Stephenson Harwood > Shanghai, China > Firm Profile

Stephenson Harwood

China > Fintech: foreign firms Tier 2

Stephenson Harwood‘s enviable client base includes banks, virtual banks, e-commerce platform operators,  and insurance companies. The Hong Kong-based practice regularly advises clients on the application of new technologies to existing face-to-face businesses models, including P2P lending, and other payment systems.  With over four decades of experience, fintech department head Mark Reed specialises in providing fintech companies with banking, finance, insolvency, employment and financial services regulatory advice; and the recent experience of fintech partner Katherine Liu includes working with fintech unicorns and multinational financial institutions on establishing and developing their online businesses. In 2020, the firm closed its Beijing office.

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Key clients

Airstar Bank

Futu Securities International (Hong Kong)

Futu Lending


Airwallex (Hong Kong)

HKT Flexi


Work highlights

  • Acted for Airstar Bank, a joint venture between the AMTD Group and Xiaomi Corporation and one of the first entities to secure a virtual banking licence from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
  • Advised Twopresents, a Hong Kong-incorporated online charitable fund-raising not-for-profit platform, on whether it needed a financial regulatory licence for its charitable fund-raising and money-processing activities (among others).

China > Shipping: foreign firms Tier 2

Well known for its regional strengths in asset finance, Stephenson Harwood‘s Shanghai-based finance lawyers advise major international banks, as well as large and major finance leasing companies, on complex asset-backed loans, syndicated loans, multiple-loan structures, pre-and post-delivery financings, and sale and leaseback transactions. On the litigation side, the marine and international trade team is frequently sought out to resolve disputes beyond traditional dispute resolution methods, including the use of injunctive relief and mediation. Besides handling contentious shipping matters, Evangeline Quek has developed a robust transactional practice, through which she advises financial leasing institutions and owners on suites of operational leasing documents. Notable growth in the team includes the May 2021 promotion of Simone Liu to partner.

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Key clients

China Development Bank

China Development Bank Financial Leasing

Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores

Everbright Fortune International Leasing

Guodian Shipping (Hong Kong) Co

ICBC Financial Leasing

The Export-Import Bank of China

CMB Financial Leasing

Pantainer (HK)

Panalpina World Transport (Japan)

Work highlights

  • Advised CMB Financial Leasing on a leasing deal for five containerships that French carrier CMA CGM is ordering in China from China State Shipbuilding Corporation.

China > Restructuring and insolvency: foreign firms Tier 3

Stephenson Harwood‘s large contentious insolvency practice in Hong Kong regularly acts on cases with complex cross-border elements, including matters involving fraud issues, as well as major court actions on behalf of insolvency practitioners. Greater China practice head Jamie Stranger acts for liquidators, provisional liquidators, receivers and bankruptcy trustees in formal insolvency proceedings, as well as creditors, debtors and shareholders on corporate restructuring, debt restructuring, schemes, buy-outs and other work-out arrangements.

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The Stephenson Harwood team is well known in the restructuring and insolvency field for getting the job done quickly and efficiently, and at rates that are very reasonable compared to its peers.

Alexander Tang is well known for his restructuring and insolvency expertise and knowledge. He is devoted to his clients, and gets the job done quickly and efficiently.

Key clients


Soc Gen


Safe Castle

Xio Cayman


Less Longmen

Duff & Phelps

Finance & Risk Services (Bermuda)

Grant Thornton

Work highlights

  • Acted for the joint and several provisional liquidators of CECEP COSTIN New Materials Group on various matters, including debt restructuring issues.
  • Assisted the liquidators of Shanghai Huaxin Group (Hong Kong) with the sale of assets.
  • Acted for Société Générale (SG) in relation to the liquidation of a Singapore-based marine bunkering business, to which SG had provided banking facilities.

China > Banking and finance: foreign firms Tier 4

Based in Hong Kong, Stephenson Harwood‘s experienced banking and finance team has notable expertise in ship and trade finance matters; the team is also regularly instructed in asset and structured finance, fintech, and secured and unsecured lending mandates. Mark Reed heads the non-contentious side of the finance and regulatory groups; King-Tak Fung is a banking and international trade expert, and Elton Chan specialises in a range of financing transactions particularly in asset and trade finance.

Practice head(s):


‘The firm is very professional and efficient in ship financing.’

‘Professional and efficient service team.’

Teresa is qualified in both English law and Hong Kong law. She not only has experience in traditional banking finance and institutional financing, but also provide high-quality legal services according to different transaction structures and client needs. She also has relevant experience in aircraft/ship financial leasing and construction engineering.’

