Antitrust and competition in Hong Kong

Baker McKenzie

Through its partnership with FenXun Partners at the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, Baker McKenzie is able to provide seamless PRC legal advice and interacts directly with the PRC regulatory body. It regularly advises top international blue-chip clients on cross-border competition matters, including merger control, cartel and anti-trust compliance work, and litigation. The firm employs innovative technologies such as its Global Dawn Raid App and Global Merger Analysis Platform as part of its competition offering.  Stephen Crosswell is chair of the APAC antitrust and competition group and head of the Greater China practice; he counts think tanks, governments and multinational businesses among his clientele; and brings over 25 years’ experience in competition trials, dawn raids, leniency applications and multijurisdictional cartel matters. Special counsel Thomas Jenkins handles competition matters across Hong Kong, China and the greater Asia-Pacific region.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Crosswell

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Jenkins

Testimonials

‘In-depth knowledge of local market combined with extensive international experience’.

‘Strong awareness of local issues and sensitivities’.

‘The whole team is very easy to collaborate with and the firm uses technology to good effect’.

‘Provides a wide range of useful and relevant updates on emerging issues’.

‘Stephen Crosswell is incredibly knowledgeable and experienced and uses his knowledge and experience to really get stuck into issues and propose solutions’.

‘Great team, very easy to talk to, and quick response time’.

Key clients

Archer-Daniels-Midland Company

British Telecom (BT)

City Garden Hotel Limited

Daimler AG

Kühne+Nagel International AG

Nuvoton Technology Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised on all aspects of BT’s defence, from the dawn raid through to the Competition Tribunal proceedings, in the first competition case to be run in Hong Kong.
  • Advising City Garden Hotel in relation to Hong Kong Competition Commission Investigation EC 0271 into the pricing and sales of tickets for tourist attractions in Hong Kong.
  • Advised Nuvoton and its parent company Winbond Electronics Corporation in respect of China merger control filings on its acquisition of certain semiconductor business lines from Panasonic.

Gibson Dunn

Gibson Dunn is ‘characterised by the personal attention of the partners on matters‘. The team handles a high number of mandates across South East Asia and is well versed in contentious matters acting for clients from the initial investigation stage through to enforcement actions. On the non-contentious side, the team handles advisory and merger clearance matters for large blue-chip clients. The practice is well supported by its global antitrust team, enabling it to handle both international and domestic matters brought by the Hong Kong Competition Commission, with ease. Practice head Sébastien Evrard handles government investigations and litigation; he is Hong Kong-qualified and is also a member of the Brussels Bar. Kelly Austin is recommended for investigations, regulatory compliance, and anti-corruption matters across Asia.

Practice head(s):

Sébastien Evrard

Other key lawyers:

Kelly Austin

Testimonials

‘The team has a real enthusiasm for their work and are always willing to go the extra mile’.

‘Sebastien Evrard is a real competition law enthusiast with deep global experience’.

‘Very knowledgeable and available’.

‘Good at listening and really getting to the heart of the problem which needs to be addressed and providing practical, implementable advice’.

‘The practice is characterised by the personal attention of the partners on matters’.

‘I have been impressed by the sharp intellect and strategic thinking of the team, which often surpasses that of other international firms in Hong Kong’.

‘Sebastien Evrard is a quick thinking, and an extremely dedicated lawyer’.

‘Sebastien Evrard has an excellent grasp of the law, even across jurisdictions, and always makes himself available to the client’.

Key clients

Apple

Uber

Hong Kong Telecommunications

Kimberly-Clark

Marriott

Chevron

KKR

Work highlights

  • Advised Kimberly-Clark on the competition aspects concerning its approximately $1.2bn acquisition of Softex Indonesia, a leader in the fast-growing Indonesian personal care market, from a group of shareholders including CVC Capital Partners Asia Pacific IV.
  • Advising Uber in connection with Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia operations.
  • Advising KKR as part of a consortium with investment firm TIGA Investments on the competition aspects concerning the acquisition of The Executive Centre.

Herbert Smith Freehills

The competition, regulation and trade team at Herbert Smith Freehills works closely with its counterparts in corporate and disputes to provide a holistic approach to complex merger transactions and competition law enforcement cases. With on-the-ground support in mainland China, the practice is well equipped to handle matters across the region and it has noted experience in cartel and behavioural investigations, competition litigation and market regulation, alongside strategic advice and compliance. Adelaide Luke, who is currently appointed as a non-governmental advisor to the Competition Commission in Hong Kong, heads the practice and handles all matters relating to Hong Kong competition law, acting for both Western and Asian clients.

