China Business Law Awards – Regional Awards

The timeless saying, “dance with shackles on”, neatly epitomises the essence of 2022. It was a year that put the resilience and adaptability of the nation’s businesses to the ultimate test. Confronting a multitude of challenges, the legal profession exhibited remarkable tenacity and determination, gracefully dancing despite being bound by all kinds of difficulties.

Amid the tumult, some law firms astounded us with their extraordinary transformations, swiftly adapting to the changing landscape to rise above the distress. Yet others found themselves at a crossroads, requiring careful contemplation of their next moves in a constantly evolving legal market.

Traditionally, there has been a clear distinction between local and national law firm brands, as they occupy different market positions. However, as the landscape evolves, this boundary is blurring, creating a dynamic environment where growth, competition and co-operation intertwine.

Predicting which law firms will rise to prominence in the future is hardly possible. However, one thing is sure: those who set the trends and remain in tune with the times will avoid being consumed by specific dilemmas in this ever-changing environment.

This year, regional firms seek recognition more urgently than ever, aiming to stand out from the crowd in an increasingly competitive environment. The number of nominations and recommendations has significantly increased, highlighting the growing importance that in-house counsel place on excellence in external legal services.

To determine the winning firms, we carefully considered the recommendations, evaluations, outstanding deals, cases, and other notable achievements of each firm during the past year. Our goal is to provide an accurate reflection of the exceptional firms in each region of the market.

To reflect the market’s needs, some adjustments have been made compared to previous awards. Guangzhou and Shenzhen are recognised as separate regions, as they dominate the Guangdong legal market and have different legal market personalities. Zhengzhou and Changsha, which have gained popularity, now represent central China, along with Wuhan. Additionally, Yunnan has become a new destination for many national firms, due to its land connection to Southeast Asia and the growing trend of developing foreign-related business.

Each firm’s headquarters is categorised as a “homegrown” law firm while offices in other regions are classified as “branch office”.

Consistent with previous years and in recognition of the rise and accomplishments of other local firms, the regional awards do not include the headquarters of the Chinese law firms that won the “Golden League” in the China Business Law Awards 2023, namely: Commerce & Finance Law Offices, Haiwen & Partners, Han Kun Law Offices, Jingtian & Gongcheng, JunHe, King & Wood Mallesons, Tian Yuan Law Firm, and Zhong Lun Law Firm. These law firms are widely recognised for their exceptional strengths, impressive revenues, and notable influence within the legal industry.

Due to space constraints, the article includes only a selection of firms’ achievements and market testimonials. However, it is essential to emphasise that the winning firms in each region have reached an equal level of excellence. We applaud all our winners for their exceptional performance.

The winning list is sorted by region and law firm name in alphabetical order

China Business Law Awards (Regional Awards)

China Business Law Awards (Regional Awards) 2023-L

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Beijing)

DOCVIT Law Firm offers comprehensive legal services in 16 practice areas, with a primary focus on dispute resolution, financial services, intellectual property, administrative and government issues, real estate and construction, and international services. In the past year, the firm has successfully handled more than 4,000 cases and projects.

One notable case involved representing Qilu Pharmaceutical in filing an invalidation request against Sihuan Pharmaceutical’s patent for the methods of production and use of cinepazide N-oxide maleate.

This complex case achieved a victory after a challenging seven-year legal battle, including first instance revision, second instance revision, and a trial at the Supreme People’s Court. Ultimately, Qilu Pharmaceutical won a final judgment with the help of DOCVIT and the case was recognised as one of the court’s 50 typical intellectual property cases in 2022.

Gary Zheng, the CEO of Linkbroad, a hotel network service provider, highly recommends DOCVIT’s managing partner, David Lin, for his in-depth knowledge of cutting-edge legal issues and ability to stay updated on technological developments. Zheng says Lin “will greatly contribute to the advancement of China’s law in the high-tech sector”.

