Morrison Foerster > Hong Kong, Hong Kong > Firm Profile

Morrison Foerster
EDINBURGH TOWER 33/F, THE LANDMARK
15 QUEEN'S ROAD CENTRAL
HONG KONG
Hong Kong

Hong Kong > Investment funds Tier 2

Led by the ‘solutions-oriented’ Serena Tan and Nicholas Sheets, Morrison Foerster‘s 13-strong team has the depth of knowledge to handle a significant range and volume of work for a GP-focused client base within the closed-end alternative fund space. It acts for some large global funds on their Asia-focused work, and is particularly prolific in advising regional private equity and venture capital funds, including Hony Capital and Soft Bank Ventures Asia. It also handles investor work and has strong relationships with numerous leading regional insurance companies, acting in their capacity as LPs. Tan ‘is a leading Chinese speaking fund formation lawyer’ and is highly recommended for advising in the formation of, and investment in, private funds (including USD funds, RMB funds, and dual-currency funds).

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘The team has a strong flow of formation work for investment funds. This allows them to know what market terms are for various kinds of funds. This is particularly helpful when negotiating with strong LPs.’

Their bilingual offering is a significant value-add as Hong Kong companies like us are expanding at unprecedented speed across the globe. In addition, they are extremely knowledgeable in various key jurisdictions (we’ve engaged them on US/EU/mainland China/HK matters) to actionable business plans that lines up to our business goals and expansion.’

Serena Tan provides highly practical legal advice and useful market practice insights.’

‘Serena Tan is a leading Chinese speaking fund formation lawyer. Her practice covers most of the key players in the PRC fund industry so she has good insight into how LPs and GPs think in this area. ’

Serena Tan is solutions-oriented and fully understands her clients’ needs.’

Key clients

Ally Bridge Group

Ascendent Capital Partners Asia

BHG Long Hills

C-Bridge Capital

Fosun International Group

FWD Group

GLP PTE, Ltd. (GLP)

Hony Capital

KHL

Makers Fund

Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia

SBVA Future Innovation Fund

Silicon Valley Bank

SoftBank Ventures Asia

Sympath Capital

The Wharf (Holdings) Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Softbank Ventures Asia in the operation of China Ventures Fund I, L.P., a fund making venture capital investments in the consumer internet, media and AI sectors in mainland China.
  • Advising the sponsor’s private equity investment arm in its formation of a PRC-domiciled, RMB-denominated private investment fund focusing on investments in China.
  • Assisting the sponsor with the formation of a real estate fund. The fund aims to attract reputable institutional investors and plans to invest in prime retail projects located in national central cities across mainland China.

Hong Kong > TMT Tier 2

Benefiting from its team's 'in-depth industry and local practice knowledge' across Greater China, Morrison Foerster provides 'responsive and practical' advice on the gamut of inbound and outbound TMT-related mandates. Its varied workload includes technology transfer matters, data privacy/cyber security regulatory issues, software licensing and cloud-related advice. 'Outstanding' team head Gordon Milner provides 'legal advice that is of strategic value', including in the context of sophisticated cross-border commercial technology projects. Leveraging the firm's strong private equity/venture capital offering, the team also provides vital IP/tech input in relation to TMT-related M&A, where it acts for both investors and investees. Thomas Chou and the 'insightful' Marcia Ellis are key contacts for private equity/venture capital-related TMT work.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘The firm has great in-depth industry and local practice knowledge.’

‘The firm has a strong practice in TMT sector. The partners and associates are responsive, professional and have deep and practical knowledge of industries. They are also keen to learn the businesses of their clients.’

‘Gordon Milner is a respectful and outstanding lawyer. Gordon has many years’  of experience in advising tech companies on different sorts of deals, ranging from M&A, fundraising, tech transaction, software licensing, and cloud-related regulations. He is trustworthy, responsive and an excellent negotiator.’

Marcia Ellis stands out as a leading practitioner in the space and her reputation is unparalleled. She is insightful and always a reliable resource for us.’

The team is able to support us with clear, timely and valuable advice, even when we were only able to provide limited context at times due to unknowns. This has helped us greatly in our decision making and risk management.’

Key clients

Airbnb

Alibaba Group

Dairy Farm

Oracle

Princeton Digital Group

Quraz

Roblox

SoftBank

SoftBank Vision Fund

Verizon Unity

Work highlights

  • Advised Roblox on its joint venture with Tencent (Luobu) and the establishment and launch of the Roblox platform in China – the first foreign online game platform with user-generated games and revenue-sharing to obtain a government license in China.
  • Advised the Dairy Farm Group (through DFI Development (HK) Limited) on establishing a strategic partnership with Hang Seng Bank to construct a new customer loyalty and reward program built upon the current “enJoy” co-branded credit card program on the Hong Kong market.
  • Advised Alibaba Group Holding Limited on Ant Group’s proposed initial public offering.

