Jingtian & Gongcheng held the opening ceremony for its Hong Kong office on 28 May, celebrating the mainland law firm’s qualifications to practise in Hong Kong and representing an important step in its ambition to become an international law firm.
Previously, Jingtian & Gongcheng associated itself successively with Mayer Brown and L&C Legal, with its merger with L&C in April marking the last step in the completion of its localization.
Zhao Yang, chairman of Jingtian & Gongcheng, told China Business Law Journal that the firm had begun business in Hong Kong more than 20 years ago, and that in the traditional capital market field it had assisted 99 enterprises in realizing a Hong Kong listing in the past three years alone.
“With the support of a huge business volume, it can be said that the establishment of our Hong Kong office was the next logical step,” said Zhao.
“This is our first office outside the mainland, and represents a robust step in Jingtian’s journey from the mainland onto the international stage,” he said.
Former chief executive of Hong Kong Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Theresa Cheng, and deputy director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government, Yang Jianping, attended the ceremony as special guests.
Elaine Lo, senior partner in the Hong Kong office of Jingtian & Gongcheng, said the office has eight partners covering traditional fields such as capital markets, M&A, compliance and dispute resolution, but also includes newer practice areas including data protection, cryptocurrency and blockchain-related services for financial technology and internet company clients.
“In the past, Hong Kong was China’s window to the outside world, but today it is the springboard for Chinese enterprises that are ‘going global’,” said Lo. “A lot of the clients of our Hong Kong office are Chinese enterprises. In the current international situation, when a Chinese enterprise, particularly a tech company, intends to list abroad, its first choice will be Hong Kong. There is even a substantial number of enterprises listed on the New York Stock Exchange that are thinking about returning to Hong Kong to list.”
Zhao said that although many companies are preparing to list on the Science and Technology Innovation Board (STIB), Chinese companies have always been enthusiastic about listing in Hong Kong. “So far this year, Jingtian & Gongcheng has helped 18 Chinese companies complete their listing in Hong Kong, better than that of the corresponding period last year,” he said.
“We believe that both the continuous innovation of Hong Kong’s securities market, and the STIB and registration system on the mainland, will enable high-quality enterprises to have more financing platforms and choice of IPO market, which is conducive to the development of China’s economy.”
Zhao said the practice areas that the firm had focused on in the past year include: fundraising and establishment, intellectual property rights, biotechnology and healthcare, big data and internet security, art and museum law, and further deepening of business related to the Belt and Road Initiative.
He said that while duly serving its existing clients, the firm’s Hong Kong office would take full advantage of Hong Kong’s pivotal position on the Belt and Road and in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area strategy to develop more new clients.
“In terms of responding to the Greater Bay Area strategy, our plan is to simultaneously independently operate the Hong Kong office, expand the Shenzhen office and consider the establishment of a Guangzhou office, with the hope of generating a tri-region linkage effect to serve the development of the state’s Greater Bay Area,” said Zhao