Key clients

Bank of China (Hong Kong)

China Construction Bank Corporation (Hong Kong Branch)

China Construction Bank (Asia) Corporation


Metro Holdings

TNG (Asia)

China Merchants Bank Co (Hong Kong Branch)

Unitas Group Company


HKT Flexi

Work highlights

  • Advising China Merchants Bank Co (Hong Kong Branch) on multiple PRC onshore guarantee and onshore loans.
  • Advised Unitas Group Company on the secured term loan facilities arranged by two major commercial banks for the financing of the acquisition and redevelopment costs of an industrial building in Hong Kong.

China > Dispute resolution: Litigation: foreign firms Tier 4

Stephenson Harwood’s Hong Kong-based team, led by Ivan Ng, is well versed in handling multi-jurisdictional IP, construction and financial disputes for high-value clients across a range of sectors. The team is particularly strong in handling litigations involving international trade finance and PRC elements, and is recommended for representing PRC clients in large cross-border disputes, particularly shareholders disputes (in which Ng and senior associate Emily Li is a key name to note). The firm also has an association with Chinese law firm Wei Tu Law Firm in Guangzhou, enabling it to advise on both Hong Kong and PRC law. Greater China managing partner Jamie Stranger focuses on corporate insolvency, commercial litigation, fraud and professional liability.

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Key clients

Purple Surgical UK Limited

Employees of China Shanshui Investment Limited

Dan Form International Limited and its owner (a high net worth PRC individual)

Société Générale

HWH Holdings Limited

Phillips Fine Watches Limited

The joint and several liquidators of Shanghai Huaxin (Hong Kong) Limited



OCBC Wing Hang Bank Limited

Hongkong Chaung Yue Co. Limited and its owner (a high net worth PRC individual)

Incomlend Pte. Ltd.

FundPark Limited

Raiffeisen Bank International AG


China Tailong Green Power Group Limited

Agricultural Bank of China

SinoPac Securities (Asia) Limited

FTI Consulting (Hong Kong) Limited

Hiro Bharwani

Deepak Pagarani

Work highlights

  • Represented over 2000 employees and minority shareholders in China Shanshui Investment Company Limited in regards to its management of China Shanshui Cement Group Company Limited.
  • Acted for CECEP COSTIN New Materials Limited and its joint provisional liquidators regarding its debt restructuring.
  • Acted for Purple Surgical UK Limited in a dispute pertaining to a breach of a sale and purchase agreement and of an escrow agreement.

China > Intellectual property: foreign firms Tier 4

Stephenson Harwood‘s Hong Kong-based IP team serves an impressive client base across the TMT, retail, hotels, life sciences, construction, and food and beverage sectors; and it regularly works alongside the firm’s other offices, including the London IP group. In 2020, the firm shut its Beijing office and Jezamine Fewins left the firm in January 2022 to join Lewis Silkin.

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The firm pays special attention to the maintenance and cultivation of client relations, provides clients with professional intellectual property services in multiple languages. With years of international practical experience and in-depth study of intellectual property laws and regulations in various countries, they provide clients with a package of intellectual property protection plans, as well as effective advice on layout and strategy.’

The team pays special attention to the client experience and can always respond to the client’s needs at the shortest time. They provide outstanding service with good communication and high professionalism.’

Key clients


Asia Standard Hotel Group

Korn Ferry

Utmost Worldwide

Bell Textron


Diva International

BigHit Entertainment Co

Azores Life Science

Work highlights

  • Advising GSK, the British multinational pharmaceutical company, on an application to revoke three registered designs of Chia Tai Tainqing Pharmaceutical Holdings Company, on the grounds that its inhaler designs are not novel and substantially similar to those of GSK.
  • Assisting Asia Standard Hotel Group with registering its trade marks in the US and Canada, where applications have been vigorously opposed by entities that are offering hotel and temporary accommodation.
  • Assisted Korn Ferry with managing and restructuring its trade mark portfolio in Hong Kong, which followed complex transactions and a group restructuring.

The firm: Stephenson Harwood is a law firm with over 1,100 people worldwide, including more than 180 partners. Our people are committed to achieving the goals of our clients – listed and private companies, institutions and individuals.

The firm offers multilingual and multidisciplinary services from two offices in Greater China. Its lawyers based in Hong Kong and Shanghai have been providing quality English and Hong Kong law advice to clients within and outside Greater China since 1979. The firm’s lawyers also advise on selected aspects of laws of other jurisdictions.

Established in 1979, the Hong Kong office was the first of Stephenson Harwoods’ Greater China offices. However, the firm has a long history of acting as a gateway between East and West, starting in 1867 when one of the firm’s founders William Harwood opened an office in Shanghai. The firm was one of the first UK firms to open in Hong Kong and then mainland China (PRC). We are celebrating our 40 years anniversary in 2019.

