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.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

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.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

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

Morrison Foerster‘s 'dedicated, responsive, technically sharp and commercial' Greater China practice has longstanding on-the-ground experience in China TMT matters. Combining its enviable TMT credentials with widely respected venture capital and private equity fund expertise, the team is regularly instructed by both technology investors and start-ups. It also houses experts in the regulatory regimes of the internet, telecoms, cloud, payments, data and cybersecurity. In Hong Kong, Asia technology practice head Gordon Milner acts for international technology companies, banks and local start-ups, and has notable expertise in online services in China; Asia private equity group co-head Thomas Chou also acts on TMT matters; and Marcia Ellis is global private equity chair. In Shanghai, 'highly skilled technology and commercial lawyer' Chuan Sun is a TMT transactions specialist; and the track record of Beijing and Shanghai managing partner Paul McKenzie includes advising telecoms, media, internet, and computer software and hardware clients.

Practice head(s):

Gordon Milner

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team is wonderful to deal with – dedicated, responsive, technically sharp and commercial. It is not everyday that clients find a technology law practice with competent and technically brilliant lawyers for technology matters at all levels, and who can work autonomously on various technology matters at the same time.

‘Highly commended is the training that Chuan Sun provides to the attorneys in the firm’s technology practice. It is difficult enough to find a truly competent technology lawyer these days, let alone a team of them within the same practice!’

‘Chuan Sun is a highly skilled technology and commercial lawyer. He goes to great depths to understand clients’ business, and works above and beyond the call of duty to deliver first-class legal documents, coupled with pragmatic and commercially-sound solutions. He is particularly knowledgeable on technical points of law, and up to date with recent tech trends and issues.’

‘Chuan Sun’s wealth of knowledge and experience helps clients find common ground with counterparties, so as to close complex transactions within tight deadlines. Highly recommended for clients looking for a commercially-minded and technically brilliant lawyer, who is able to bring together his team (even at short notice) to support his clients.’

‘Chuan Sun is exceptional. He has excellent grasp of the technical issues whilst providing clear and commercial advice.’

‘Paul Mckenzie and Gordon Milner are recommended for any tech companies that are looking for experienced outside counsel for significant deals in Greater China. Both of them are highly reliable, responsive and trustworthy.

‘Paul Mckenzie is not just technically strong but great at managing the entire deal process, coordinating the resources, and solving imminent and sudden issues in a deal.’

‘Gordon is an exceptional tech lawyer and always puts himself in the shoes of his clients – provides great solutions.’

Key clients

Airbnb

Alibaba Group

Dairy Farm

Oracle

Princeton Digital Group

Roblox

SoftBank

SoftBank Vision Fund

Verizon

Unity

Work highlights

  • Advised Roblox on its joint venture with Tencent and the establishment and launch of the Roblox platform in China.
  • Advised Amperex Technology on both its RMB14bn joint venture for mid-size battery cells and packs, and a $1.5bn technology cross-license arrangement with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co.
  • Advised Hong Kong-based Six Waves, a global publisher of mobile games, on its $201m acquisition by Sweden’s Stillfront Group.

China > Dispute resolution: Litigation: foreign firms Tier 3

Morrison Foerster‘s Hong Kong-based dispute resolution department stands out for its expertise representing multinational and Chinese companies before a variety of China- and Hong Kong-based forums. Leading the team is Timothy Blakely, who is regularly sought out for complex commercial litigation involving US and Hong Kong law, as well as government and internal investigation matters. Supporting the team’s efforts in terms of cross-border disputes in the Asia-Pacific region is triple-qualified partner Sarah Thomas, while Chen Zhu specialises in securities litigation and white-collar defence. Also active in white-collar criminal law is of counsel Jessica Chan, who plays a key role in the firm’s handling of high-stakes matters in this space.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

SoftBank Group

Work highlights

  • Represented Softbank Group in a high-profile dispute against WeWork and its founder in relation to SBG’s abandoned $3bn investment in WeWork.

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

Well known for its involvement in headline private equity transactions, Morrison Foerster’s Greater China team stands out for its recent experience in raising SPACs, structuring de-SPAC transactions (including PIPE investments), and post-merger management matters. The group is also highly rated for its sector credentials in technology, life sciences, data centres, e-commerce and education (particularly online); and is able to leverage the firm’s robust finance and restructuring practices. With extensive experience in Silicon Valley, as well as throughout Asia, Hong Kong-based Thomas Chou, co-heads the firm’s Asia private equity group, while global private equity chair Marcia Ellisprovides invaluable insights on deals‘. In Shanghai, Ruomu Li acts for US, Chinese and international financial and strategic investors (and target companies) on a range of private equity and M&A transactions. The mainland China private equity associates to note are Wenlan Geng, Richard Ji and Chloe Liu.

Practice head(s):

Marcia Ellis; Thomas Chou

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘True cross-border knowledge, experience and culture.’

‘Knowledge of the non-market discrepancies, defects and deficiencies inherent in many mainland PRC PE/venture investors, who negotiate positions and documentation vs. high-quality global standards and benchmarks – and with the ability to negotiate against them.’