East & Concord Partners represented a wholly owned subsidiary of a central enterprise in a dispute last year involving RMB750 million (USD103 million) with PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest commercial bank. The client’s interests were upheld by the ICC International Court of Arbitration and the case won in the Supreme Court of Ukraine. East & Concord’s team was led by Ji Chaoyi, the firm’s Beijing-based managing partner and head of dispute resolution practice.

Global Law Office securitised the financial and operating assets of many different institutions through various financial instruments in 2022, aiming to enhance clients’ asset liquidity, optimise asset and liability structure, and fulfil corporate financing needs. The firm advised a wealth arm of the Agricultural Bank of China (AgBank) on establishing an asset management joint venture with BNP Paribas, and provided legal services for Taikang Asset in their utilisation of insurance funds to invest in asset securitisation products.

Zhu Li, the manager of Beijing New Airport Construction Headquarters, commends Global’s partners for their exceptional involvement in providing dispute resolution and general legal services. Zhu highlights their ability to combine legal expertise with business knowledge, enabling them to offer “pragmatic and constructive integrated legal solutions” to clients.

Hylands Law Firm demonstrated its expertise by providing legal advice to the China Development Bank on multiple Belt and Road Initiative-related projects. The firm offered sufficient risk alerts and set up repayment protection clauses for clients facing repayment difficulties during the outbreak of the pandemic.

Hylands partners Tao Shan and Liu Yingzi have been long-time legal counsel to Chinese multinational entertainment company Huayi Brothers. Huayi Brothers’ legal director, Li Jingjue, says they “have deep understanding of the entertainment industry’s business rules and their consistently high-quality, relevant and practical legal service protects the enterprise’s rights and interests while provides valuable insights into managing legal risks”.

In 2022, Kangda Law Firm continued flexing its muscles in dispute resolution, advising on a lot of high-profile cases in the region. On behalf of a film and culture studio in Shanghai, the firm won the support of an arbitration tribunal on jurisdiction, subject matter, contractual validity and powerless agency in an equity acquisition dispute with video streamer LeEco.

In another notable case, Kangda represented professional Go player Nie Weiping, Nieqi Shengyuan Culture Development, and Yiyou Go Culture, to sue Zhenpu Education Technology Development for several infringements caused by allegedly unauthorised use of Nie Weiping’s portrait for commercial promotion.

The firm’s government and administrative law practice also achieved significant results last year. According to Chinese law database Alpha, Kangda ranked first in the number of cases representing Beijing’s administrative authorities and involving administrative subject matters.

While civil and commercial dispute resolution cases contributed significantly to Kangda’s revenue, the firm also excelled in non-litigation fields such as acting for Keda Industrial Group’s GDR offering on the SIX Swiss Exchange. They were among the first four Chinese companies joining the China-Switzerland Stock Connect programme when it launched last year.

Fangda Partners specialises in private equity investment, with notable transactions including representing China Integrated Circuit Industry Fund II in its RMB15 billion investment in Changxin Jidian. They were also legal adviser to Gaolin Capital in its acquisition of Suzhou Hongtian Medical Investment for about RMB8 billion.

In the bankruptcy reorganisation project of Tsinghua Unigroup, Fangda helped the consortium of Wise Road and JAC to take over 100% of the RMB54.9 billion equity of Tsinghua Unigroup, marking the last two-year restructuring of Tsinghua.

Helen Gu, the general counsel of Sina Corporation, recommends Fangda for a strong reputation in the areas of compliance, private equity and dispute resolution, and an advantage in handling complex cross-border transactions and commercial disputes. She affirms their team for their excellent legal foundation, insight and language skills.

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Central China)

Dewell & Partners
S&H Law Firm
Tiandiren Law Firm
Today Law Firm
Zhongsan Law Firm

S&H Law Firm represented China Security in its bankruptcy restructuring, marking the first listed company case handled by the Wuhan Bankruptcy Tribunal and the first listed company restructuring case in Hubei province under the new guidelines on disclosure of bankruptcy restructuring by the SSE. S&H indicated that the case is of reference significance to local major and listed company reorganisation cases, as well as optimising the business environment. S&H also made outstanding accomplishments in the field of new financial markets, capital markets and banking.

