TMT in Hong Kong

Bird & Bird

The 'terrific' multi-disciplinary team at Bird & Bird is 'very knowledgeable in the TMT space', and combines subject matter expertise with the substantive law knowledge to effectively resource matters across the panoply of corporate, commercial, regulatory and litigation matters. 'Excellent' team head Michelle Chan has vast experience across the sector from a corporate/commercial and regulatory perspective; she has been particularly active of late advising across a range of disruptive technologies, including the legal issues associated with big data and fintech, including online payment services and Internet of Things. Recently promoted to counsel, Clarice Yue spearheads the office's data privacy practice and has advised clients from a range of industries on the implications of the EU's General Data Protection Rules (GDPR) and in relation to China's recently passed China Cyber Security law.

Practice head(s):

Michelle Chan

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Laight; Clarice Yue; Justin Walkey; Hank Leung; Ted Chwu; Alex Norman

Key clients

Helen of Troy

Lexmark

Riot Games

Ebay

Work highlights

  • Advising Riot Games on its  partnership with Nike.
  • Advising on telecoms regulatory issues associated with the deployment of a suite of innovative over-the-top services across multiple countries in Asia-Pacific, Europe and South America
  • Regulatory advice in relation to new white-label data only international roaming service.

Hogan Lovells

Benefiting from the resources available to it as a global firm, and also deeply entrenched in the local market, Hogan Lovells is well-placed to represent international and regional entities in the TMT space across a broad swathe of regulatory, corporate and commercial mandates. 'Standout lawyerMark Parsons has 'real credibility in the space' across a range of matters, including as it relates to technology outsourcing and market entry for new technologies and services. Led out of Hong Kong by Parsons and implementing a cross-disciplinary offering across international offices on certain projects, the firm continues to handle a significant volume of work for leading Chinese technology company, Tencent. Recent work for it has included the roll out its Midas platform (its online marketplace offering) in various countries across the Asia Pacific region including India, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Now based out of Hong Kong, following his recent relocation from the Shanghai office, Andrew McGinty bolsters the team's capabilities in relation to corporate/M&A and commercial work within the TMT space, particularly on China-related mandates.

Practice head(s):

Mark Parsons and Andrew McGinty

Other key lawyers:

Eugene Low; Stephanie Tang; Kenny Wong; Tommy Liu

Key clients

Tencent

China Telecom Global

Work highlights

  • Advising Tencent on a number of initiatives including in relation to Wechat Wallet, Tencent’s stored value and payments product.
  • Handling a range of commercial, regulatory, employment, intellectual property and disputes work for China Telecom Global, including recently advising it on a global data policy review.

Baker McKenzie

Engaged in discrete Hong Kong-based mandates, as well as forming an integral part of the firm's broader international offering, Baker McKenzie's four-partner multi-disciplinary team has an excellent reputation on behalf of users and producers of technology across the gamut of matters affecting their businesses. As part of his wide-ranging commercial and regulatory expertise in the TMT space (work which includes commercial contracts drafting for cloud services providers and assisting clients to establish e-commerce platforms in Asia), Paolo Sbuttoni has been at the cutting edge of developments in the sector, including in relation to disruptive technologies including fintech and AI; his recent work has included a considerable amount of data privacy-related work related to blockchain. Corporate partner Nancy Leigh has a focus on handling M&A mandates and commercial contracts work within the sector.

Practice head(s):

Nancy Leigh and Paolo Sbuttoni

Work highlights

  • Advised Tencent on the establishment of the joint venture, Infinium, and also the application for a virtual banking license, which was approved by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

DLA Piper

With two-partners focused on TMT matters out of Hong Kong and able to draw upon the expertise of practitioners spread throughout the firm's international network, DLA Piper is able to effectively guide global companies on cutting-edge technology matters, from a commercial, regulatory and corporate perspective. At the vanguard of developments in the fast-moving space, the firm is best known for its ability to assist clients on the use, commercialisation and adoption of novel and disruptive technologies that challenge existing business models and regulatory frameworks. Himself benefiting from a computer science background, team head Scott Thiel has excellent insight into the often highly technical subject matter surrounding many of the deals; he has recently handled numerous high-profile matters for Chinese personal financial services provider, Ping An, including advising it on its successful bid to deliver a blockchain-based trade finance technology platform for Hong Kong Interbank Clearing and helping it to secure a virtual banking license in Hong Kong.

