersecurity and licensing issues. Hong Kong counsel Clarice Yue provides additional data and data privacy expertise.
China Southern Airline
International Olympic Committee
Clifford Chance LLP has attracted an impressive number of Chinese tech-sector clients, notably advising frequently on cross-border acquisitions and investments, along with capital markets fund raisings. Private equity and venture capital investments in the TMT segment is a real forte for the Greater China team, while data privacy and AI regulation is another area of particular expertise. Beijing and Shanghai-based partner Terence Foo is noted for M&A and private equity transactions in the tech sector. Beijing and Shanghai partner Tim Wang is an experienced figure in capital markets transactions for Chinese TMT issuers, as is Liu Fang in Hong Kong. Shanghai partner Kelly Gregory has a strong record in private equity and venture capital investments in the tech and fintech segments.
Ping An Good Doctor
Ascentage Pharma Group International
Kai Tak Sports Park
- Advised Tencent Cloud Europe on its participation as co-lead investor in the €104m series C fundraising for Qonto, the French neobank specialised in online banking services for SMEs and freelancers.
- Advised Vanguard on its ground-breaking joint venture with Ant Financial to provide regulated retail investment advisory services in China.
- Advised XD Network on its $105m initial public offering and listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
CMS is at the forefront of the TMT sector globally and this emphasis is very much in evidence in China. The firm represents a range of international businesses, including many German corporates, on their China interests, including deals involving tech-centric enterprises or transactions that involve prominent TMT elements. Cybersecurity and data privacy is another forte for the China-based team. Beijing managing partner Nick Beckett is global co-head of life sciences and healthcare, and Asia Pacific head of IP. Shanghai partner Ulrike Glueck has been based in China for over 20 years and specialises in representing German and international businesses on their M&A and restructuring exercises in China, including many deals in the TMT sector.
O'Melveny has an established TMT-focused practice across its Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai offices. The team is well-integrated with offices on the West coast of the US, and has a particularly fine record in IT and media transactions, including Nasdaq and Hong Kong IPOs and M&A deals. Hong Kong's Li Han and Ke Zhu are experienced transactional lawyers with a solid background in TMT deals. Beijing managing partner Ke Geng plays a key role in the PRC, frequently advising Chinese businesses on IPOs, M&A and private equity investments; he and Li Han represented UP Fintech (Tiger Brokers) in its $104m IPO on Nasdaq.
Other key lawyers:
Guotai Junan Capital
City Cloud International
Essence International Capital
China Securities International
Blue Focus Intelligent Communications Group
Orange Grove Global
- Represented UP Fintech in its $104m IPO on Nasdaq.
- Advised Guotai Junan on its HK$507m IPO.
- Advised UP Fintech on its 100% equity acquisition of Marsco Investment.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has a global emphasis on technology and it has developed a team accordingly in Beijing and Shanghai; the firm closed its Hong Kong office in August 2020. It has attracted a series of big-name Chinese tech clients such as Baidu, JD.com and Tencent Technology. It also advises a range of private equity and venture capital investors on deals in the PRC. Cybersecurity and data privacy is another particular forte for the firm. Xiang Wang leads the Beijing IP practice and has a fine record in cybersecurity and data privacy. Beijing partner Jeff Zhang is noted for M&A and private equity investments in automotive technology and mobility, life sciences and fintech. Shanghai's Jeffrey Sun is also a key figure in technology M&A.
Beijing Xiaomi Technology
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group
- Advised Baidu on the Southeast Asia, US, UK, and EU privacy, intellectual property and consumer protection law issues it faces as it launches various products and applications worldwide including in Southeast Asia.
- Advised JD.com on a $931m Series A financing for its healthcare subsidiary, JD Health, with investors including CPEChina Fund, CICC Capital, and Baring Private Equity Asia, among others.
- Represented Toyota Motor in its $400m Series B investment into Pony.ai, the leading autonomous driving AI company based in Guangzhou, China.
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP has demonstrated a fervent commitment to the TMT sector in China for decades. It combines an impressive client base of Chinese TMT clients, along with a hugely enviable list of private equity investors. The Beijing team worked alongside colleagues in New York to advise key client General Atlantic and a consortium of investors on the proposed acquisition of 58.com, the China-based online classifieds marketplace; the deal values the company at some $8.7bn. Beijing partner Judie Ng Shortell has a virtually unrivalled record in private equity investments and M&A transactions involving PRC TMT businesses. Beijing partner Greg Liu is similarly highly reputed. Hong Kong's Betty Yap is also a leader in M&A and private equity deals in the TMT sector.
