With continued uncertainty in the increasingly lucrative China-related dispute resolution sector, choosing your seat at the table is all the more important, writes Richard Li

With around 200 arbitration institutions active in China, the potential of the dispute resolution industry is clear. Of course, almost all of these are involved with domestic-only cases, but the mainland market is being watched by hungry eyes, and international and regional centres for dispute resolution are muscling in for a share of the case spoils, especially those involving foreign investors and parties.

Couple this with a clear case of a dropped ball in the form of China’s biggest arbitration commission being embroiled in a lengthy, and messy, split of its major offices, and subsequent confusion surrounding just what bodies have legal authority to arbitrate, and where contracts drawn up before the split, for example, stand legally before what seems to be equally confused intermediate people’s courts.

arbitrationpicThe issue will be decided by a higher court, but the power struggle serves to demonstrate the high stakes that are on the table in this increasingly lucrative sector, high stakes that have every arbitrator, mediator and savvy in-house counsel in Greater China and beyond on their toes in determining the best possible seats of arbitration and how the regional sector will have taken shape when the dust settles.

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