Practice head(s):

Scott Thiel

Other key lawyers:

Carolyn Bigg; Frankie Tam

Key clients

Ping An Technology

Ping An OneConnect

Jasmine22 (an HSBC company)

CK Hutchison Group

Alipay Payment Services (HK) Limited

SmartMe Corporation

TD Ameritrade

Work highlights

  • Advised Ping An Technology in its engagement with a banking clearance agency to design and implement a blockchain-based trade finance platform.
  • Acted for Ping An throughout its entire application for a virtual banking license in Hong Kong, which resulted in the establishment of virtual bank Ping An OneConnect.
  • Advising Jasmine22 (an HSBC company) through the preparation of loan documentation and related regulatory and legal advice regarding its purchase of a financing product that will be conducted through an online portal and system.
  • Advised Hutchison Group on the establishment of a joint venture with Ant Financial, the parent company of Alipay, to operate Alipay’s consumer-oriented digital wallet under the “AlipayHK” brand and its subsequent launch of a comprehensive e-payments and fintech platform in Hong Kong (in addition to interoperability with Alipay China).
  • Advising Alipay HK, a joint venture between the Ant Financial Group and CK Hutchison, on issues related to stored value facilities licensing and regulation.

King & Wood Mallesons

Benefiting from in-depth sectoral knowledge, as well as the ability to draw upon the expertise of lawyers from across the litigation, corporate and IP practice areas, the 'knowledgeable, responsive and thoughtful' team at King & Wood Mallesons is well-placed to handle work for telecoms and IT-related clients, in particular, across the spectrum of their legal needs. Neil Carabine  has an excellent track record advising on telecoms-related M&A matters and has vast knowledge of the unique regulatory issues which arise in this context. Peter Bullock handles work across the IT and telecoms sectors from regulatory compliance and litigation perspectives. He is particularly adept at advising on cyber risk and data protection issues, as well as on fintech-related matters.

Practice head(s):

Neil Carabine and Peter Bullock

Other key lawyers:

Urszula McCormack

Testimonials

‘The firm’s knowledge of fintech and blockchain is unmatched in Asia. They also have an excellent network of local lawyers to call upon when dealing with pan-Asia questions.’

‘The team provides very well-rounded advice.’

Key clients

ZhongAn Technologies International Group

MyPort Pty Ltd

Ledger SAS

The Communications Authority in Hong Kong

Vitasoy International Holdings

Frontier Networks

The World Bank on behalf of the Government of Vanuatu and the Government of PNG

OST.com Limited

CEB International Investment Corporation

Azeus System

Work highlights

  • Advised ZA Tech on the application of its virtual banking license in Hong Kong.
  • Advising MyPort Pty Ltd as to the implications of a new Bill in Australia that may introduce significant changes to the existing telecommunications regime on its business.
  • Advising Ledger SAS on various projects including on the roll out of a multi-authorisation digital asset wallet management hardware / software solution targeted at financial institutions.
  • Advising Office of the Communications Authority in Hong Kong on telecommunications and broadcasting laws.
  • Advised Vitasoy International Holdings on the cross-border transfer of employee data.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown provides an 'extremely resourceful service' to clients in the TMT sector, from complex M&A and outsourcing projects to IT agreements and licensing issues. 'Extremely responsive' team head Gabriela Kennedy provides a compelling mix of IP, regulatory and commercial expertise, enabling her to provide a one-stop shop service to clients across the spectrum of  TMT issues impacting their businesses. Kennedy is abreast of many of the most cutting-edge issues within the sector and provides 'clear and sharp advice' to fintech clients involving issues around digital and mobile wallets, and emerging payment technologies. The team has also been active advising clients on data protection issues from a compliance perspective, as well as following a breach.

Practice head(s):

Gabriela Kennedy

Other key lawyers:

Karen Lee

Testimonials

The firm is very resourceful  on technology and data protection issues.

Gabriela Kennedy is extremely resourceful and advises us on technology and data protection issues. 

Key clients

Adobe

Alibaba (including AliCloud, Youku, AG Tech)

Airport Authority Hong Kong

AVIA

Burberry Group

Chanel

Cargill

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Hong Kong Limited

CASH

Daimler

eBay / StubHub

Entertainment One

Fung Group

Hysan Development

Jardine Matheson & Company Ltd / Dairy Farm

LVMH Asia Pacific

McDonald’s Corporation

Mandarin Oriental

Naxos

Television Broadcasts

Toys “R” Us

Wesurance

WTT Hong Kong Limited

Xperi Corporation (DTS, Inc)

Zurich Insurance

Work highlights

  • Advised The Hong Kong Association of Banks on the development of the Faster Payment System.
  • Advised on HSBC’s HK$44m launch of a mobile e-wallet payment platform.
  • Advised RGE on the establishment of sustainability consortium platform with other industry players and the use of blockchain solution to trace materials production/sourcing.
  • Representing an international financial institution on complex data privacy/ data security and client data project spanning 14 Asia Pacific jurisdictions.
  • Representing Television Broadcasts Limited on three high-profile judicial reviews stemming from decisions issued by the Communications Authority.