Stephenson Harwood’s Greater China offices offer a comprehensive spectrum of its global services including finance, corporate, dispute resolution and private wealth. Working hand-in-hand with our regional offices and associations in Guangzhou, Jakarta, Seoul, Singapore and other parts of Asia, the firm is able to provide a comprehensive Asian law service to clients operating within Asia.

In 2016, Stephenson Harwood entered into a CEPA association under the name ‘Stephenson Harwood – Wei Tu (China) Association’ with independent PRC law firm Wei Tu. CEPA (Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement) is a free-trade agreement concluded between PRC and Hong Kong. Under CEPA, Hong Kong-law firms are permitted to operate in association with PRC law firms to provide comprehensive legal services in PRC governed by PRC and non-PRC laws. The association allows Stephenson Harwood to offer a ‘one-stop service’ for Hong Kong, English and PRC law advice, with Wei Tu providing the PRC advice.

The Shanghai office has a particular focus on ship finance, marine and international trade. It is one of the few international law firms with a base in mainland China and a truly international shipping practice. The team is able to advise on cross-border shipping matters, drawing closely on the expertise of colleagues based in Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, Dubai, Paris, Piraeus and the United Kingdom. Our dedicated lawyers represent Chinese corporates, international banks, insurance companies, shipping, shipbuilding and trading companies.

The depth and importance of the firms relationships with our clients and our common sense approach to achieving results allow Stephenson Harwood to become your trusted advisor.

Asset finance: shipping Simone Liu
Dispute resolution Evangeline Quek
Marine & International Trade Evangeline Quek
Simone Liu photo Simone LiuPartner
Evangeline Quek photo Evangeline QuekOffice managing partner Shanghai
Vincent Xu photo Vincent XuConsultant
Number of lawyers : 500+
Greater China : 70+
Chinese (Mandarin)
Contacts : Evangeline Quek (Office managing partner, Shanghai)
Contacts : Simone Liu (Partner)

We have employee networks, which are for and run by our people to contribute to fostering our inclusive and healthy culture. They create a sense of belonging by celebrating diversity, connecting people across the business and increasing awareness across the business. Our Hong Kong network focuses on gender equality, LGBTQ+, Mental health and disability and social mobility. We partner with a range of organisations who help us create the diverse and inclusive workplace that we strive to be. Two of our key partnerships are with Project WeCan and the Women’s Foundation Male Allies initiative.

Social Mobility – Project WeCan

We focus on creating opportunities for people with different socio-economic backgrounds and from minority groups. We partner with Project WeCan by Wharf Holdings in Hong Kong to offer summer internships for disadvantaged secondary school students.

  • We are proud to be the first law firm to join Wharf’s Project WeCan programme in 2018, with the aim to provide disadvantaged secondary school students with resources and support to empower them to pursue higher studies and promising careers.
  • Over the past three years, our CSR and D&I representatives have worked closely with the Project WeCan team and our partnering school to organise a wide variety of activities, such as Fun Day in our office, mock interviews, presentation workshops, and a café opening in the school. Most recently we started the English
    Buddy workshop which we hosted virtually for the students.
  • On 27 September 2019, we hosted the Project WeCan partners sharing session in our Hong Kong office. Over 80 representatives from 48 Project WeCan partners organisations came together to share ideas and experience on working with their partner schools. In 2021, we were once again invited by Project WeCan to be one of the presenters for the virtual partners sharing session.
  • We have provided speakers for a number of Project WeCan events. Our partner KT Fung, who is an experienced public speaker spoke to over 200 students on the “Project WeCan – Career Exploration Online Platform” during COVID-19. The presentation, entitled “Equip Yourself for the Future” aimed to inspire students and support them to better prepare for their future. KT Fung has also run a business skills workshop for students who had participated in the Young Innovators Bazaar.

Gender Equality – The Women’s Foundation Male Allies Initiative

We are focused on creating an inclusive working environment, developing programmes to assist equal opportunities for advancement of women and men within the firm. We are participating in the 2019-2020 iteration of the Male Allies initiative run by The Women’s Foundation (TWF), a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in Hong Kong. Male Allies are business leaders who leverage their collective influence and personal engagement to advance gender equality within their organisations and, more broadly, across the Hong Kong business community. The aim is to improve our culture around gender equality and encourage discussion, self-reflection and analysis within the office, and to benefit from best practice sharing across participating organisations in Hong Kong.

We also aim to share people stories to inspire and promote conversation. For example, we hosted a Q&A session with our former CEO Sharon White, who shared her experiences and perspectives. Sharon talked about her own career path and, leadership roles, women that have inspired her and the importance of support as careers progress.