Hong Kong > Capital markets (equity) Tier 3

Very knowledgeable about the IPO process’, Morrison Foerster’s ‘lean but effective team can deliver a consistently high-quality service, especially on mid-cap transactions’. Proactive efforts and early mover advantage among Chinese banks has reaped dividends and ensures that it picks up a significant amount underwriter side work, alongside its robust issuer practice. Drawing upon the firm’s market-leading overarching TMT and biotech sector strengths, the team, which is led by Hong Kong and New York-qualified partner Venantius Tan, is particularly skilled at advising on ECM transactions. ‘Very approachable and down-to-earth’ New York-law qualified partner Ke Huang is adept at advising issuers and underwriters in Rule 144A and Regulation S international equity and debt offerings throughout Asia, and has also developed niche expertise advising pre-revenue biotech companies on their Hong Kong IPOs under Chapter 18A of the Listing Rules.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘The go-to firm for Hong Kong IPO related matters. They are very knowledgeable about the IPO process.’

The lean but effective team can deliver a consistently high-quality service, especially on mid-cap transactions.’

Vivian Yiu is able to practical and solutions-oriented advice on some thorny issues.’

‘Vivian Yiu has more than 20 years of experience advising on a broad range of corporate transactions, including primary and secondary equity offerings in Hong Kong, PIPEs, public M&A transactions, cross-border M&A transactions and formation of joint ventures.’

‘Huang Ke is very approachable and down-to-earth, and his technical skills are unparallelled.’

Key clients

CLSA Capital Markets Limited

Huatai Financial Holdings (Hong Kong) Limited

Controlling shareholders of Shenzhou International Group Holdings Limited

Greenland Hong Kong Holdings Limited

Oriental University City Holdings (H.K.) Limited

Alibaba Group Holding Limited

Poly Property Group Co., Limited

TATA Health International Holdings Limited

Kindstar Global Beijing Technology Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised the joint sponsors, CLSA Capital Markets Limited and Huatai Financial Holdings (Hong Kong) Limited, and underwriters in relation to Jinke Smart Services Group IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
  • Advised Alibaba Group Holding Limited in connection with Ant Group’s proposed IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (and STAR Board).
  • Acted for the controlling shareholders on their approximately HK$5bn block trade of shares in Shenzhou International Group Holdings.

Hong Kong > Corporate (including M&A) Tier 3

At Morrison Foerster, key distinguishers of the practice include its proficiency in SPAC transactions as well as its first-rate expertise in the TMT sector. Thomas Chou, who has worked in both the US and APAC region, is among the standout names locally with solid experience in cross border M&A, joint ventures, venture capital financings and private equity transactions. Further names to note include Marcia Ellis, global chair of the firm’s private equity group, and Vivian Yiu who supports state-owned and private Chinese enterprises, as well as multinational corporates, on a broad variety of cross-border deals. Other key sectors of focus include E-commerce, life sciences, healthcare, education and data centres.

Testimonials

‘Partner are very hands-on and responsive, with great technical skills. Flexible in billing and full service in multi-jurisdictions.’

‘A great service is provided by Ruomu Li.’

‘The inter-connectivity between the firm’s global teams is seamless, resulting in smooth, real-time client service across locations and timezones. For example, my team members are based in USA, Germany and Hong Kong and MF was able to have senior-level touchpoints at all times to ensure our speed to IPO filing was fast. this was crucial as we are listing a SPAC where speed to filing counts.’

Key clients

Ark Pacific Capital

Ally Bridge Group

Alibaba Group

Ascendent Capital Partners

Bain Capital Credit

BlackRock

Celadon Partners

Farallon Capital Asia

GLP

Intudo Ventures

NewQuest Capital Partners

Softbank

Softbank Vision Fund

Silver Crest

SIMIC Holdings

Princeton Digital Group

Vectr Ventures

Work highlights

  • Advising SoftBank Group Corp. and SoftBank Vision Fund on the $40bn sale of UK-headquartered multinational semiconductor and software design company Arm Limited to U.S. chip company NVIDIA.
  • Advising a leading institutional investor in connection with Grab’s proposed merger with a special purpose acquisition company.
  • Advised Alibaba Group Holding Limited on Ant Group’s proposed initial public offering.

Hong Kong > Private equity Tier 4

Morrison Foerster is well placed to handle Greater China deals, with a presence in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. It has recently seen and uptick in special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deals in Asia and is active in a range of sectors, including e-commerce, data centers, life sciences, healthcare and education. The team is led by Thomas Chou and Marcia Ellis, with Chou handling M&A deals in the TMT space, and Ellis covering the entire ecosystem of private equity work.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Chou; Marcia Ellis; Ruomu Li (Shanghai); Lucy Lu (Beijing)

Testimonials

‘Strong team at all levels, smart and commercial’.

‘Marcia Ellis is exceptional, solutions-driven, bright and experienced’.

Marcia Ellis is probably the best private equity lawyer you can find in Hong Kong and China markets, after practicing law for many years. We were very impressed by her deep legal knowledge as well as commercial awareness. I can completely trust and rely on her to lead our projects.’

‘Client service is exceptional, professional, accurate and timely with strong commercial acumen’.