Morrison & Foerster

Morrison & Foerster has 'significant depth of knowledge and experience' across the gamut of operational and transactional matters affecting clients in the sector. Leveraging the firm's strong technology pedigree in the US, the team is regularly instructed to provide support to US tech clients looking to expand into Greater China. Praised for his 'excellent industry and technical knowledge', team head Gordon Milner 'is highly familiar with vendor contracts and general industry accepted terms and conditions'. As well as standalone mandates, Milner also regularly provides TMT input on the firm's venture capital and private equity mandates in the sector, including on high-profile mandates for Softbank and Alibaba

Practice head(s):

Gordon Milner

Other key lawyers:

Chuan Sun; Thomas Chou; Marcia Ellis; Amit Kataria; Gigi Yuen; Tyler Xiu

Testimonials

‘Gordon Milner has extensive experience working with technology companies and has a strong practice in technology contracts.’

Key clients

SoftBank

SoftBank Vision Fund

Alibaba Group

The Dairy Farm Group

Verizon

Oracle

Airbnb

Tencent

Axiata

Work highlights

  • Advised Alibaba on its acquisition of a 33% equity interest in Ant Financial, China’s leading financial services company.
  • Represented 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.
  • Advised SoftBank Vision Fund in connection with a $1.5bn investment in Chehaoduo.
  • Represented Alibaba Group in relation to Ant Financial’s most recent $14bn Series C fundraising, valuing Ant Financial at approximately $150bn.
  • Represented SoftBank Vision Fund as lead investor in the combined $1bn financing in OYO Rooms, India’s leading hospitality business, to expand current operations in India and launch new operations in China.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Led out of Hong Kong by Anna Gamvros and able to leverage deep experience from mainland China and Singapore (as well as from the firm's wider international network), Norton Rose Fulbright's full-service TMT offering is well-positioned to advise clients across the patchwork of domestic and cross-border advisory, regulatory, transactional and M&A work in the sector. As well as regularly advising clients on outsourcing and cloud arrangements, Gamvros has successfully cultivated a market-leading data protection and cybersecurity practice, both from a compliance perspective as well as in relation to breach response work. Since her arrival at the end of 2017 from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Etelka Bogardi has added an extra dimension to the team's offering, particularly on fintech-related matters, including blockchain assisted payment systems, cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency exchanges.

Practice head(s):

Anna Gamvros

Other key lawyers:

Ruby Kwok; Libby Ryan; Etelka Bogardi

Key clients

Accenture

Amazon

Armada Holdings

AT&T

Tencent

Expedia

Work highlights

  • Advising Advanced Fund Technology Group on Hong Kong regulatory requirements under the HKMA and SFC regimes.
  • Assisting a significant Asia headquartered multinational on a large data breach affecting individuals across the globe.
  • Advising an Asia-headquartered financial institution on its global cloud deal with a global technology company.
  • Advising a leading property development company on various data privacy matters including building up its data governance structure for Hong Kong and China and under the GDPR.
  • Advising a leading hotel group on its global privacy law compliance on its online and hotel operations.

Pinsent Masons

The 'very knowledgeable' team at Pinsent Masons provides 'practical and cost-effective advice' to providers and users of technology on commercial contracts, outsourcing arrangements, IT and telecoms projects and the disputes that can arise from these. 'Very committed' team head Paul Haswell has a 'genuine passion for the industry' and is praised for his ability to 'simplify complex concepts for the layperson'. Haswell is 'very knowledgeable as to developments in the industry', including as it relates to the fintech space – where recent work has included advice on the use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies (including in relation to initial coin offerings). Data privacy and cyber security matters are also core areas of focus for the team.

Practice head(s):

Paul Haswell

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Wu; Thomas Ho

Testimonials

‘The firm has a wonderful ability to connect different specialist perspectives so that in-house counsel can have a holistic understanding of an issue.’

‘Paul Haswell is effective at cutting through the noise and getting to the heart of the issue.’

‘Paul Haswell’s strength was that he communicated his strategic thinking and potential risks well, which enabled us to make well informed decisions as we worked our way through the process.’