With more than 400 qualified lawyers, Tiandiren Law Firm was ranked among the top law firms in Hunan province. Last year, the firm focused on developing its compliance practice. As at the end of November 2022, Changsha authority had initiated 33 corporate compliance reform cases, of which Tiandiren participated in 12 and helped many companies obtain non-prosecution results. In total, the firm handled more than 30% of criminal compliance cases in Changsha.

Zhongsan Law Firm, with its strong local network in Wuhan and deep understanding of local strategies, has established a solid foundation to provide legal services to many leading local enterprises. The firm participated in the integration and acquisition of more than 20 ports in the province and overseas listed companies by the Hubei Port Group, which not only promoted the integration of port resources but also facilitated the development of the transportation industry in Hubei province. Additionally, Zhongsan successfully handled the first cross-border bankruptcy case in Hubei province.

The firm also played a key role in executing the intellectual property system protection project for Yellow Crane Tower Park, laying a strong legal base for promotion of brand.

Grandall Law Firm has significantly strengthened its presence in capital markets in the past seven years. The firm served as listing counsel for four companies in 2022 among a total of six new listings in Hunan province. The firm currently advises dozens of companies on their listing plans. Grandall also actively engaged in local legislation involving projects such as the Changsha Railway Traffic Management Regulations and the China (Hunan) Pilot Free Trade Zone Regulations.

One of the firm’s notable achievements was representing Shanghai Enjoy Culture as the plaintiff in a commercial defamation dispute, which was recognised as a “Typical Case for Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property Rights by Hunan Courts in 2022”.

Zhang Yi, the chief editor of Enjoy Culture, recommends Grandall’s Jin Xiao, who was lead partner in the case, saying she had resolved the defamation that had been hanging over the company for several years, and the team’s seriousness was “unlike anything I’ve seen in the past when I’ve worked with other law firms, also well-known law firms”.

Zhong Lun Law Firm’s Wuhan office, as the only central China branch, has achieved outstanding performance in restructuring, insolvency liquidation, commercial disputes, capital markets, investment and M&A, real estate, and infrastructure. Notably, the firm handled several groundbreaking cases in the field of environment and resources, including: the first civil public interest litigation for the environment in Hubei province; the first commercial arbitration case on soil contamination; and the first administrative compensation case for environmental relocation of an enterprise. Zhong Lun has also been actively involved in the revision of at least eight bills related to environmental protection.

Last year, the firm participated in the transfer of a 24.5% stake in Xi’an Xianyang International Airport by Air China for RMB1.11 billion. The deal involved state-owned equities purchase on the China Beijing Equity Exchange and the exit of Xi’an Xianyang International Airport’s shareholder, Frankfurt International Airport. Zhong Lun successfully navigated the complexities of simultaneous transactions within and outside of the exchange, facilitating the parties’ business plans and arrangements.

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Chengdu)

* Sichuan Junhe Law Firm is not affliated with JunHe, a law firm headquartered in Beijing.

Chihkao Law Firm leverages a strong local network to offer clients customised advice and strategies tailored to local preferences and tendencies. The firm actively engages with local governments, state-owned enterprises and institutions, contributing to the development of local regulations.

Last year, Chihkao defended Sichuan Shudao Tong E-commerce in a case involving suspected false gold transaction invoices, with a substantial amount of RMB100 million (USD13.7 million) at stake. Notably, China’s State Administration of Taxation has been rigorously investigating and addressing issues related to “gold invoices” in recent years. In this context, the judgment rendered in this particular case holds a significant degree of local precedence.

