Old becomes new


As investment ideas or policies date, they give way to new ideas and better choices for the times. It’s the same with laws. They cannot stay the same forever, and striking a perfect balance is the key when updating and amending for the future. China Business Law Journal’s October issue explores some interesting examples of this.

prologueThe mining energy and resources sector is abuzz as China strives to strike a new balance between traditional and renewable resources. Balance of Power explores the beginnings of a change of tack in the energy sector, which governs some of the biggest deals for Chinese investors. Traditional mining still reigns supreme for energy needs, and resources are being extracted on a truly global scale, with a focus on acquiring or securing supply and technology.

But investment in new energy sectors is now officially encouraged as a polluted China pursues a goal of being a leading global player in renewable energy. The State Council since mid-May has delegated its power of administrative approval for more than 100 items, among which are projects utilising hydropower, thermal and wind power. China has also eliminated the limitation on the percentage of foreign parties’ participation in clean-energy power generation equipment.

Profits are still low but Chinese investors are scooping up technology and knowhow around the world in the areas of wind and solar energy. We look at the deals of the past year, the opportunities, and the legal and trade barriers in this internationally competitive industry. We also update you on the traditional sector of resource extraction, identifying where investment and regulatory change have affected trends.

The NPC standing committee passed revisions to the Trademark Law on 30 August, which will come into effect next May, and are meant to have a profound influence on trademark protection, an area that has long bitten at the heels of Chinese authorities through rampant bad-faith registrations and other high-profile cases involving famous foreign brands.

So, what are the new amendments and how will they work? Will they impact brand protection as desired? Do they have inherent risks of which even legitimate brand owners must be made aware? And will expanded powers and penalties filter down to where they are needed, in practice? In our special In Perspective report headlined On your marks! four top firms give their analyses and answers.

Changes to Hong Kong’s trust law have been well overdue, and from 1 December some antiquated provisions will receive a makeover. Trust practitioners in Hong Kong are welcoming the changes that allow them to compete on an equal footing with the likes of Singapore and the traditional Caribbean island tax havens. But it’s mainland investors in particular who, unable to find flexible and safe asset protection in the mainland’s statutory trust regime, may stand to benefit. Trust in HK looks at amendments that may prompt an uptick in interest from the mainland. The amendments will provide clarification of trustees’ powers and duties and also provide more protection for the trust when powers are delegated.