Key clients

Hutchison Telecommunications

Litegrid

Fujitsu Limited

Gini

Fung Group (Li & Fung)

PayFlix

Rentokil

Eighth Peak

Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging

Work highlights

  • Representing Litegrid as claimant in a High Court action involving the construction and indefeasible rights of use of a fibre optic communications network in Hong Kong.
  • Represented blockchain technology start up, BuyWithTokens (BWT), on various commercial matters, including drafting of the Merchant agreement setting out the terms and conditions governing the relationship between the merchant and BWT, ensuring that the agreement was localised to meet current market standards in Hong Kong as well as local data privacy regulations, in view of the client’s vision of future expansion of its services into other regions of South East Asia.
  • Advising Hutchison on an IP infringement dispute relating to the use of a certain trade mark in the advertising of telecommunications services across Hong Kong.
  • Having initially acted for fintech start-up Gini on the launch of Hong Kong’s first-ever personal financial management mobile app, the team continues to act for the company as it makes further updates to the app.
  • Advising Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging on a collaboration agreement between Hallmarq and a Chinese partner for the development and distribution of new software products.

Allen & Overy

Led out of Hong Kong by corporate partner Will McAuliffe and aided by a strong presence in Beijing and Shanghai, Allen & Overy is best known for its ability to handle big-ticket Greater China-related corporate and commercial work for clients in the sector. McAuliffe recently provided the China-related input (and coordinated across the broader Asia Pacific elements), in relation to the firm's high-profile multi-jurisdictional M&A matter for media giant, Thomson Reuters, on the sale of a majority stake of its financial and risk business to Blackstone Group. The team also regularly advises on regulatory issues related to fintech matters, including on blockchain, cryptocurrency, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and virtual currency issues.

Practice head(s):

Will McAuliffe

Key clients

21st Century Fox

Clear Channel

Hewlett Packard

FIS Global

KPN

Thomson Reuters

Wolters Kluwer

WPP

Work highlights

  • Advising Thomson Reuters on the sale of the majority stake of its financial and risk business.
  • Advising 21st Century Fox on its $71bn acquisition by The Walt Disney Company.
  • Advising 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.
  • Advising FIS Global on the on-going sale of its subsidiary, Sungard Kingstar Data Systems (a large Chinese software company), to Zhongping Capital.
  • Advising Clear Channel on its commercial and compliance work, such as compliance with the Hong Kong listing rules.

Ashurst

Led out of Hong Kong by Joshua Cole , and also able to leverage the firm's broad-ranging international network, Ashurst's 'responsive and commercial' team is best-known for its ability to handle complex multi-jurisdictional telecoms infrastructure transactions throughout Asia. Mirroring the rapidly evolving technology space, the firm has also successfully expanded the scope of its practice to include work for numerous clients on their digitisation transformations. 'Rising starHoi Tak Leung  has been pivotal to the firm's growth in the sector in light of his comprehensive knowledge across a wide array of commercial and regulatory matters relating to outsourcing, technology licensing and development, cryptocurrency and data privacy.

Practice head(s):

Joshua Cole

Other key lawyers:

Hoi Tak Leung; Lucy Spencer

Testimonials

‘Hoi Tak Leung has a brilliant analytical mind which allows him and his team to deliver superb results.’

‘Lucy Spencer is a future star of the TMT universe.’

Key clients

Facebook

IHS Markit

Metabase Networks

StubHub

Tencent

Klook

Work highlights

  • Advising Tencent on the continued expansion of their various products and services across Asia, including the expansion of Tencent’s karaoke app into seven Asia-Pacific countries, including IP-related advice.
  • Acted for Tencent across a range of legal advice for the WeChat Mini Program platform.
  • Prepared StubHub’s standard Master IT Services/Outsourcing Agreement and White Label Platform Terms and Conditions.
  • Advising IHS Markit on various ongoing data privacy matters.
  • Advised Facebook on the joint venture with a consortium of parties.

Herbert Smith Freehills

Despite lacking the strength-in-depth of some of its higher-ranked peers, Herbert Smith Freehills is noted for the 'commercial advice' it provides to clients in the TMT space and its ability to work seamlessly with other key locations in the Asia Pacific region to provide a 'very cohesive and strategic service'. Corporate partner Tommy Tong regularly handles M&A transactions in the technology space (including on behalf of Ant Financial), while of counsel Sheena Loi provides standalone TMT advice, including as it relates to outsourcing and data privacy matters. Loi also has a particular niche within the telecoms space, gleaned through private practice as well as a long-term secondment at Telstra.

Other key lawyers:

Tommy Tong; Sheena Loi

Testimonials

‘They are able to see the strategic issues that will affect the matter and help navigate the choppy waters more easily.’