‘Marcia Ellis – very experienced in private equity and M&A transactions. Provides invaluable insights on deals and potential loopholes to avoid.

Maureen Ho is very professional and accountable. Clients love working with Maureen because they know they are in good hands.

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 Group Corp

SoftBank Vision Fund

Silver Crest Acquisition Corp

SIMIC Holdings

Vectr Ventures

Work highlights

  • Advised Ally Bridge Group on the $600m Series D financing of global surgical robotic systems developer, CMR Surgical.
  • Acted for Ally Bridge Group, as lead investor, on an oversubscribed $265m Series B financing of US-based life sciences company, Sonoma Biotherapeutics.
  • Acted for Ally Bridge Group on the Series C financing of biotech company NiKang Therapeutics.

China > Data protection: foreign firms

With a practice focused on evolving privacy regulations, risk management and litigation surrounding data protection, Morrison Foerster also handles data breaches, while placing an emphasis on the development of tools to assist clients in project management and cost savings. The practice is jointly led by Beijing-based Paul McKenzie, acting as managing partner of the firm’s Beijing and Shanghai offices, Shanghai-based Chuan Sun, with experience advising multinational corporations and start-ups in the technology sector on data security matters, and Hong Kong-based Gordon Milner, with expertise in data, cloud and technology transactions.

Work highlights

  • Represented Roblox in its joint venture with Tencent and the establishment and launch of the Roblox platform in China.

China > Fintech: foreign firms

Morrison Foerster‘s dedicated fintech team in China is a go-to practice for corporations that prioritise the development of proprietary technology solutions. It also acts for strategic investors who regard investments in emerging technology companies as key growth drivers. Clients additionally benefit from the firm’s ability to leverage the firm’s strong venture capital and private equity funds credentials. Heading the China fintech practice from Hong Kong, Gordon Milner is a specialist in cross-border technology projects and Asia private equity group co-head, Thomas Chou, is also active in the technology/fintech space. In Shanghai, Chuan Sun works closely with multinational corporations, large SOEs and start-ups from the fintech/TMT world, while the practice of Beijing and Shanghai managing partner Paul McKenzie includes telecoms regulatory compliance, data privacy and cybersecurity. The associates to note are Hong Kong-based Zooey Chen, Gigi Yuen, Sarah Wang and Tyler Xiu.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Chou; Paul McKenzie; Gordon Milner; Chuan Sun

Key clients

Alibaba Group

Softbank Vision Fund

Roblox

Alpha Fintech

LeapXpert

Work highlights

  • Advised Roblox on its joint venture with Tencent (Luobu) and the establishment and launch of the Roblox online game platform in China.
  • Advised an institutional investor, as a longstanding investor in Grab Holdings (Grab), in relation to Grab’s merger with special purpose acquisition company Altimeter Growth Corp.
  • Advised Alpha Fintech, a next-gen payments technology company, on its acquisition by PPRO, a digital payments infrastructure provider.

China > Life sciences and healthcare: foreign firms

Morrison Foerster‘s Greater China life sciences practice advises on the full range of transactions that arise during the life cycle of life sciences companies. The team consistently assists with licensing and technology transfer arrangements, licensing and monetisation schemes, strategic collaborations, dispute settlement agreements, joint ventures, and major research and development projects.  It also has a notably robust life sciences IP practice. The mainland China names to note are Chuan Sun, who works closely with life sciences clients, including healthcare private equity firm CBC Group; and private equity and M&A transactions expert Ruomu Li, who is experienced in life sciences-related transactions. Over in Hong Kong, Asia private equity practice co-head, Thomas Chou acts for emerging growth companies, along with traditional and non-traditional investors; and Asia technology practice leader Gordon Milner is an expert in cross-border technology projects in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Chou; Chuan Sun; Gordon Milner; Ruomu Li

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team is highly professional and has extensive knowledge in the field of biotechnology, with a mastery of specialised patent/licensing agreements.

Key clients

Ally Bridge Group

CBC Group

Changchun High & New Technology Industry Group

Everest Medicines

Everest Medicines II

Henlius

Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co

Triastek

Xingren (Trusted Doctors)

China > Investment funds: foreign firms

Morrison Foerster advises clients across the privacy equity, real estate, banking, insurance, and venture capital spaces, handling a plethora of fund formation transactions. Leadership of the Hong Kong-based team is divided between Serena Tan, who has 'deep technical knowledge' and is an expert with regard to the formation of private funds, including USD, RMB, and dual-currency, and Nicholas Sheets, regarded for his advice on co-investment activities, secondary transactions, and the structuring, formation and offering of private equity funds. Sylvia Cheng is another key contact for work related to fund formation.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘The MoFo team is best at advising on complex fund formation matters. They are very professional, exceptionally knowledgeable, and constantly provide the perfect combination of sector expertise, technical knowledge, and commercial savviness to drive the best outcomes.’

‘Their bilingual capability and deep expertise in both the China and US markets make them stand out from other international firms in the field. The team is very responsive to requests and always willing to go the extra mile.’