Other key lawyers:
AmTrust Financial Services Inc.
- Advised a consortium of investors including General Atlantic, Warburg Pincus, Ocean Link Partners and the 58.com CEO and chairman Jinbo Yao, on its proposed acquisition of 58.com, the China-based online classifieds marketplace.
- Represented KKR in its investment in and launch of Cue & Co, the first one-stop digital marketing company primarily aimed at the Chinese market.
- Advised Tencent on its financing in Zhuan Zhuan, a China-based used-goods trading platform operated by 58.com, China’s largest online marketplace for classifieds.
DLA Piper has a wide ranging practice with regular complex engagements in digital transformation projects through to data privacy and protection. The team represents a range of multinationals, high growth technology businesses, and a number of Chinese enterprises. Hong Kong partner and department head Scott Thiel, has a computer sciences background, and is noted for IT and outsourcing projects; he recently advised Morningstar on a major outsourcing and commercial partnership agreement with BNP Paribas. Carolyn Bigg was made partner in May 2019 and is an experienced data privacy and protection expert.
Other key lawyers:
Ping An Technology (Shenzhen) and various Ping An subsidiaries (including One Connect Financial Technology)
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has extensive specialist TMT expertise based across the Asia Pacific region with of counsel James Gong in Beijing, working alongside key colleagues such as Hong Kong senior counsel Sheena Loi and Singapore partner Mark Robinson. Its wide-ranging practice includes top-end engagements in the telecoms, e-commerce, AI, fintech, digital banking and blockchain fields. The firm also represents a number of Chinese TMT businesses in cross-border transactions and capital markets offerings in Hong Kong especially.
Bytedance Ltd. (TikTok)
Standard Chartered Bank
Sun Art Retail
HGC Global Communications
Dentsu (previously known as Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN))
SML Group Holdings Limited
- Advised Bytedance on its regulatory issues in the region, in particular in Thailand with respect to regulatory requirements on its business licensing and data privacy issues relating to their business offerings.
- Advised ICBC (Asia) on its joint venture with Tencent, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, Hillhouse Capital, and Hong Kong entrepreneur Adrian Cheng, for one of Hong Kong’s new digital banks, branded Fusion Bank.
- Advised one of China’s leading AI-based mobile app developers and mobile advertising platform services providers, NewBorn Town, on its IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Latham & Watkins LLP has demonstrated a genuine commitment to the TMT sector in Greater China and globally. The Greater China team has amassed extensive experience in commercial transactions, data privacy and cybersecurity, M&A and growth capital investment, and fintech. Hong Kong corporate partner Frank Sun has a significant focus on the TMT sector, including a number of Chinese tech businesses and private equity investors. Associate Kieran Donovan has been a key figure in many of the firm's headline engagements.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team has rich experience in internet enterprise M&A, venture capital investment and financing transactions. The group understands business logic, identifies the key risks from the perspective of customers, and gives practical and effective legal advice.’
‘Frank Sun has a good knowledge of the TMT industry, is professional, patient, and careful. He provides services in a timely manner, no matter when and where, and he has a strong understanding of business logic. He can provide practical and effective legal advice to advance the negotiation process and a successful transaction.’
Insight Fintech HK
- Advised Tencent on the international launch of VooV Meeting, which involves advice on regulatory licensing and data privacy issues from over 160 jurisdictions.
- Advised a buyer consortium led by Tencent and Hammer Capital on Bitauto’s $1.1bn privatization and advised Tencent on consequential mandatory general offer for Yixin.
- Advised Carlyle Asia Investment Advisors on the privatization of Hong Kong-listed Asia Satellite Telecommunication by a joint venture vehicle jointly and indirectly owned by Carlyle Asia Investment Advisors and CITIC Group Corporation.
Linklaters' China TMT practice is led by Niranjan Arasaratnam in Singapore and Alex Bidlake in Hong Kong. The firm has extensive experience in fintech, data privacy and cybersecurity matters. It is also making an impression in e-mobility and electric vehicles (EVs). The firm benefits from its joint operation with Zhao Sheng Law Firm. Shanghai partner John Xu is an experienced figure in acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity investments and collaboration arrangements in the TMT sector; this includes advising Suning.com on its acquisition of an 80% share in Carrefour China. Shanghai counsel Alex Roberts is another key member of the tech sector group. Former partner Simon Meng has joined MGM China.