‘As a client, I feel my time is valued by just simply focusing on key issues and resting the details for them to handle’.

‘Thomas Chou is a strong advocate for his client, offering strategic and actionable advice, evaluating and clearly prioritising the key issues in complex situations and proactively anticipating concerns from counterparties in negotiations’.

‘I particularly appreciate Thomas Chou’s competence in offering pragmatic and commercial advice in complex situations’.

‘The team has deep experience in the market, is very responsive, and thorough on analysis’. 

Key clients

Ark Pacific Capital

Ally Bridge Group

Alibaba Group

Ascendent Capital Partners

Bain Capital Credit

BlackRock

Celadon Partners

Farallon Capital Asia

GLP

Intudo Ventures

NewQuest Capital Partners

Prax Capital

Princeton Digital Group

Serenity Capital

SoftBank

SoftBank Vision Fund

Silver Crest Acquisition Corp.

SIMIC Holdings

Vectr Ventures

Work highlights

  • Advising SoftBank Group Corp. and SoftBank Vision Fund in the $40bn sale of UK-headquartered multinational semiconductor and software design company Arm Limited to U.S. chip company NVIDIA.
  • Advising a leading institutional investor on Grab’s proposed merger with a special purpose acquisition company.
  • Advised Ally Bridge Group (HK) Limited in its investment in connection with ATEA Pharmaceutical, Inc’s US$215million Series D Preferred financing.

Hong Kong > Regulatory: anti-corruption and compliance Tier 4

Morrison Foerster has experience of all types of investigations and regulatory compliance issues such as US economic sanctions, anti-money laundering, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, securities and accounting fraud, and related governance and corporate compliance issues. The team, led by Timothy Blakely, works closely with the firm's other offices across Asia. Blakely is supported by Sarah Thomas and B Chen Zhu, who joined in 2020 from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.

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Testimonials

‘MoFo excels in providing practical advice. Rather than just reciting laws and regulations, MoFo is good at explaining “dos and don’ts” based on its reading of the laws and regulations.’

‘Tim Blakely responds timely to client emails. He not only has deep knowledge in compliance matters but also articulates clearly in terms of recommendations and next steps.’

‘MoFo is recommended for the firm’s sanctions practice led by former Director of the U.S. Treasury Department’s OFAC, John Smith. It is unique that it understands the business needs of its FI customers and the pain points and business needs of FIs with exposure to US nexus.’

‘Zhu Chen is well-versed in advising clients on sanctions issues. Any e-mail or request we get an answer within 24 hours and they always know the answer.’

‘I have worked with Zhu Chen and Gary Zeng. I appreciate their commerciality, practical advice, and speedy responses.’

Hong Kong > Dispute resolution: litigation Tier 5

Morrison Foerster‘s dispute resolution team ‘excels at handling complex litigation with multiple jurisdictions involved‘, often between Asia and the US. Practice head Timothy Blakely is ‘truly exceptional‘ and specialises in commercial cases and investment fund recoveries; along with B. Chen Zhu, who joined from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in August 2020. The duo are renowned for their government and internal investigations work. Building on the firm’s strengths in TMT, it has also seen a recent uptick in technology and IP-related proceedings, including copyright and trade mark infringements. Recently promoted of counsel Jessica Chan is another significant name.

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Testimonials

‘The team provides excellent service and are able to expeditiously handle court-related matters during challenging times of Covid.’

‘One thing about the MoFo Hong Kong office is that they often work on market-changing cases. They excel in handling complex litigation with multiple jurisdictions involved. What sets their Hong Kong-based dispute resolution practice apart from other firms is exceptional service combined with deep knowledge of local/regional legal issues and practice as well as practical, business-oriented legal advice.’

‘We work with Sarah Thomas and Jessica Chan on litigation matters; they both provide us with a top-notch service and are able to adjust their approach, taking into account commercial considerations and the responses from the counter-party.’

‘Timothy Blakely is a highly skilled and industrious practitioner. He is very thoughtful and always provides sensible and insightful advise to clients.’

‘Tim Blakely is truly exceptional. He is an excellent strategic thinker, provides business-oriented and practical legal advice, and is well-versed in not just Hong Kong and China legal issues, but in APAC legal issues generally.’

Key clients

Softbank Group Corp.

Work highlights

  • Advising Softbank Group on obtaining documentary and testimonial evidence in Hong Kong and Mainland China for use in a high-profile action filed by WeWork in the Delaware Chancery Courtand, and representing Softbank Group in the related Hong Kong actions.

China > TMT: foreign firms Tier 1

Catering to a stellar list of industry-leading companies, Morrison Foerster‘s dedicated China TMT team has approximately two decades of on-the-ground experience. Leveraging robust venture capital and private equity fund practices, the practice is a go-to destination for leading technology investors and start-ups. Heading the firm’s Asia technology practice from Hong Kong, Gordon Milner advises a wide spectrum of clients, from international technology companies and banks to local start-ups, and has particular expertise in cross-border technology projects; and Chuan Sun in Shanghai focuses on sophisticated TMT deals, as well as complex IP and commercial matters. Also integral to the practice are Beijing and Shanghai managing partner Paul McKenzie, who ‘has very rich experience‘. In Hong Kong, Thomas Chou‘s recent experience includes leading on major TMT-related matters, and Marcia Ellis is global private equity chair. At the associate level, Shanghai’s Tian Zhou is ‘an exceptional lawyer‘.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

Great local practice and industry-specific knowledge.