‘Serena Tan is a top-notch, astute, and commercially minded funds lawyer. Her bilingual capability, deep technical knowledge in the market, and vast practical experience handling complex funds formation and investment matters differentiates her from her competitors. She has also demonstrated outstanding project and cost management skills by allocating the right level of associates to support us.’

Key clients

Affirma Capital

Ally Bridge Group

Ascendent Capital Partners Asia

BHG Long Hills

CBC Group

China Ping An Insurance

China International Capital Corporation

FWD Group

GLP

Hony Capital

Jiuding Capital

Junson Capital

KHL

Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia

ORIX Asia Capital

SBVA Future Innovation Fund

Silicon Valley Bank

Sino-Ocean Capital

SoftBank Ventures Asia

Taiwania Capital

Work highlights

  • Represented Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia in the formation and ongoing operations of a PRC-domiciled, RMB-denominated private investment fund focused on investments in China.
  • Represented SoftBank Ventures Asia in the formation of China Ventures Fund II, and in the formation of China Ventures Hybrid Fund I as a stapled secondary transaction.
  • Advised Sino-Ocean Capital on the formation of a $1.4bn core office fund that will invest in A-grade office projects in the core business districts of tier-one cities in China.

China > Real estate and construction: foreign firms

With extensive experience in private equity, Hong Kong-based Marcia Ellis leads Morrison Foerster‘s efforts in the real estate sphere, acting for clients with regard to investment cycles by handling joint ventures, acquisitions, and the development of assets in the Greater China region. The three-partner team is also active in relation to the technology sector, often advising stakeholders on data centre deals. Chuan Sun, who divides his time between Shanghai and Hong Kong is another standout, focusing on cross-border transactions in relation to the M&A and TMT spaces. Also noted in Hong Kong is Maureen Ho, bolstering the team’s private equity and real estate funds practice with regard to investment cycles, leveraged buy-outs and infrastructure investments.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team possesses good technical knowledge and strong understanding of local market practice.’

They are detail oriented and willing to engage in active discussion with clients.

MoFo has a unique advantage in great team collaboration across various divisions and geographies, including compliance, litigation and cross-border corporate transactions.

‘Marcia Ellis is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the Greater China market. She understands how best to use various provisions to provide protection.’

Marcia Ellis is very good at distilling complex concepts into layman terms, which again, demonstrates her depth of knowledge and years of experience in practice through various engagements.

Key clients

GLP

Princeton Digital Group

SinoOcean

Beijing Hualian Group

Greenland Hong Kong Holdings

Poly Property Group

Sunshine 100 China Holdings

BlackRock

Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund

Blackstone

Evergreen Real Estate

Airbnb

Asia Pacific Land

Work highlights

  • Advised Sino-Ocean on the formation of a $1.4 bn core office real estate fund that will invest in A-grade office projects in core business districts of tier-one Chinese cities.
  • Advised Macquarie’s real estate division in connection with its initial significant minority investment in UI Holding.
  • Advised Ascendent Capital Partners in its exit from its investment in Suzhou Yongding Hospital, by disposal of its shares in Etern Group.

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.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

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

With experience in the pharmaceutical, biologics, diagnostics, medical devices, medicinal chemicals and vaccine sectors, Morrison Foerster‘s IP practice ranges from prosecution and litigation, to licensing work. In Hong Kong, Asia technology head Gordon Milner assists with IP matters, while Chuan Sun in Shanghai 'provides excellent technical and commercial advice'.

Practice head(s):

Gordon Milner; Chuan Sun

Other key lawyers:

Timothy Blakely; Sarah Thomas; Tyler Xiu

Testimonials

‘Exceptional service and dedication.’

‘Chuan Sun provides excellent technical and commercial advice, drawing upon a wealth of knowledge and experience.’

Associate Tyler Xiu is an excellent up-and-coming lawyer, who is very proactive and helpful.’

Key clients

Alibaba

Casdin

Centurium

Everest Medicines

Everest Medicines II

General Atlantic

Henlius

Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co

Roblox

The Dairy Farm Group

Triastek

Wuxi Apptec

Warburg Pincus

Work highlights

  • Advised Roblox on its joint venture with Tencent (Luobu), and the establishment and launch of the Roblox platform in China.
  • Advised Amperex Technology on its RMB14bn joint venture for mid-size battery cells and packs, and a $1.5bn technology cross-license arrangement with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co.

China > Regulatory/compliance: foreign firms

Morrison Foerster offers an integrated contentious and non-contentious corporate investigation and anti-corruption practice, with the team advising on a wide range of investigations and regulatory compliance issues, including US economic sanctions, anti-money laundering, securities fraud, and corporate compliance matters. It also has a particular strength for privacy and data matters, as well as in US-China cross-border work. Timothy Blakely leads the group from Hong Kong and is supported by B. Chen Zhu, who specialises in cross-border government enforcement matters, internal corporate investigations, and economic sanctions.

Practice head(s):

Timothy Blakely

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team is based in Shanghai and Hong Kong, and it is good with corporate internal investigations.’

‘B. Chen Zhu is a rising partner in conducting internal investigations for pharm companies. Very bright, prompt, respectful, and practical findings.’

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
Hong Kong office managing partner : Timothy Blakely
Chair of the Firm : Eric T. McCrath