TMT in Hong Kong
Praised for its 'pragmatism and deep understanding of the regulatory framework', Bird & Bird's multi-disciplinary TMT offering combines deeply rooted subject matter knowledge of new technologies and products coming to market, with substantive law expertise that cuts across IP, corporate and commercial, and litigation. 'Knowledgeable and reliable' corporate and commercial partner Michelle Chan heads up the overarching TMT practice and advises local and international clients on their transactional and commercial activity, including on an increasing number of projects covering disruptive technologies such as Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), online payments services and fintech. 'An expert in TMT matters armed with a deep knowledge of the law', counsel Clarice Yue has developed a particularly strong reputation advising on data privacy matters for clients in Hong Kong and mainland China. Matthew Laight and Ted Chwu are also regularly instructed by TMT clients on contentious and non-contentious IP-related matters.
‘The team is unique because their backgrounds and expertise cover both mainland China and Hong Kong with deep knowledge of those markets, while at the same time, the legal professionals are also familiar and experienced with common law systems which allow them to communicate effectively and give practical and relevant advice to international clients.’
‘The team is able to offer pragmatic advice with a view to making things happen, and has deep understanding of the regulatory framework.’
‘Michelle Chan provides very practical advice, which helps to solve problems rather than creating issues.’
‘Clarice Yue is clearly an expert in TMT matters and is armed with a deep knowledge of the law and the ability to cut through the complexities of cases but focusing on the most important and critical legal and commercial issues.’
‘Michelle Chan and Clarice Yue are knowledgeable, reliable, always on hand, commercially aware and know the detail. Magic Circle quality at very reasonable cost.’
Hong Kong Jockey Club
- Assisted Japanese entertainment and gambling company, Konami on a range of matters, including (i) production of arcade machines outside Japan; (ii) hosting a series of e-tournament in countries around Asia-Pacific; (iii) implication of gambling and data privacy law on the roll-out of some of its new games.
- Advising a leading multinational hospitality company in relation to potential disputes with a major multinational computer technology corporation headquartered in the US.
- Assisted Ellucian (Hong Kong) Limited on the recovery of outstanding software license fees against a Hong Kong company known as edNET Company Limited.
Able to draw from the expertise of numerous core TMT lawyers based in Hong Kong and mainland China, as well as lawyers from the IP, litigation, and restructuring groups with significant expertise in the sector, Hogan Lovells is well-positioned to advise local and international clients across the spectrum of regulatory, corporate/commercial and litigation mandates. The team is appreciated for its ability to cover the full lifecycle of work handled by any given client, from assistance on bringing new products to market, through to advice on subsequent commercial agreements and representation on any disputes that may occur. Under the guidance of Mark Parsons, it is perhaps best-known for its representation of financial services clients on TMT-related matters, whether it be in the context of putting into place the necessary commercial agreements to facilitate the outsourcing of various IT functions, or in terms of the adoption of fintech-related products. Andrew McGinty has an excellent track record handling Greater China-related standalone TMT regulatory issues, as well as telecoms licensing matters and corporate mandates in the sector.
Prudential Holdings Limited
The Hong Kong Association of Banks
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited
Jumei International Holding Limited
- 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 on its Asia-Pacific region technology collaboration agreement with Indian-based global technology service provider, Tech Mahindra. The agreement involved the outsourcing, consolidation and delivery of certain key information technology and telecommunications services, including infrastructure management, application development and maintenance services, for Prudential’s assets across its Asia-Pacific portfolio.
- 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.
Acting on purely local matters, forming a key part of a Greater China offering and also regularly advising on the relevant Asia specific elements pursuant to multi-jurisdictional mandates handled by the firm, Baker McKenzie's multi-disciplinary Hong Kong-based TMT team is well-versed at handling a wide range of corporate, commercial, and regulatory matters for both end-users and producers of technology. Paolo Sbuttoni is 'very knowledgeable on technology and privacy matters' and able to provide 'pragmatic and commercial advice' to clients on the drafting of IT/outsourcing contracts, and has also recently assisted numerous clients establish robust data governance frameworks throughout the region. The return to the firm of Lex Kuo in May 2020, from Latham & Watkins LLP, strengthens the team's credentials in the online entertainment and gaming sectors and he now co-heads the team alongside Sbuttoni. Nancy Leigh retired in December 2019.
‘The team provides very insightful advice and training to fintech start-ups.’
‘The knowledgeable team has expertise and strength at handling GDPR matters, as well as other key areas.’
‘Paolo Sbuttoni is very knowledgeable on technology and privacy matters.’
‘Paolo Sbuttoni has particularly strong interpersonal skills, and is a very humble and likeable professional. Paolo has great connections and market knowledge in the tech field, which proves handy in resolving new challenges.’