The firm provides practical advice that takes into consideration both business and legal aspects, and their solutions are feasible, while highlighting the relevant risks and how to mitigate such risks.

The team is professional, responsive and reliable, and it is willing to adapt to clients’ billing systems (for example CounselGo/Simple Legal) and other efficiency tools, such as Box, Zoom, Wechat) – they and can provide instant feedback when there is a need.

They are trustworthy advisers who have provided great legal support to us during critical deals.

They are very responsive and can provide a holistic view of deals and market practice, as well as valuable support during deal negotiations.

I am always impressed by Paul McKenzie, the managing partner of MoFo China. He has very rich experience in China corporate, PE/VC deals, and data privacy matters. Paul and his team provide a lot of value-added support that we could not obtain from other law firms.

Paul McKenzie and associate Tian Zhou are great collaborators and solution providers.

Tian Zhou is an exceptional lawyer, who is very dedicated to her work and can work and communicate well with her clients. She works long hours for her client and delivers high-quality legal work products within very tight timeframes.

Key clients

Airbnb

Alibaba Group

Dairy Farm

Oracle

Princeton Digital Group

Quraz

Roblox

SoftBank

SoftBank Vision Fund

Verizon

Unity

Work highlights

  • Advised Roblox on its joint venture with Tencent (Luobu) and the establishment and launch of the Roblox platform in China, marking the first foreign online game platform with user-generated games and revenue-sharing to obtain a government licence in China.
  • Advised the Dairy Farm Group, through DFI Development (HK), on establishing a strategic partnership with Hang Seng Bank to construct a new customer loyalty and reward programme.
  • Advised Alibaba Group Holding on Ant Group’s proposed IPO.

China > Dispute resolution: Litigation: foreign firms Tier 4

Morrison Foerster’s China practice is based in Hong Kong and led by managing partner Timothy Blakely; it covers a wide range of corporate and commercial disputes across sectors and jurisdictions. Blakelyregularly works with of counsel Jessica Chan on shareholder disputes, fraud allegations and disputes arising from real estate investment. Chen Zhu joined from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in 2020, and excels in securities fraud, compliance and anti-corruption matters.

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Key clients

Softbank Group Corp.

Work highlights

  • Advised Softbank Group on obtaining documentary and testimonial evidence in Hong Kong and Mainland China for use in a case before the Delaware Chancery Court.

Singapore > Investment funds: foreign firms

Morrison Foerster (Singapore) gained considerable market share in the investment funds field since Jason Nelms transferred to the Singapore office from Hong Kong in 2019. Linking up with private equity real estate expert Shirin Tang, the team has landed a series of major clients and engagements in the private equity, real estate and venture capital segments. More recently, it has experienced further growth in instructions from logistics and data centre-focused funds but remains best known for private equity real estate funds. The group represents a variety of international and Singapore-based GPs and LPs.

Practice head(s):

Jason Nelms; Shirin Tang; Lip Kian Ang; Paul Davis

Testimonials

‘Team is excellent. Tonnes of past experience that the client can leverage.’

‘Client service is exceptional, professional, accurate and timely with strong commercial acumen. As a client, I feel my time is valued by just simply focusing on the key issues and resting the details for them to handle. Moreover, they would initiate to offer professional training and update which are value adding (such as SPAC update and development).’

‘The group is commercial-minded and practical. They are always responsive at any hour of the day and move quickly to meet difficult deadlines.’

‘Strong communication skills with extremely rapid response time without compromising attention to detail.’

Jason Nelms – he has a range of expertise in various fund mandates with actionable advice and clear prioritisation for the key issues in complex situations. He is not only interpreting regulations, but he is also commercially savvy.’

‘Jason Nelms – strong communication skills with extremely rapid response time without compromising attention to detail, very clear and concise substantive analysis with actionable insights and commercially minded mindset, transparent and fair billing practices that put clients first.’

‘MoFo has a strong reputation for fund formation work in Asia, as well as in the types of technology-focused portfolio investments we often look at. Jason Nelms and his team, in particular, are as experienced as anyone in Asia, and always work through projects quickly and efficiently with us.’

‘Jason Nelms has been our lead contact. He is very commercial-minded and focused on solving issues quickly. He has been proactive in identifying areas for us to focus on and helping to steer the transaction to a successful closing. He is great at balancing the commercial and legal issues.’

Key clients

GLP Pte Ltd

Savills Investment Management

East Ventures

E15 VC

European Climate Foundation

Ibaera Capital Advisers Pty Ltd.