Practice head(s):

Adelaide Luke

Testimonials

‘I am impressed with Adelaide Luke’s expertise in the area, her ability to understand the business needs and provide practical solutions in a complex situation’.

‘Adelaide Luke and her team are knowledgeable and responsive and also sensible on costs for achieving the required tasks’.

“They are competent and knowledgeable, but what I appreciate more are their practical and “straight-to-the-point” advice’.

‘I appreciate that they try to anticipate what the client would need and address it earlier rather than wait for the client to ask’. 

‘Good value for the legal fees paid’. 

‘Friendly and very easy to communicate with’.

‘Practical, knowledgeable and resourceful’.

‘Herbert Smith’s antitrust and competition practice is proactive, on point and provides excellent commercial advice’. 

Key clients

Boral Limited

Genus plc

PJSC Gazprom

Sumitomo Corporation

Marriott International Inc.

Furukawa Electric Co

Work highlights

  • Advising Boral Limited on the complex competition law issues arising from the proposed reorganisation of the Asia-wide joint venture between Boral and Knauf GmbH.
  • Advising Genus, a British animal genetics company, on the competition aspects of its strategic collaboration with Beijing Capital Agribusiness.
  • Advising PJSC Gazprom on the complex competition law issues in the proposed joint venture between PJSC Gazprom and Linde plc.

Linklaters

The Hong Kong and Asian antitrust and foreign investment group at Linklaters handles a plethora of top competition mandates across the region. As a Hong Kong Competition Commission alumnus, counsel Marcus Pollard is well-versed in the Hong Kong regulatory arena and heads the team with over ten years’ experience in antitrust investigations and litigation. Pollard assisted with the establishment of the Commission, which included the drafting of enforcement policies, and his unique combination of expertise and regulatory insight is appreciated by clients. The team has considerable experience in cartels, vertical conduct, abuse of dominance investigations, and exemption applications; it enjoys the global footprint of the firm and often handles cases spanning multiple jurisdictions as part of a global team. Managing associate Kathleen Gooi is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Marcus Pollard

Other key lawyers:

Kathleen Gooi

Testimonials

‘Very prompt and responsive with expertise in EU competition laws and regulations’.

‘Marcus Pollard gives prompt, clear and practical advice on EU competition laws and regulations that is immediately applicable for our business’.

‘Marcus Pollard is excellent – knowledgeable, practical and client service oriented’.

‘The team are experts in the field of competition law’.

‘I have worked with them in several of the first proceedings that have come before the Courts since the Competition Ordinance came into effect, and their assistance has always been first rate’.

‘Marcus Pollard is a stand out individual in the field’.

‘Marcus Pollard has deep knowledge of the law and procedure in competition related matters’.

‘Marcus Pollard is very proactive in case management and strategic in his thinking’. 

Key clients

Intel Corporation

Kerry Logistics

Hillhouse Capital

PTT

ORIX Corporation

BP plc

Hong Kong Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry

Charoen Pokphand Group

Linde

Jardine Matheson

Work highlights

  • Defending Linde in the first-ever abuse of dominance case brought to the Hong Kong Competition Tribunal.
  • Advising Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group on its $10.6bn acquisition of Tesco’s businesses in Thailand and Malaysia.
  • Advising Intel Corporation in connection with the $9bn proposed sale of their NAND and SSD business to Korean market leader SK hynix.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright is praised for its 'great sense of business acumen and for providing pragmatic advice and solutions'. The team draws on its global network to handle antitrust aspects of cross-border M&A transactions, and cartel and abuse of dominance cases. It acts for a range of clients and has particular experience in the airline, oil and gas, and finance industries. Head of practice Marc Waha represents Asian clients before competition authorities in Japan and Europe, and has notable expertise in the emerging antitrust regimes in East Asia. Waha also handles multijurisdictional merger filings and international cartel investigations. Senior associate Nicolas Cassauba is experienced in antitrust regimes across Asia and the EU, and is recommended for dawn raids and compliance matters.

Practice head(s):

Marc Waha 

Other key lawyers:

Nicolas Cassauba; Joe Lee

Testimonials

‘Good value with superb advice’.

‘Client-centric and genuine passion in learning about the business environment of clients’.

‘Marc Waha is our firm’s go-to competition partner; his practical, commercially sound and highly technical approach is second-to-none’.

‘The team has very good knowledge of competition law in the region’. 