‘Paolo Sbuttoni and Marcia Lee are knowledgeable in the field, with strong risk assessment, analytical skills, and creative in alternative solutions.’
China Eastern Airlines
Abercrombie & Fitch
- Advised Tencent on its voluntary cash offer to acquire all remaining shares of game developer, Funcom SE, a Dutch company listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange.
With two-partners focused on TMT matters based out of Hong Kong and also able to draw upon the expertise of practitioners spread throughout the firm's international network, DLA Piper is particularly well-suited to advising global companies on cutting-edge technology matters, from a commercial, regulatory and corporate perspective. Himself benefiting from a computer science background, team head Scott Thiel has excellent insight into the underlying subject matter of his clients' businesses, enabling him to provide 'very commercial and effective legal advice' that is not delivered in a vacuum. Thiel is also particularly attuned to developments within the ever-evolving regulatory framework impacting fintech clients, including as it pertains to the growing adoption by clients of blockchain technology. Carolyn Bigg is the other partner in the team and excels at assisting clients on data projects throughout the region.
‘Scott Thiel provides very commercial and effective legal advice.’
Ping An Technology (Shenzhen) and various Ping An subsidiaries (including One Connect Financial Technology)
- Advised US-based global independent investment research provider, Morningstar, on a pioneering outsourcing and commercial partnership agreement with BNP Paribas to provide independent equity research services for the bank’s APAC buy-side clients.
- Representing Ping An Technology on the structuring of its cross-border IP and technology transfer issues relating to the establishment of its US research and development centres.
- Advising Genting on its collaboration with Alibaba Cloud Computing Services, in connection with the development of a virtual queue AI system for an upcoming theme park to be built in Malaysia.
King & Wood Mallesons
Led from Hong Kong by Neil Carabine and Peter Bullock, and also aided by a huge Asia Pacific network, King & Wood Mallesons is well-positioned to provide a coordinated and holistic service to regional and international companies and public sector entities across a broad range of transactional, regulatory and contentious TMT-related matters. Work includes traditional TMT mandates relating to commercial agreements and outsourcing, as well as instructions from disruptive market entrants, in areas including fintech. In addition, under the guidance of Carabine, the firm has a market-leading telecoms offering, both across regulatory issues and corporate activity in the sector; notably, the team recently advised the Hong Kong Airport Authority on the contractual and regulatory structure for the build, transfer, and operation of public and private 5G network at the Hong Kong International Airport. Urszula McCormack spearheads the team's fintech offering and is at the forefront of evolving regulation in the space.
Other key lawyers:
Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority
Hong Kong Airport Authority
Aristocrat Leisure Limited
Modern Terminals Limited
OAX Foundation Limited
- Advising Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority on its procurement of an IT system known as the eMPF Platform.
- Advising the Hong Kong Airport Authority on the contractual and regulatory structure for the build, transfer and operational of a public and private 5G network at the Hong Kong International Airport -the world’s third-busiest – including calling for tenders, risk allocation, project scope and integration. This includes considering unique issues regarding network operator access, spectrum allocation and 5G capabilities.
- Advising Bloomberg on the deployment of various Bloomberg Terminal services, and the integration of various products / functionality into the Bloomberg Terminal, in Hong Kong.
Benefiting from strong local/regional relationships - as a result of the firm's longstanding presence in the market - and also able to effectively mobilise the firm's wider international resources, Mayer Brown is able to provide effective transactional, regulatory, and contentious TMT-related advice, from a standalone Hong Kong perspective, as well as in the context of broader multi-jurisdictional projects. Although she is perhaps best known for her work on complex IT transactions, outsourcing agreements, and cybersecurity matters, 'top-notch' team head Gabriela Kennedy also leverages her broader IP-related expertise to provide a compelling service to media clients on licensing matters and copyright disputes. Amita Haylock is well-versed at handling a broad range of IP and TMT-related matters, and is forging a growing reputation within the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors, as a result of her involvement for the regulator and major companies in numerous recent high-profile judicial reviews.
‘Gabriela Kennedy’s reputation in the area is top-notch and brings 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 Limited
eBay / StubHub
LVMH Asia Pacific
Television Broadcasts Limited
Toys “R” Us
WTT Hong Kong Limited
Xperi Corporation (DTS, Inc)
- Assisting a virtual bank consortium which received the virtual banking licence from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to set up their business in Hong Kong. The team reviewed and advised on the procurement of all technology and other back office and support services related to the set up and operation of the virtual bank.
- Represented the Hong Kong Association of Banks in relation to the development of the Faster Payment System led by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
- Advising Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) on three high-profile judicial reviews stemming from decisions issued by the Communications Authority (CA), concerning public complaints made to the CA alleging indirect advertisement and product placement during two TVB programmes.