Taurus Funds Management

Touchstone Capital Partners

Vectr Ventures Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised GLP Pte. Ltd. on the formation of Japan’s largest private open-ended logistics real estate income fund (JIF).
  • Advised Savills Investment Management on the formation of Savills Investment Management Japan Residential Fund II, LP.
  • Advised European Climate Foundation, an international non-profit organization focused on the promotion of climate and energy policies to mitigate climate change, on its lead LP investment in Southeast Asia Clean Energy Facility, LP.

China > Private equity: foreign firms

Morrison Foerster’s Greater China team was recently particularly active in relation to private equity exits and special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deals. The practice is also a pre-eminent name for technology sector work, which includes e-commerce, data centre, life sciences, healthcare and education-related experience that is aligned with the firm’s robust finance and restructuring practices. On the mainland, Ruomu Li has approximately 15 years’ experience in M&A and PE transactions; the broad corporate practice of Lucy Lu includes private equity matters; and Beijing and Shanghai managing partner Paul McKenzie has been active in the China market for over two decades. The key associates in mainland China are Richard Ji, Alice Li and Tian Zhou; and the principal Hong Kong practitioners are Asia private equity group co-head, Thomas Chou, global private equity chair Marcia Ellis, cross-border specialist Vivian Yiu, and Chuan Sun (who also works in Shanghai).

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Testimonials

Strong team at all levels – smart and commercial.

The team has deep experience in the market, is very responsive, and thorough on analysis – also very helpful with restructuring matters.

MoFo’s private equity practice has the breadth of knowledge required to handle the full spectrum of PE transactions including take-privates, minority investments and buyouts.

The team is responsive and knowledgeable, and also has great understanding of what issues matter from the client’s perspective.

Marcia Ellis is not only technically knowledgeable, but commercially brilliant. She is extremely quick at understanding our key interests and concerns, and translates those into solutions, whether in terms of structuring or putting together a package of points to give and take during negotiation.

Marcia Ellis is exceptional – solutions driven, bright and experienced.

Marcia Ellis is very bright and experienced.

Ruomu Li is great at analysing local Chinese contexts.

Key clients

Ark Pacific Capital

Ally Bridge Group

Alibaba Group

Ascendent Capital Partners

Bain Capital Credit

BlackRock

Celadon Partners

Farallon Capital Asia

GLP

Intudo Ventures

NewQuest Capital Partners

Prax Capital

Princeton Digital Group

Serenity Capital

SoftBank

SoftBank Vision Fund

Silver Crest Acquisition Corp

SIMIC Holdings

Vectr Ventures

Work highlights

  • Advising SoftBank Group Corp and SoftBank Vision Fund on the $40bn sale of UK-headquartered multinational semiconductor and software design company, Arm, to US chip company NVIDIA.
  • Advising a leading institutional investor on Grab’s proposed merger with a special purpose acquisition company.
  • Advised Alibaba Group Holding on Ant Group’s proposed IPO.

China > Fintech: foreign firms

Leading financial services and technology firm Morrison Foerster showcases an experienced fintech team in China that combines substantial venture capital and private equity fund practices and is sought out by major technology investors and start-ups in addition to a number of tech giants. The practice advises on the regulatory requirements relating to e-commerce, and cloud issues in addition to advising on data and cyber security. In Hong Kong, practice head Gordon Milner has particular expertise in cross-border technology projects and Thomas Chou, who co-heads the firm’s Asia private equity group, works closely with emerging growth companies, as well as traditional and non-traditional investors. On the mainland, Shanghai-based Chuan Sun‘s clients range from multinational corporations and large state-owned enterprises to start-ups in the fintech/technology area; and managing partner of the Beijing and Shanghai offices, Paul McKenzie, regularly acts for companies in the IT/technology sectors.

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Key clients

Alibaba Group

Softbank Vision Fund

Roblox

Dairy Farn

Unity

Work highlights

  • Advised Roblox on its joint venture with Tencent (Luobu) and the establishment and launch of the Roblox platform in China, the first foreign online game platform with user-generated games and revenue-sharing to obtain a government licence in China.
  • Advised a leading institutional investor in Grab Holdings, in connection with Grab’s proposed merger with special purpose acquisition company, Altimeter Growth Corp.
  • Advised Alibaba Group Holding on Ant Group’s proposed IPO.

China > Life sciences and healthcare: foreign firms

With a practice driven by science and housing several PhD-qualified practitioners, Morrison Foerster‘s Greater China life sciences team advises on the full range of transactions arising during life sciences companies’ life cycle. It excels in licensing and technology transfer arrangements, monetisation schemes, strategic collaborations, dispute settlement agreements and joint ventures. The principal figures in Shanghai are Chuan Sun, who focuses on cross-border corporate/commercial transactions, and complex IP and regulatory matters; and Ruomu Li, who is active in life sciences sector deals, and whose career includes working in Silicon Valley. In Hong Kong, Thomas Chou is Asia private equity co-head, and Gordon Milner leads the Asia technology practice; both actively assist clients on high-value transactions.

Testimonials

Despite their different professional backgrounds and skills, the Hong Kong and US teams work well together.