Sichuan Junhe Law Firm has consistently provided legal counsel to the China Development Bank for their western region affairs. In a notable case last year, Sichuan Junhe represented a syndicate of banks led by China Development Bank in a lawsuit against the borrower, Sichuan Xinfu Expressway Investment, for defaulting on a loan exceeding RMB6.1 billion. This high-value project involved the disposal of motorway toll rights and holds significant pioneering significance as the country’s sole case addressing the pledge of toll rights and beneficiary rights of motorways, along with the impact of borrower bankruptcy and liquidation on motorways.

In 2022, amidst the de-financialisation of digital collections in China, Sichuan Junhe also provided compliance support to Chengdu Times Publishing House for the public distribution of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The project spanned three months, during which the firm advised on NFT attributes, distribution channels and compliant issuance. This guidance assisted the client in expanding their business into new markets while ensuring adherence to regulatory requirements.

Based in Chengdu, Tahota Law Firm has established a nationwide presence with 23 offices across the country, including four overseas offices, solidifying its influence beyond Sichuan province and into both domestic and foreign regions. The firm specialises in various areas including dispute resolution, intellectual property, capital markets, banking and finance.

Notably, Tahota achieved a significant milestone in intellectual property by representing Migu Music in a successful unfair competition dispute against Taobao and Xiami Music. This groundbreaking case marked the first instance of an unfair competition claim involving an online music platform’s song library. It was also the first online unfair competition case adjudicated by the Supreme People’s Court following judicial interpretation of the Anti-Unfair Competition Law.

Furthermore, Tahota provided trademark legal services to renowned video blogger Li Ziqi. The firm took legal action to resolve a trademark ownership dispute between Li Ziqi and a network company, while also filing multiple international trademark applications to safeguard the “Li Ziqi” global trademark rights. This comprehensive approach ensured protection of the client’s trademark on a global scale.

AllBright Law Offices’ Chengdu office achieved notable milestones in 2022, handling a total of 2,396 cases, a 1.3-fold year-on-year increase earning nearly RMB200 million in revenue for 138% year-on-year growth. The firm primarily serves prominent local enterprises and specialises in providing foreign-related legal services.

Their expertise and successful track record were evident in various projects including involvement in the intermediary service contract dispute between China Industrial Metal, Lontrin and China Petroleum Technology, which was selected as one of the first 10 typical overseas-related commercial cases in the Sichuan and Chongqing pilot free trade zone.

Additionally, the firm’s project providing full lifecycle services of Airbus aircraft for the government of Shuangliu district, Chengdu, and state-owned enterprises in Shuangliu district, was selected as one of the top 10 cases of foreign-related legal services in the local legal industry.

Last year, Dacheng Law Offices advised China Three Gorges Corporation, one of the sellers, on the asset restructuring of China Yangtze Power. The consideration for the transaction amounted to RMB80.5 billion, making it the largest asset restructuring project among A-share listed companies in 2022.

In the field of private equity/venture capital, Dacheng achieved notable success. Representing Chengdu Huaxi Shanjian Equity Investment Fund Management’s investment in Nanjing CR Smart Supply Chain Investment Management Partnership, the firm overcame complex due diligence challenges and difficulties involving infrastructure development and safeguarding state-owned assets.

Zhang Ying, a senior partner based in Chengdu, led a team to complete the revitalisation of Huaneng Nanjing Power Plant within six months, earning recognition from the National Development and Reform Commission as a typical case of asset revitalisation and effective investment expansion in 2022.

Zhou Jiajun, the general manager of Shudao Industry and Finance (Sichuan) Private Equity Fund Management, commends Zhang and says her team’s “understanding and advice on private equity business is very professional … having a higher viscosity to the industry than other law firms”.

Zhong Lun Law Firm has a strong capital markets track record in Chengdu. In 2022, one of the world’s top suppliers of rechargeable battery components for EVs, Tianqi Lithium, debuted on the HKEX as the second-largest share sale in 2022. Zhong Lun’s Chengdu office acted as the issuer’s PRC counsel.