Aided by a strong presence on the ground in the PRC and more broadly throughout Asia Pacific, Morrison & Foerster's Hong Kong-based TMT team advises regional and international technology-based entities across the spectrum of regulatory, commercial, and operational matters. Transactional mandates account for a significant proportion of the firm's workflow in the sector, where both investor and investee clients take comfort in the firm's strong venture capital credentials and its ability to advise start-ups on concomitant IP and commercial issues associated with their business. Team head Gordon Milner has particular expertise in respect of cross-border technology projects in Greater China and 'has extensive expertise and experiences in advising on SaaS, cloud technology, and entertainment businesses'.
‘I have used the firm’s services in relation to technology agreements in Hong Kong, and they are truly specialised in this field.’
‘What makes the firm’s Hong Kong practice unique is that it understands the business needs of its customers and the pain points and business needs of foreign multinational corporations with operations in China.’
‘I have worked with Gordon Milner and appreciate his commerciality, practical advice, and speedy responses.’
‘Gordon Milner has extensive expertise and experiences in advising on SaaS, cloud technology, and entertainment businesses. He is easy to work with and can deliver high-quality results even under high time pressure.’
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.
Led from Kong by the 'responsive and thoughtful' Anna Gamvros and able to draw upon deep experience from mainland China and Singapore (as well as from the firm's wider international network), Norton Rose Fulbright has a 'good knowledge of the local market' and is well-positioned to advise clients across the spectrum of domestic and cross-border advisory, regulatory, transactional and M&A work in the sector. Although she is also engaged in IT-related commercial contracts work, including outsourcing, Gamvros has developed a particularly strong reputation in relation to data protection and cybersecurity matters. In this niche area, as well as advising on risk management measures to avoid any potential data breaches, she has been brought in by numerous large Asia headquartered entities to project manage the incident response following high-profile breaches/cybersecurity incidents. Etelka Bogardi is well-versed at advising clients navigate the rapidly evolving regulatory landscape impacting on fintech-related activity and is the Asia lead of the firm’s Global Payments Practice.
‘The team is commercial, flexible, and responsive. It provides thoughtful, strategic, and commercial advice, and has good knowledge of the local market.’
‘Anna Gamvros is a genuine partner to her clients. She makes herself available, is responsive, and provides thoughtful, commercial advice. Her services provide value for money, she pushes work to the right level and develops her associates so that they too become invaluable team members.’
Combining detailed knowledge of the underlying technology, with commercial and pragmatic legal aptitude across operational, regulatory, litigation, and transactional concerns, the five-strong team at Pinsent Masons is deeply entrenched into the tech ecosystem and is as comfortable advising new tech startups on issues related to growth in the market, as established high-profile financial services entities and multinational corporates on complex IT projects. Team head Paul Haswell has been particularly active of late advising on data privacy matters and issues related to cutting-edge technology, including the use of facial recognition systems and AI tools. Senior associate Jennifer Wu continues to develop a flourishing reputation for respondents and petitioners in TMT disputes, including litigation relating to data privacy and cybersecurity.
Fung (1937) Management Limited
More Champ Limited (Trading as Gini)
Thales Transport & Security (Hong Kong) Limited
Litegrid Holdings Limited
Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Limited
Fujitsu Asia Pte Ltd.
Digital G Limited
- A team of 23 lawyers across the firm’s global network, led by Paul Haswell, Thomas Ho and Tiffany Ho in the Hong Kong office designed and delivered an online “Digital Nanodegree” for HSBC, a legal training programme for the entirety of HSBC’s global in-house legal team.
- Assisting Utterberry (a tech company that provides artificially intelligent wireless smart sensor systems for infrastructure monitoring) in the process of commercialising its technology for use both in the UK and Asia Pacific.
- Continue to assist Gini, a growing startup, in the process of commercialising a new B2B product providing analytics to businesses, preparing the contractual documents on behalf of Gini and also addressing various copyright concerns in the process of their UI design.
Allen & Overy
Led from Hong Kong by corporate partner Will McAuliffe and also able to leverage a sizeable presence in mainland China (as well as throughout its broader international network), Allen & Overy has a particularly strong track record advising on inbound and outbound TMT-related M&A mandates and joint venture structuring. The team also regularly advises on the regulatory aspects of fintech matters, including on blockchain, cryptocurrency, initial coin offerings (ICOs), and virtual currency issues.
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 recent enquiries about 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.
Led by corporate partner Joshua Cole , Ashurst is best-known for its M&A-related work in the TMT sector. The team's ability to leverage additional resources on the ground in numerous key Asian jurisdictions, ensures that it is able to provide a one-stop-shop service on mandates involving multiple jurisdictions in the region. This was underscored by Cole's representation (alongside numerous lawyers based out of Singapore) of Hyundai in relation to the establishment of a $4bn autonomous driving joint venture with Aptiv Plc. Counsel Hoi Tak Leung is also a key member of the team, and combines commercial contracts, regulatory and IP expertise to effectively serve the needs of fintech-related and emerging technology clients.