Thomas Chou solves problems in a very patient, quick and effective way.

Key clients

Ally Bridge Group

CBC Group (formerly C-Bridge Capital)

Changchun High & New Technology Industry Group

Everest Medicines

Everest Medicines II

Henlius

Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co

Triastek

Xingren Trusted Doctors

Work highlights

  • Advised Ally Bridge Group on various growth, late stage and public life sciences investments across the US and Europe.
  • Advised subsidiaries of Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China on its capital and strategic alliance with Shionogi & Co.
  • Assisted Everest Medicines (and its subsidiaries) with certain IP opinions concerning the IPO and listing of Everest Medicines on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.

China > Data protection: foreign firms

Morrison Foerster’s privacy and data security practice advises on evolving privacy laws and regulations, as well as incident preparedness, response and litigation. The practice also handles data breach matters and is at the forefront of developing a number of technological tools for project management and exploring new technologies that result in cost savings. The principal figures are Beijing’s Paul McKenzie and Shanghai-based Chuan Sun, who both assist with data privacy and data security matters. Xuezi Dan and Tian Zhou are the associates to note.

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China > Investment funds: foreign firms

Acting for leading fund manager and investor clients, Morrison Foerster‘s funds practice recently attracted several new clients, spanning private equity, real estate and venture capital funds, as well as large bank and insurance company clients on the limited partner side. The Hong Kong-based team is co-led by Serena Tan, who is experienced in the formation of (and investment in) private funds and has significant international experience; and Nicholas Sheets, who advises Asia-based and China sponsors on the structuring, formation and offering of private equity funds, along with co-investment activities and secondary transactions.

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Testimonials

The team members are drawn from diverse backgrounds and the team has a good understanding of both China and the international funds market.’

We’ve worked with MoFo for over 3 years. We find MoFo’s bilingual funds team is extremely hard to find on the market and unique. Their bilingual offering is a significant value-add. In addition, they are extremely knowledgeable in various key jurisdictions (we’ve engaged them on US/EU/mainland China/HK matters) to actionable business plans that line up with our business goals and expansion. This high-quality standard is the reason why we engage them on multi-jurisdictional matters.’

‘Serena Tan has given us highly practical legal advice and useful market practice insights. Her advice is always delivered in a timely manner, even over weekends and public holidays. Her support facilitates our work and enables us to negotiate and work more efficiently.

Marcia Ellis (Hong Kong-based) is probably the best private equity lawyer you can find in Hong Kong and China markets, after practicing law for many years. She led multiple investment work for us last year and we were very impressed by her deep legal knowledge as well as commercial awareness. I can completely trust and rely on her to lead our projects.’

Key clients

Ally Bridge Group

Ascendent Capital Partners Asia

BHG Long Hills

C-Bridge Capital

Fosun International Group

FWD Group

GLP PTE

Hony Capital

KHL

Makers Fund

Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia

SBVA Future Innovation Fund

Silicon Valley Bank

SoftBank Ventures Asia

Sympath Capital

The Wharf (Holdings)

Work highlights

  • Advised Softbank Ventures Asia on the operation of China Ventures Fund I, LP, a fund that makes venture capital investments in the consumer internet, media and AI sectors in mainland China.
  • Advising a sponsor’s private equity investment arm on its formation of a PRC-domiciled, RMB-denominated private investment fund that focuses on investments in China.
  • Advised a sponsor on the formation of a real estate fund, which plans to invest in prime retail projects in cities across mainland China.

China > Real estate and construction: foreign firms

Led from Hong Kong by private equity expert Marcia Ellis, Morrison Foerster‘s multi-disciplinary team regularly advises clients on the acquisition, financing and disposition of real estate assets throughout China and across Asia. It has been particularly active of late advising global real estate stakeholders on data centre mandates, an area that plays to the firm’s overarching strength in the technology sector.

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Key clients

GLP

Greenland Hong Kong Holdings Limited

Princeton Digital Group

Work highlights

  • Advised GLP on the financing of its acquisition of a 50% stake in China Merchants Capital.
  • Advised Shanghai Oriental Cambridge Property Development Co, a property development company and wholly-owned subsidiary of Greenland Hong Kong Holdings on its RMB7.26bn acquisition of Guangzhou Greenland Real Estate Development.

Singapore > TMT: foreign firms

Morrison Foerster (Singapore)‘s offering is structured around the firm’s core strengths in financial services and complex technology investment transactions; the team is well placed to leverage its global network in order to connect companies and capital sources in the TMT sector. Corporates which have identified the development of proprietary technology solutions as a strategic priority, and notable investors which view emerging technology companies as a key driver for growth form the core of the client roster. Managing partner Shirin Tang is a key contact, as are Lip Kian Ang and Jason Nelms.