In one of the most important local agricultural transactions, Zhong Lun advised New Hope Liuhe on the sale of 11 pig farms under construction in Sichuan and Chongqing. Both New Hope Liuhe and the buyer, Chengdu Tianfu Xing Xinxin Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Technology, are two of the four Fortune 500 companies based in Chengdu.

Following Zhong Lun’s successful provision of legal services for a cross-border M&A deal involving Yibin Fengyi Packaging, Judy Zhou, the company supervisor, commended the firm for their exceptional dedication to securing optimal benefits for the shareholders.

“[The shareholders] have consistently expressed that not only were they very pleased to have Zhong Lun’s services in this deal, but they would also give Zhong Lun a priority in subsequent M&A transactions, or when they recommend a law firm to their entrepreneurial friends,” says Zhou.

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Chongqing)

Baijus Law Firm
Jingsheng Law Firm
K&H Law Firm
Shariea Law Firm
ZHH & Robin

Baijus Law Firm, headquartered in Chongqing and actively involved in the legal business landscape of the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle, has forged partnerships with law firms across Germany, the US, UK, Spain, Japan and South Korea. Capitalising on its advantageous proximity to the Fifth Circuit Court of the Supreme People’s Court in Chongqing, Baijus has seized the opportunity to collaborate with more than 40 domestic law firms, expanding the reach of its dispute resolution services.

In 2022, Baijus represented one of the defendants embroiled in a monopoly dispute. The lawsuit was initiated by a Chongqing gas group, accusing two local enterprises of engaging in alleged abuse of their dominant market position, but settled down by Baijus dismantling the plaintiff’s claims. Notably, this case marked the first monopoly dispute within Chongqing’s natural gas industry.

Liu Xiaobo, the general manager of Chongqing Bank’s credit card centre and a longstanding collaborator of Baijus, says: “Baijus possesses an expansive team and a professional service system. They exhibit a deep understanding of local regulations and stand out as the most efficient and high-quality partner among the law firms the bank engages with.”

ZHH & Robin (Z&R) achieved an outstanding performance in bankruptcy and reorganisation in 2022. The firm was appointed by local courts to serve as administrators or liquidators for numerous companies, including facilitating the merger and restructuring process of eight affiliated entities of the renowned local catering brand, Axingji Food.

Assisting the RMB7.4 billion (USD1 billion) bankruptcy and liquidation proceedings of Chongqing General Trading (Group) also involved intricate criminal-civil law crossover factors that posed considerable challenges. Another significant accomplishment involved overseeing the bankruptcy and liquidation of New China Trust, marking the first instance of a trust company undergoing such proceedings since enactment of the Trust Law in 2001.

In 2021, Z&R provided legal services for the integration process of Shudao Investment Group, which was established through the consolidation of state-owned enterprises Sichuan Transportation Construction Group and Sichuan Railway Investment Group. The integration efforts focused on establishing the new combination’s subsidiaries such as Shudao Urban & Rural Investment Group, Shudao Railway Investment Group, and Shudao Railway Operation and Management Group. As of December 2022, substantial progress has been made in achieving integration objectives outlined for these companies.

Dacheng Law Offices garnered recognition for its involvement in two significant cases selected as the top 10 typical cases by the Chongqing Bankruptcy Tribunal in 2022. The first involved the bankruptcy reorganisation of Chongqing Energy Investment Group and its 15 affiliated entities, while the second pertained to the bankruptcy reorganisation of 17 companies within Loncin Holdings.

Both cases employed a pre-reorganisation approach to establish an effective connection between out-of-court restructuring and in-court reorganisation. The former case stood out as the first instance of pre-reorganisation being applied to the reorganisation of a large state-owned energy enterprise in China, with the plan receiving approval in a swift 34-day timeframe.

In the arena of international trade remedies, despite securing zero anti-dumping duty for Longteng Special Steel, the world’s second-largest producer of grinding balls, in a sunset review investigation conducted in Australia in 2021, the Australian minister for Industry and Technology disregarded the anti-dumping commissioner’s judgment and insisted on continuing the imposition of duties.