‘The team’s cooperation between the Chinese and overseas teams is very tacit, with deep legal knowledge and deep business insights.’
‘In depth understanding of international TMT practices and has real commercial acumen.’
‘Alex Roberts keeps up with the new regulatory guidelines. This is extremely valuable especially in the context of cyber security and data security laws in the PRC.’
‘Alex Roberts has in depth knowledge and a commercial understanding.’
‘John Xu has rich experience and often gives very constructive opinions in line with China’s actual conditions.’
Sichuan Shuangma Cement
MGI Tech Co
Jardine Technologies Holdings
Privé Services Ltd
- Acted for Suning.com on the acquisition of 80% shares in Carrefour China through Suning International Group.
- Advised Sichuan Shuangma Cement and Henan Hexie Jinyu Investment Fund on their investment in Swiss Education Group Holding.
- Advised Jardine Technologies Holdings on the employment and pensions aspects of the sale of Jardine One Solutions IT business to Hong Kong Broadband Network.
Mayer Brown's team is primarily located in Hong Kong where it operates at the forefront of a number of burgeoning TMT segments, notably artificial intelligence (AI), biometrics, data analytics, mobile payment solutions and smart banking initiatives, and data privacy and cybersecurity. Gabriela Kennedy leads the Asia IP and TMT group, which includes Amita Haylock, who was promoted to partner in January 2020. Counsel Karen Lee is noted for technology procurement, data privacy and cybersecurity.
‘Good reputation and strong international clientele.’
‘Gabriela Kennedy’s reputation in the area is top-notch, bringing tremendous experience having worked with many large multinational clients in the area.’
Alibaba (including AliCloud, Youku, AG Tech)
Airport Authority Hong Kong
Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Hong Kong
eBay / StubHub
LVMH Asia Pacific
Toys “R” Us
WTT Hong Kong
Xperi Corporation (DTS)
Norton Rose Fulbright is a recognised leader in data protection, cyber breaches and compliance, and fintech. It represents some of the biggest regional and international names that operate in Asia Pacific. It has deep specialist TMT expertise within the team and has advised big-name clients on a series of major data breaches and data protection matters. Anna Gamvros is a prominent specialist in data protection, data privacy and cybersecurity, while having considerable experience in broader commercial and regulatory TMT matters. Etelka Bogardi is an established name in fintech and global payments, while insurance partner Declan McDaid is another key figure in cyber/data breach response engagements. Former key Beijing partner Barbara Li has joined Rui Bai Law Firm.
Paul Hastings LLP
Paul Hastings LLP has a rich heritage in technology sector M&A, investments and joint ventures. The China-based team represents a range of tech businesses, private equity houses and venture capital investors. Media and entertainment is another forte for the group. Shanghai's David Wang has represented a number of big-name PRC businesses and international investors in tech-related deals. Shanghai partner Jia Yan is also at the forefront of technology M&A.
‘The Paul Hastings team has extensive experience in data and technology, especially in regulatory investigations and compliance.’
Fosun Tourism Group
City Football Group Limited
Universal Studios Beijing
China Media Capital
ICBC Asset Management
Fujian Grand Chip
- Represented City Football Group Limited in the RMB40m co-investment, with two PRC institutional investors, in a PRC football club in Chengdu.
- Represented Phoenix Media Investment, a Hong Kong-listed Chinese television network provider, and Phoenix New Media, a New York Stock Exchange-listed new media company, on the $448m sale of 30.60% equity interest of Particle.
- Advised Hashglobal in relation to its formation of a US dollar private equity fund focusing on investment in blockchain technologies.
Simmons & Simmons
Simmons & Simmons has developed a unique TMT practice with a significant focus on the Shenzen market. Jingyuan Shi leads the Shenzen office and is head of the TMT practice in Greater China. The group is noted for start-up and early-stage growth company work, including fintech businesses and the burgeoning area of tradetech (such as electronic trade and payment platforms). It also advises more mature businesses, including unicorns, along with a range if international investors that have interests in the Chinese market. It has a depth of experience in data compliance, data privacy and cybersecurity projects. Beijing partner George Chan provides additional IP expertise
HNA Technology Investments