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Key clients

A leading institutional investor, as a long-time investor in Grab Holdings

Beam Mobility Holdings Pte. Ltd

Touchstone Capital Partners

Vectr Fintech Partners

Work highlights

  • Advising a leading institutional investor, as a long-time investor in Grab Holdings, on Grab’s proposed merger with special purpose acquisition company Altimeter Growth – the transaction values Grab at $39.6bn.
  • Advised Beam Mobility Holdings, a Singapore-headquartered micro mobility firm that offers shared e-scooters, on its $26m Series A financing from Sequoia Capital India, Hana Ventures and other investors.
  • Advised Touchstone Capital Partners on the formation of its first venture capital fund focused on investing in start-ups in Vietnam’s fast-growing technology sector.

China > Intellectual property: foreign firms

Morrison Foerster‘s experienced IP practice spans work ranging from prosecution to litigation and includes commercialisation of IP assets such as licensing. Many of the practitioners have PhDs in scientific disciplines; the team is particularly focused on sciences in the areas of biologics, diagnostics, medical devices and vaccines. The key advisers are Shanghai-based Chuan Sun, whose track record includes complex IP matters across Greater China; and Hong Kong’s Asia technology head Gordon Milner, whose broad practice includes IP work.

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Testimonials

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Key clients

Alibaba

Casdin

Centurium

Everest Medicines

Everest Medicines II

General Atlantic

Henlius

Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co

Roblox

The Dairy Farm Group

Triastek, Inc.

Wuxi Apptec

Warburg Pincus

Work highlights

  • Assisted Roblox with its joint venture with Tencent (Luobu) and the establishment and launch of the Roblox platform in China, the first foreign online game platform with user-generated games and revenue-sharing to obtain a government licence in China.
  • Advised Hao Tian Development Group and Co-High Investment Management on the formation of a joint venture between Aceso Life Science and Promethera Biosciences, which aims to engage in the development, commercialisation, sale and distribution of cell-based and biological therapies for the treatment of liver diseases.
  • Advised Everest Medicines (and its subsidiaries) on certain IP opinions surrounding the IPO and listing of Everest Medicines.

China > Regulatory/compliance: foreign firms

Morrison Foerster’s corporate investigations and anti-corruption team has notable experience in a wide range of investigations and regulatory compliance issues. It advises clients from heavily-regulated industries, such as telecoms, online services and cloud computing, banking and financial services, and data processing. Hong Kong-based managing partner Timothy Blakely leads the team which saw the arrival of B Chen Zhu who specialises in government and internal investigations and commercial litigation, as well as cross-border enforcement matters. Blakely and Zhu both have extensive experience in advising foreign firms on anti-corruption issues concerning operating in China.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Morrison & Foerster has the great ability to unpack complex legal issues to “bite-size” pieces, and then provide pertinent advice on how to handle each piece. This is very efficient and effective, and client gets a better sense of “where we are going.” ’

‘Tim Blakely is amazingly reachable and always responds in a timely manner. He has great analytical skills and is a clear writer.’

The firm: With approximately 1,000 lawyers in 17 offices, Morrison & Foerster is a pre-eminent global law firm dedicated to delivering business-oriented results to clients across the United States, Asia and Europe. Dynamic technology and life science companies, large financial institutions, leading consumer product companies and other market leaders come to Morrison & Foerster for knowledge, innovation and business aptitude. Morrison & Foerster handles some of the world’s largest cross-border transactions and resolves major disputes across multiple jurisdictions. The firm has a long-standing commitment to pro bono work and social justice.

For more than 36 years Morrison & Foerster has been on the ground advising clients about their most important China-related matters. The China offices have more than 50 multilingual US-, PRC-, and Hong Kong-qualified professionals, who work closely with attorneys throughout the firm to deliver calibrated and sound advice to clients.

The firm counsels a wide variety of clients in China on their high-profile investment, finance, and regulatory matters, including many of the world’s largest multinationals and the most substantial and active institutional PRC companies, as well as promising startups in the Internet, technology, entertainment, telecommunications, life sciences, energy, clean technology, and renewable energy industries.

Areas of practice: Morrison & Foerster opened its Hong Kong office in 1983. It was one of the first international firms to have local Hong Kong law capabilities, approved by the Hong Kong Law Society in April 2001. The firm’s lawyers based in Hong Kong have particular expertise in working with multinationals, PRC and Hong Kong companies, foreign and China-based venture capital and private equity investors active in China’s technology industries, and technology-based PRC companies.

Capital markets: MoFo’s leading capital markets practice in China regularly represents issuers and underwriters in debt and equity financings, as well as in domestic venture capital and private equity investments. It is one of the most active capital markets practices of any international law firm in the region, advising clients on a broad range of corporate financing matters involving Hong Kong, US and English law. The firm’s multi-jurisdictional law capabilities and bilingual teams enhance its competitive position, representing clients on both international offerings and cross-border corporate finance matters.

Intellectual property and litigation: MoFo has extensive experience in representing Chinese companies in their IP disputes in the US and in the development of their global IP portfolios.

MoFo has also been advising its global clients who seek to proactively protect their IP from infringement and misappropriation in China.

Mergers and acquisitions: MoFo’s China M&A practice combines senior PRC regulatory expertise with international deal execution capability. The firm’s lawyers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong have significant PRC-related, as well as Asia-wide and global cross-border M&A experience.

