DeHeng Law Offices has opened an office in Hong Kong and established a joint operation with Chungs Lawyers. DeHeng was one of the first Chinese law firms to engage in securities law and overseas listings, and has assisted numerous Chinese companies in getting listed in Hong Kong. The establishment of the Hong Kong office enhances its capability of serving domestic and overseas capital markets.
“The set-up of a Hong Kong branch mainly serves the demand of the firm’s mainland Chinese clients for Hong Kong business,” Frank Li, the managing partner of DeHeng’s Hong Kong office, told China Business Law Journal.
“At present, with the launch of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect and Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, and the implementation of the SSE (Shanghai Stock Exchange) Star board, the connection between the mainland China and Hong Kong markets has become more active. Mainland investors have shown a surge of interest in the Hong Kong stock market, and the A+H shares combination is set to rank among the world’s major capital markets.”
DeHeng’s Hong Kong office will focus on commercial law services including listing compliance, cross-border M&A, bond funds, banking and finance, and dispute resolution. Frank Li, Sally Bi and Li Yan were the first group of lawyers assigned to the office, providing legal services under PRC laws as registered foreign lawyers. The local associated firm, Chungs Lawyers, currently has six partners, two consultants and eight associates.
Li said that the China-US trade war, Brexit and the recent social unrest in Hong Kong have affected the listing activity in Hong Kong in the first three quarters of 2019. But Alibaba’s secondary listing set off a trend for Chinese companies to go back to list in Hong Kong, spurring the market to peak again by the end of 2019.
“Looking forward to 2020, most of the activities in capital markets in the first quarter have been affected to some extent due to the coronavirus outbreak,” said Li. “Chinese companies such as JD and Baidu preparing for a secondary listing in Hong Kong have postponed the process.
“If the outbreak is brought under control by the end of the second quarter, as predicted by medical experts, Hong Kong’s capital market is expected to gradually recover in 2020.”
The establishment of the Hong Kong office is an important layout for the firm to serve the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area strategy, and the Belt and Road Initiative. DeHeng has established Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Guangzhou and Dongguan offices in the Greater Bay Area. As Li said, with the establishment of the Hong Kong office, the firm will further integrate and co-ordinate the client resources, professional services, human resources and training of the Greater Bay Area offices, and provide quality and efficient legal services for clients at home and abroad.