In response, Dacheng filed an appeal on behalf of its client to the Australian Anti-Dumping Review Panel, who ultimately upheld the judgment. This outcome has also ensured that Chinese enterprises exporting relevant products to Australia will not be subject to anti-dumping duties in the future.

Furthermore, Dacheng achieved recognition in the realm of labour law, as one of their contract dispute cases was selected as one of the top 10 typical labour dispute cases by the Chongqing Higher People’s Court in 2022.

In a strategic move to diversify its business operations while ensuring the continued stability of its traditional services, DeHeng Law Offices’ Chongqing office expanded its scope by establishing a criminal practice department, a family wealth management centre and a biotechnology research centre last year.

DeHeng achieved a legal victory by representing Megres Media in a lawsuit against Langweixian Culture Media and an individual in China, on grounds of unfair competition. The case revolved around ownership of intangible assets and digital assets, including popular platforms such as Douyin and Kuaishou.

This case holds instructive value for similar disputes arising within the network digital economy, and gained recognition as the typical intellectual property case in 2022 by the Supreme People’s Court and Chongqing High Court.

DeHeng played a pivotal role in assisting China Resources Yukang Asset Management and China Resources Gas Group in successfully completing a joint acquisition deal involving two gas entities and a historical relic.

This project enabled the clients to reinforce their dominant position in the energy sector within the Chengdu-Chongqing market. With a price tag of RMB623 million, the acquisition included Deyang Natural Gas, the largest gas supplier in Deyang, Sichuan province. The deal presented a multitude of challenges such as complex asset seizure and freezing scenarios, intricate equity arrangements, meticulous verification of gas industry franchise compliance, resolution of significant debts and liabilities, and involvement in major litigation.

Tahota Law Firm has established a strong presence in the field of intellectual property administrative litigation and dispute resolution over the years. Last year, the firm undertook a transnational copyright infringement case in China on behalf of the Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA) of Japan.

The case centred on an infringing entity in China operating the “Manga BANK” website. The domain name of the website had been registered through a US network service provider, while the server was in Sweden.

The website primarily offered online browsing and downloading services for Japanese manga works to users outside of China. After thorough research and analysis, Tahota concluded that Chinese copyright administration authorities held jurisdiction over the case. As a result, they successfully defended CODA’s rights and interests.

This case marked the first instance in which the operator of a pirated manga website, catering primarily to a Japanese audience, has faced administrative penalties in a country other than Japan. The Beijing Office of CODA comments: “Among the numerous administrative complaints they have encountered, this case’s special significance shows the Chinese government’s commitment to copyright protection.”

Video profile: Duan & Duan Law Firm

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Fujian)

Fidelity Law Firm
Jian Da Law Firm
Tenet & Partners

Video profile: Tenet & Partners

Fidelity Law Firm is headquartered in Xiamen, with branch offices in Shanghai, Haikou and eight other cities in Fujian province. The firm excels in the legal aspects of bankruptcy and reorganisation, M&A, real estate and construction.

Leveraging geographic proximity, Fidelity also benefits from capturing a share of the Taiwan legal market. The joint venture office established in Xiamen by Fidelity with Guanghe Law Firm represents the first such association between a mainland Chinese and Taiwan firm. Fidelity also has a dozen Taiwanese lawyers, more than any other in mainland China.

As administrator in the insolvency liquidation-to-reorganisation case of Haoniandong Rice, Fidelity participated in the second round of open call for reorganisation investors, eventually securing an investor for the reorganisation consideration of RMB46 million (USD6.4 million), satisfying 100% of creditors’ claims with a 77% increase from the first round of open call. The case was selected by the Xiamen Intermediate People’s Court as one of the 10 Model Bankruptcy Cases of Xiamen Bankruptcy Trial.