‘The team is very responsive and has good knowledge of commercial issues relating to competition law’.

‘Nicolas Cassauba has very good knowledge of not only competition law but also commercial issues in connection with competition law’. 

‘Nicolas Cassauba is able to provide very clear legal advice and assessment’. 

‘The team has a great sense of business acumen and is always able to provide pragmatic advice and solutions instead of theoretical legal advice’.

Key clients

American Express

AXA

BP

Cathay Pacific

Deliveroo

Delta Air Lines

Ferrero

Itochu

JA Mitsui Leasing

Louis Dreyfus

Michelin

Mitsui OSK Lines

Modern Terminals Limited

Shell

Total

Work highlights

  • Advised Modern Terminals Limited on the establishment of the Hong Kong Seaport Alliance, a new form of joint venture with the other Hong Kong port terminal operators HPH, CHT and ACT under which the parties jointly operate their facilities on a “terminal neutral” basis.
  • Regularly advising Ferrero on competition law constraints, particularly in respect of distribution, dominance and compliance issues, across Asia Pacific and in particular in Hong Kong and Singapore.
  • Advised French oil company Total in relation to the competition and merger control aspects of several transactions, in particular in China and Singapore.

Slaughter and May

Slaughter and May is well regarded in the market for multijurisdictional merger control matters and handles cases across Hong Kong, China and across the Asia Pacific region. Its antitrust experience includes business-critical competition investigations, which are often worked on cross-office with practitioners in Hong Kong, Beijing, London and Brussels, who are well-equipped to advise on Hong Kong, UK and EU competition laws. The team leverages mandates from global conglomerates, Asian businesses and PRC state-owned enterprises, and is able to represent companies before the Chinese regulator. Head of practice Natalie Yeung is recommended for foreign direct investment and other regulatory matters. Senior associate Alexander Lee is a Hong Kong Competition Commission (HKCC) alumnus, who has considerable experience before the Competition Tribunal.

Practice head(s):

Natalie Yeung

Other key lawyers:

Alexander Lee

Testimonials

‘Their advice is of a very high standard and always well-considered in the light of the overall commercial context’. 

‘Practical and thoughtful work’.

‘Natalie Yeung is excellent; she has a strong commercial sense’.

‘Natalie Yeung is a safe pair of hands as she would also stand firm on the red flags and where the boundaries lie’.

‘We appreciated the team’s professionalism and the way they gave detailed advice’.

‘What makes them different is that they are sincere to learn about the challenges faced by the client in order to give useful and relevant advice’.

‘Natalie Yeung is very responsive to our requests’. 

‘The team provided quality and practical solutions to achieve our purposes’.  

Key clients

Google

Booking.com

Harilela Hotels Limited

Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza (Hong Kong), Inc.

INEOS

S.F. Holding

Richemont

Trafigura and Puma Energy

JCDecaux Group

Elanco Animal Health Inc.

MTR

Hong Kong Association of Banks

Work highlights

  • Advising Google in relation to various matters, including the studies into online platforms and digital advertising by the Japan Headquarters for Digital Market Competition and the Japan Fair Trade Commission.
  • Advised Booking.com in the investigation conducted by the Hong Kong Competition Commission into the use of wide parity clauses by online hotel booking platforms in Hong Kong, and the subsequent compliance of commitments that concluded the investigation.
  • Advised INEOS on the global merger filings for its $5bn acquisition of BP’s global petrochemicals business.

Allen & Overy

Through its joint operation office in China with Lang Yue Law Firm, Allen & Overy provides on the ground support in both Hong Kong and PRC, and utilises its longstanding knowledge and track record to attract high-profile multinational clients. Its presence in China allows direct interaction with the regulator, which is particularly appreciated by clients conducting China merger filings. The team also handles investigations, arbitration and litigation, which it undertakes for clients globally, often working cross-office with other jurisdictions. François Renard heads the practice with over 20 years’ experience in antitrust matters; he is well versed in Hong Kong Competition Commission antitrust investigations.

Practice head(s):

François Renard

Testimonials

‘Strong knowledge of competition law across Asia-Pacific’.

‘Francois Renard can clearly and succinctly break down and explain complex competition law issues, for lawyer and non-lawyer audiences’.

‘The team has good knowledge of competition law in the region and works with client to provide practical advice’.

‘Francois Renard is both precise and practical in his advice’.