Other key lawyers:
Hyundai Motor Group
WeChat Pay / Fusion Bank
Jiangsu Shagang Group Company Limited
Choi Shun Investment Limited
- Advising Facebook on their digital infrastructure and sub-sea telecom projects across Asia and internationally – including the Bay to Bay Express Cable System.
- Advising Tencent on the international expansion of WeChat and WeChat Pay across Asia and internationally.
- Advising Hyundai on the establishment of a $4bn joint venture with Aptiv Plc for the design, development and commercialisation of software technologies, services, systems, vehicle architecture and other related offerings with respect to Level 4 and 5 autonomous driving.
Co-headed by corporate/commercial partner Machiuanna Chu and IP partner Charmaine Koo, Deacons has strong coverage across a range of TMT-related transactional, advisory, and litigation work, including on data breach and cutting-edge blockchain matters. Formerly an in-house lawyer for a major global media and entertainment company, Koo has excellent insight into work in this space and is regularly instructed by key stakeholders in the industry, including film studios and music publishers on commercial contract matters and contractual/IP-related disputes work. The team was bolstered by the arrival of counsel Alice Li from Osborne Clarke in June 2020, particularly in light of her aptitude at handling corporate and commercial matters related to emerging and disruptive technologies.
Triumph International, Inc.
eSun Holdings Limited
- Representing Gmedia in a patent infringement action against Hong Kong-listed technology giant Tencent Holdings in Hong Kong in relation to QR code technology
- Representing Alibaba in IP infringement proceedings commenced in Hong Kong by cosmetics supplier Mary Kay against three Alibaba companies, Zhejiang Tmall Network Co., Ltd, Zhejiang Tmall Technology Co., Ltd and Taobao China Holding Limited and two Mainland China third-party sellers on the www.tmall.com and www.taobao.com platform involving Internet Platform’s liability as well as complex cross-border jurisdictional issues.
- Acting for PCCW Group in a telecoms patent infringement court proceedings brought against them by a US entity, Two-Way Media Ltd in the Hong Kong Court of First Instance.
Herbert Smith Freehills
Working on its own, as well as in conjunction with lawyers from the firm's other Asian offices, including Singapore and mainland China, Herbert Smith Freehills has a particular sweet-spot advising large financial institutions adapt to the increasing digitisation and tech-driven nature of the industry, including on the structuring of joint venture arrangements to facilitate virtual banking operations. The firm's broader commercial litigation function also regularly handles TMT disputes. Counsel Sheena Loi heads up the team and in addition to her corporate work in the sector, also has expertise handling strategic outsourcing and procurement projects, data privacy, and cybersecurity matters.
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 Standard Chartered on the establishment of one of Hong Kong’s new digital banks, a joint venture with PCCW, HKT and Trip.com, branded Mox.
- 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.
Led by corporate and commercial head Richard Bates, Kennedys handles a significant amount of IT-related contractual and data privacy work for the firm's impressive roster of insurance clients. Often working closely with other practitioners throughout the firm's Asia Pacific network of offices, the team has a particular strength in relation to project managing the incident response process for corporates in the region following data breach incidents. Healthcare is another area of sector focus and the firm has been increasingly active advising on TMT-related issues, as clients in the sector become increasingly tech-driven.
Other key lawyers:
Beijing Magic Data Technology
Hong Kong Hospital Authority
mSolution Consultants Limited
Senior Citizen Home Safety Association
- Advising the Hong Kong Hospital Authority on the legal issues involved in the development of artificial intelligence systems.
- Advising FWD on the data privacy issues surrounding the establishment of a new online broker.
- Assisting mSolution Consultants assisted mSolution with a contractual arrangement to manufacture, install and maintain monitoring equipment in Hong Kong marine vessels.
Headed by Betty Yap and Jack Lange, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison's corporate practice has a strong track record advising financial sponsors and corporates on TMT-related M&A work. Yap, in particular, excels in this area and has recently handled numerous fintech-related mandates, including advising Hillhouse Capital in a joint venture to establish a virtual bank in Hong Kong.
Amtrust Financial Services
- Advised Wumei, one of the largest retailers in China, on its €1.9bn acquisition of Germany’s Metro AG’s retail, wholesale and cash and carry operations in China, including Metro AG’s majority interest in some 45 subsidiaries.
- Advised Asia-based private equity firm Hillhouse Capital in a joint venture to establish a virtual bank in Hong Kong.
- Advising a consortium of investors including General Atlantic, Warburg Pincus, Ocean Link Partners and the 58.com CEO and Chairman Jinbo Yao, in its proposed acquisition of 58.com, a China-based online classifieds marketplace, for an enterprise value of $8.7bn.