The road ahead

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Monkey King is probably the most famous Chinese monkey. In the Lunar New Year of the Monkey, Chinese economic prospects might seem to carry a parallel to the Monkey King’s Journey to the West (the ancient India), which was marked by numerous difficulties and challenges. A plunge in stock prices and currency value would make for quite an uneasy start to any year.

CBLJ 1602 PrologueFacing an uncertain journey, will China, like Monkey King, have the strength to overcome adversity? It seems so, from a legal point of view at least.

Monkey business reports on the findings from our survey of corporate counsel. China has made much progress in improving its legal framework, they say, with new regulations related to the economy and social life.

Stricter environment and food safety requirements were imposed to focus on the quality and reputation of the economy. A heavy-handed crackdown on corruption will continue to clean up the market, while the legal grip on inbound and outbound investment may be loosened further.

For in-house counsel, however, more rules mean a heavier workload. Compliance and corporate governance are key words in their survey feedback. Cutting-edge businesses, like those linked to the internet, may face pain with new rules in some areas, while in other areas a lack of rules is just as alarming. It won’t be an easy year for corporate counsel either.

As so many changes, wise counsel is crucial. Brightest beacons announces the law firms that we believe gave the strongest support to their clients. As always, picking the best out of so many prominent players is painful. Hundreds of nominations and recommendations from in-house counsel underpinned our selection, while other significant elements, like landmark deals and internal development, were also considered. Our heartfelt congratulations to the winners!

As with Monkey King, the challenges of this year’s journey may be as much internal as external. The growing use of internet and smartphones has spawned a vast change in modern business practice, but risks abound.

Cyber nightmare shares the key findings from a recent survey of the Association of Corporate Counsel. Shockingly, it finds that one-third of in-house lawyers have experienced a corporate data breach, with employee error or an inside job cited as the most common reasons. And counsel in the Asia-Pacific are more likely to be at risk. The article gives tips for keeping cyber attacks under control.

So, a bumpy road may be waiting in 2016 for China, and for the companies and firms in this market. But just as the Monkey King and his master finally retrieved the invaluable sutras, so should success await those who exercise patience and diligence on their own journeys.

Happy Year of the Monkey from China Business Law Journal!