‘The firm comes up with practical solutions especially when navigating alien jurisdictions that have practices that are less developed.’

Key clients

Apple

Accenture

Ant Financial

Bank of China

China Telecom

China Mobile

Google

Global Switch

Huawei

IBM

NetEase

Nokia

ICBC

JD.com

PCCW

Smartone

Sun Art Retail

Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising Sun Art on the $2.87bn sale of a minority interest in the company to Alibaba.
  • Advised JD.Com, along with Singapore’s Provident Capital Partners, as lead investors in the $2bn Series F investment funding round in Go-Jek, Indonesia’s first unicorn company that specialises in ride-hailing and logistics.
  • Advised Grab on its joint venture with ZA to offer insurance products via Grab’s app in Southeast Asia.
  • Advised Ant Financial on its Series D preferred share investment in Blue Mobile Capital.
  • Advised Technology Crossover Ventures on its $30m investment as part of a $150m Series D fund raising by Klook, alongside other investors.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

Leveraging the firm's market-leading private equity offering, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison is regularly at the forefront of the most significant TMT-related M&A mandates in the market. Jeanette Chan handles a considerable amount of transactional work for China-based tech conglomerate Tencent, including on its recent acquisition of a majority stake in Grinding Gear Games, the New Zealand-based gaming company that developed the popular online role-playing game, Path of Exile.

Practice head(s):

Betty Yap and Jeanette Chan

Key clients

Tencent

Baidu

Didi Chuxing

Microsoft Corporation

Naspers

Dalian Wanda Group

Hearst Corporation

State Grid Corporation

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan

Universal Parks & Resorts

Work highlights

  • 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.
  • Acted for Tencent in the acquisition of a majority stake in Grinding Gear Games, the New Zealand-based gaming company that developed the popular online role-playing game Path of Exile.
  • Represented KKR and Tencent, as lead investors, in a $175m minority investment in Voyager Innovations, the financial technology arm of PLDT, a Philippines-based telecoms and digital services provider.
  • Acted for Hillhouse Capital, alongside Permira, in the $1.68bn sale of Magento Commerce, a global provider in cloud digital commerce innovation to Adobe.

Deacons

Co-headed by IP partner Charmaine Koo and corporate partner Machiuanna ChuDeacons' technology practice handles a broad range of contentious and non-contentious matters for clients in the sector, including as it relates to M&A, commercial contracts, and data privacy.

Practice head(s):

Machiuanna Chu and Charmaine Koo

Other key lawyers:

Ian Liu

Key clients

Gmedia Hong Kong Limited and Gmedia Information Technology (Beijing) Co.

PCCW Group

Alibaba

Discovery Communications

Work highlights

  • Acting for the PCCW Group in court proceedings brought against them by a US entity, Two-Way Media in the Hong Kong Court of First Instance.
  • Representing Alibaba in proceedings commenced in Hong Kong by cosmetics supplier Mary Kay against three of its companies.
  • Representing Gmedia in a patent infringement action in Hong Kong against Tencent over the use of Gmedia’s 2D (QR) code technology in Tencent’s Weixin and Wechat products.

Simmons & Simmons

With practitioners on the ground in Hong Kong, and benefiting from a strong presence in mainland China, Simmons & Simmons provides a coordinated service to international and Chinese TMT companies, as well as to strategic and financial investors engaged in corporate activity in the sector. Team head Jingyuan Shi is at the forefront of the most significant mandates handled by the team, and as well as private equity-related M&A in the sector, is also active on behalf of start-ups seeking financing. The arrival of Michelle Ta from Baker McKenzie's Melbourne office in February 2019 bolsters the team's credibility on the ICT front, in light of her extensive data protection, outsourcing, technology commercialisation and transactional IP expertise.

Practice head(s):

Jingyuan Shi

Other key lawyers:

Michelle Ta; Jolyon Ellwood-Russell; Joseph Lee; Ian Wood; Michelle Ta; Xiao Cui

Key clients

Neat Limited

KYC Chain Limited

HNA Technology Investments Holdings Limited

i-Cable Communications Limited

PCCW Ltd.

Melco Crown Entertainment Limited

Ant Financial

Work highlights

  • Advised The Mills Fabrica Fund, as lead investors on its investment in Unspun, a fashion technology company and Series A investment in Origami Labs, a wearable technology start-up.
  • Advised i-CABLE Communications, an integrated communication services provider in Hong Kong listed on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, on the network development agreement entered into between its wholly-owned subsidiary i-CABLE Network Operations Limited and China Mobile Hong Kong Company Limited.