Key clients

SAMR

Novatek Gas & Power

Cinven

NTT Global Data Centers Corporation

Plastic Omnium

Tokopedia

Refinitiv

Mubadala

Work highlights

  • Advised the State Administration for Market Regulation (“SAMR”) on two international antitrust know-how projects concerning abuses of dominant position and merger control matters across various jurisdictions including US, EU, UK, and Australia.
  • Advised Novatek Gas & Power, the largest independent natural gas producer in Russia, in connection with the establishment of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) marketing and trading joint venture, as well as in relation to its filing in China.
  • Advised Refinitiv, and its shareholders Blackstone and Thomson Reuters on its $27bn acquisition by the London Stock Exchange Group –in relation to the Singaporean filing of their transaction.

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland combines litigation and regulatory expertise to service local and international clients from its base in Hong Kong. It has noted experience in advising the Competition Commission and the Communications Authority on a range of matters, and also acts for multinationals in relation to large multijurisdictional cases, leaning on its international network for support. Adam Ferguson heads the ‘solid and responsive‘ practice and is qualified in Hong Kong, England and Wales, and Ireland; he is experienced in the aviation, financial services, broadcasting and telecoms sectors. Mark Hughes is a name to note for disputes. Mark Yeadon retired in June 2021.

Practice head(s):

Adam Ferguson

Other key lawyers:

Mark Hughes; Jocelyn Chow

Testimonials

‘The firm has a very experienced and talented competition team in Hong Kong’.

‘They have the ability to call on the broader strength of the firm’s European competition lawyers for additional experience and capacity’.

‘Adam Ferguson is a very smart and talented competition lawyer and leads the Hong Kong team’.

‘Adam Ferguson is easy to work with and clearly demonstrates substantive litigation knowledge’.

‘Adam Ferguson is capable of handling the most complex matters’.

‘Eversheds Hong Kong is among the leading competition practices in Hong Kong’.

‘They frequently act for the regulator – the Competition Commission – in major litigation, and so have unique insights into the regulatory environment’.

‘A very solid, hands-on and responsive competition litigation team’.

Key clients

Competition Commission

Cathay Pacific Airways

Communications Authority

CNPC

New World Developments

HNA

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Competition Commission in its first enforcement action under the Second Conduct Rule of the Competition Ordinance, alleging an abuse of market power by Linde and the involvement of an individual in the alleged abuse.
  • Acting for the Communications Authority (CA) in the defence of High Court judicial review proceedings brought by Hong Kong Telecommunications (HKT) Limited, against the CA and the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development.
  • Advising a number of airlines on competition and regulatory self-assessments.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown’s antitrust and competition team draws on strength from its global network in Asia, the Americas and Europe to provide a joined-up approach to cross-border matters. The team is led by John Hickin, and Cantonese and Mandarin speaker Hannah Ha; with Hickin handling court disputes work and regulatory investigations, and Ha assisting clients with investigations conducted by the Hong Kong Competition Commission. It acts for large companies and multinational brands, often advising on merger control issues in mainland China, and on interactions with the regulator. Given the firm’s focus on real estate and construction sector, it regularly advises a range of major clients in the sector on their competition needs.

Practice head(s):

John Hickin; Hannah Ha 

Testimonials

‘High-quality service, and very responsive’.

‘Hannah Ha leads an excellent team’.

‘The team provides high-quality work, and is very cooperative and responsive’. 

O'Melveny

O’Melveny’s Asia antitrust and competition group sits within its wider global offering and acts for multinationals in a range of matters across the continent. The team has a robust understanding of State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) merger control process, including non-competition related issues. Led by Philip Monaghan, it is well versed in advising companies in the technology, semiconductor, automotive, and telecoms industries. Monaghan is recommended for cartels, abuse of dominance and merger control matters.

Practice head(s):

Philip Monaghan

Testimonials

‘The team has profound knowledge in the area of antitrust and competition’. 

‘Very responsive with quick turnaround time’.

‘Philip Monaghan is a definite expert in the field’. 

‘Philip Monaghan’s experience with the Competition Commission in Hong Kong is particularly useful and valuable’.

Key clients

II-VI Incorporated

SMART Global Holdings, Inc.

TTM Technologies, Inc.