Private equity and venture capital: combining corporate finance expertise with diverse technology, healthcare, life sciences and real estate practices, lawyers in MoFo’s Hong Kong office are active in all aspects of the evolving private equity and venture capital market in China. The practice regularly represents private equity investors, venture capitalists, private equity fund sponsors and issuers in a wide variety of private equity transactions, including buyouts (leveraged and non-leveraged), early and late-stage venture investments and restructurings and recapitalisations.

Real estate: the China real estate practice team represents investors in the financing, acquisition, joint venture and development of real estate investments across China and internationally. The group has a robust practice representing real estate private equity firms, investment managers, sovereign wealth funds, development companies and REITs that invest in real estate assets and companies in this sector.

Technology transactions: MoFo has assisted leading media and IT companies, global banks and financial institutions, biotech companies and private equity funds in navigating legal, structuring and commercial challenges arising from handling technology projects in China’s rapidly evolving business and regulatory environment.

Dispute resolution: MoFo is one of the world’s premier litigation firms. Its full-service Asia Dispute Resolution practice is a fully integrated regional practice, working seamlessly across its five offices in Asia, to handle all aspects of complex commercial litigation, international arbitration and predispute counselling matters. MoFo also appears in Hong Kong courts and before regulatory bodies in Hong Kong

Investment funds: MoFo’s Private Funds practice is widely recognized by fund sponsors and institutional investors as a leading group in Asia and globally. As one of the largest private funds practices in Asia, we represent fund sponsors and investors in the formation and operation of investment funds in a number of strategies. We are one of only a handful of law firms in Asia with the experience to effectively guide both GPs and LPs through the entire fund formation process.

Fintech: MoFo has long been recognized as a leading financial services and technology firm. Our Fintech practice is not just a corporate practice that happens to handle M&A deals in the very sector. We have one of the few dedicated operational Fintech teams in China, and our partners have nearly two decades of on-the-ground experience at the heart of one of the world’s fastest growing technology markets, catering to a stellar list of industry-leading companies who rely on us to help ensure the success of their most critical deals in mainland China and Hong Kong in a challenging political climate

Healthcare and life sciences: Leading life sciences investors and companies throughout the US, Europe, Japan, and China choose MoFo to help them enter, expand within, or grow outside of the Chinese life sciences market because of our experience in complex, cutting-edge cross-border commercial transactions and financings, our legendary scientific expertise in matters from IP strategic counseling to IP due diligence, and our long and storied track record working within the Chinese life science market.

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Anti-bribery/anti-corruption/FCPA Timothy Blakelytblakely@mofo.com+852 25850870
Capital markets Venantius (Ven) Tanvtan@mofo.com+852 25850836
Corporate governance and internal investigations Timothy Blakelytblakely@mofo.com+852 25850870
Dispute resolution Timothy Blakelytblakely@mofo.com+852 25850870
Foreign direct investment Paul McKenziepmckenzie@mofo.com+86 10 5909 3366
Intellectual property and litigation Sarah ThomasSarahThomas@mofo.com+852 25850771
International arbitration Timothy Blakelytblakely@mofo.com+852 25850870
Life sciences Janet Xiaojxiao@mofo.com+1 (650) 813-5736
Life sciences Thomas Choutchou@mofo.com+852 2585 0848
Life sciences Chuan Suncsun@mofo.com+86 21 2322 5243
Life sciences Gordon Milnergmilner@mofo.com+852 2585 0808
Mergers and acquisitions Thomas Choutchou@mofo.com+852 2585 0848
Mergers and acquisitions Marcia Ellismellis@mofo.com+852 2585 0784
Mergers and acquisitions Paul McKenziepmckenzie@mofo.com+86 10 5909 3366
Mergers and acquisitions Vivian Yiuvyiu@mofo.com+852 2585 0761
Mergers and acquisitions Ruomu Lirli@mofo.com+86 21 2322 5218
Mergers and acquisitions Lucy Lullu@mofo.com+86 10 5909 3311
Private equity and venture capital Thomas Choutchou@mofo.com+852 2585 0848
Private equity and venture capital Marcia Ellismellis@mofo.com+852 2585 0784
Real estate Marcia Ellismellis@mofo.com+852 2585 0784
Technology transactions Gordon Milnergmilner@mofo.com+852 2585 0808
Investment Funds Serena TanSTan@mofo.com+852 2585 0861
Investment Funds Nicholas Sheetsnsheets@mofo.com+852 2585 0814
Fintech Thomas Choutchou@mofo.com+852 2585 0848
Fintech Paul McKenziepmckenzie@mofo.com+86 10 5909 3366
Fintech Gordon Milnergmilner@mofo.com+852 2585 0808
Fintech Chuan Suncsun@mofo.com+86 21 2322 5243
Number of lawyers : approximately 1,000
at this office : 40+
Cantonese
English
Mandarin
Contacts : Timothy Blakely (Hong Kong office managing partner)