Leading multinational technology conglomerate

Leading semiconductor company

Work highlights

  • Advised II-VI in the implementation of remedies imposed by the China State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) in relation to II-VI’ s acquisition of Finisar Corporation.
  • Advised SMART Global Holdings in a merger filing with China’s SAMR following its acquisition of Cree’s LED Business.
  • Advised TTM Technologies in merger review proceedings with SAMR concerning the sale of four significant subsidiaries to Xiamen Haicang Development Group.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s team is headed by Andrew Foster, who splits his time between Hong Kong and Beijing. The practice regularly handles cross-border transactions and has considerable experience in merger control filings, anti-monopoly and competition matters. The Greater China team includes practitioners in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and draws on strength from its global network which enables it to advise clients dealing with a wide spectrum of regulators, including the US agencies, European Commission, Korea Fair Trade Commission and Japan Fair Trade Commission, among others.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Foster

Other key lawyers:

Jacqueline Arena

Key clients

Willis Towers Watson

Cisco Systems

Coherent Inc.

SK Hynix Inc.

Konecranes plc

Xilinix, Inc.

DSV Panalpina A/S

Dupont de Nemours, Inc.

Axiata Group Berhad

Bytedance Ltd.

Grab Holdings, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advising Willis Towers Watson plc, a global advisory, broking and solutions company, on the antitrust aspects of its merger with Aon plc.
  • Represented Cisco Systems, Inc. (Cisco) with certain antitrust and regulatory aspects of its $4.5bn acquisition of Acacia Communications, Inc.
  • Representing Coherent, Inc. in all merger control filings for II-VI Incorporated’s acquisition of Coherent, Inc.

Deacons

With a strong focus on the domestic market, Deacons leverages considerable expertise in the form of practice head Machiuanna Chu, who handles competition advisory and cross-border M&A matters, and its in-house competition economist Sharon Pang. Peter So is a name to note for contentious matters and is experienced in investigations brought by the Hong Kong Competition Commission. The team regularly handles high-profile Competition Tribunal cases.

Practice head(s):

Machiuanna Chu

Other key lawyers:

Peter So; Sharon Pang

Testimonials

Sharon Pang is conscientious and very attentive to details‘.

Key clients

The Commercial Press (Hong Kong) Limited; Sino UnitedPublishing (Holdings) Limited

Meyer Aluminium Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising The Commercial Press (Hong Kong) Limited; Sino United Publishing (Holdings)Limited on HKSAR Competition Tribunal Enforcement Action between the Hong Kong Competition Commission (“HKCC”) and T.H. LeeBook Company Limited (“T.H. Lee”), The Commercial Press (Hong Kong) Limited (“CommercialPress”), Sino United Publishing (Holdings) Limited (“Sino United”), and Mr. Hui Chiu Ming.
  • Advising Meyer Aluminium Limited on two related matters of the Hong Kong SAR Competition Tribunal Action between Meyer Aluminium Limited and Taching Petroleum Company Limited, and Meyer and Shell HongKong Limited, respectively.

Tiang & Partners

Independent Hong Kong firm Tiang & Partners works in collaboration with Big Four accounting outfit PwC, combining local expertise with global reach. The practice handles a broad range of competition and antitrust matters, including merger clearance, regulatory investigations, strategic advice and compliance. It has a presence in the PRC in the form of affiliations with Xin Bai Law Firm in Shanghai and Rui Bai Law Firm in Beijing. Martyn Huckerby heads the team and Ajit Kainth joined as senior solicitor from the Hong Kong Competition Commission in May 2021.

Practice head(s):

Martyn Huckerby

Other key lawyers:

Ajit Kainth

Testimonials

‘The value of the advice from Tiang & Partners was high’.

‘Martyn Huckerby was great in handling the requests of founding members and guiding the process during the critical phase of obtaining the required clearances from a various set of regulators’.

‘Martyn Huckerby has been able to assist us greatly in navigating the issues’.

‘Tiang & Partners has a small but highly experienced and skilled competition law team in Hong Kong’.

‘They are excellent practitioners who bring both deep private practice experience representing clients in complex competition law matters but also experience with the Hong Kong competition enforcement agency’.

‘Ajit Kainth is a smart, experienced, and skilled competition lawyer’.

‘Ajit Kainth has considerable private practice experience in dealing with complex competition law issues, which is is supplemented by his time at the Hong Kong Competition Commission, where he led some of the most important investigations pursued to date’. 

‘Ajit Kainth is outstanding’.

Key clients

Expedia Inc.

CargoSmart Limited

BlueScope Steel Investment Management (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Representing Expedia in relation to an investigation by the Hong Kong Competition Commission.
  • Advising Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) and CargoSmart in relation to the formation of the GSBN consortium.
  • Assisting BlueScope Steel Investment Management (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.’s subsidiaries in China in reviewing their agreement with a supplier under a new business model and advising on how to restructure their proposed arrangement to address issues under the PRC Anti-Monopoly Law.