The Fuzhou branch of AllBright Law Offices made strides in the capital market during the first half of 2023, providing legal counsel for Zhengwei Group’s Hong Kong IPO, along with the Nasdaq listings of Nanping amusement park operator, Golden Heaven Group, and Guangzhou-based financing consultant and business service provider, Top Kingwin.

The branch also participated in numerous equity, securities and contractual disputes. One of them, the merger and reorganisation involving Gangtai Group members, marked the first time in Fujian province where an open bid for investors took place following approval of the reorganisation plan.

Dacheng Law Offices has branches in both Fuzhou and Xiamen. In the past year, the Fuzhou office provided a wide range of legal services including corporate and M&A, insolvency and liquidation, cross-border investment and dispute resolution, to nearly 2,000 corporate clients.

In a construction contract dispute involving more than RMB400 million, Dacheng represented Pu Er Yuyuan Property Development. Yin Cheng, project manager at the company, appreciates the firm’s expertise and professionalism, and reserves particular praise for partner Xu Manyang.

“When providing legal services, Xu focuses on communication with clients, and designs thoughtful strategies based on client’s needs,” says Yin. “He is attentive to case progress, responsive at all times, and dedicated to providing the best and most professional legal services.”

Dacheng’s senior partner at the Xiamen office, Guo Hongqing, also handled many corporate interest and contractual disputes with more than RMB100 million in contention. His team acted for Peng Yongkang, the defendant in a dispute over damage to corporate interests involving Northpole China, a local care service provider for the elderly and disabled, and private equity firm Warburg Pincus, offering defence from the angles of actual losses and statute of limitations.

Eventually, the Supreme People’s Court adopted the team’s opinion that “the duration of an insolvency reorganisation is not a statutory cause of action that can give rise to an interruption of the statute of limitation”, and dismissed all claims against Peng.

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Guangzhou)

Goldsun Law Firm is trusted by many local state-owned enterprises, foreign enterprises, industry leaders and financial institutions for their bankruptcy and reorganisation, intellectual property, and capital market services.

Liby Science and Technology is one such long-term client. Zhang Junxin, legal director at Liby, praises the professionalism, experience and mentality of Goldsun director and senior partner, Lin Taisong. “Lin has a unique perspective on difficult cases, which often helps him identify a feasible solution,” says Zhang. “He is also passionate about public service and has made outstanding contributions to the community.”

In the past year, while maintaining a leading position in banking and finance, real estate and construction, and capital markets, Kingbridge Law Firm also established a strong presence in IP, distressed assets, foreign investment and IT. The firm acted for a bank in Guangzhou in an unfair competition dispute involving an enterprise’s name and its officially recognised decorations, securing a hefty RMB1 million (USD138,900) in damages.

In criminal law, the firm made a successful probation defence for the main offender in a suspected illegal business operations case involving an internet company charged with organised “click” farming, amounting to RMB840 million.

According to Luo Xuhao, board secretary and general manager at Shenzhen-listed Golden Dragon Development, Kingbridge provides professional and high-quality legal services and is often able to suggest multiple actionable game plans, proving to be a loyal provider to its clients.

Video profile: Wang Jing & GH

Wang Jing & GH Law Firm provides IP, dispute resolution and compliance for heavyweight clients including Alibaba, Tencent and China Southern Power Grid (CSG). The firm is year-round compliance counsel to WeChat, the flagship Tencent app with more than 1.2 billion users, covering key areas such as data security, data processing and personal information protection. At the current critical juncture, the firm’s efforts are instrumental in helping the app comply with heightened regulatory standards.

Wang Jing & GH also assisted CSG in setting up an operable set of data compliance guidelines, overcoming the overwhelming volume of electricity data, the magnitude of regions covered, and the complexity of the business scenarios. The firm also helped CSG release the first enterprise electricity data asset certificate and become the first in China’s energy sector to establish a data asset management system.

Excelling at handling foreign-related disputes, Zhuoxin Law Firm represented a Canadian liquefied natural gas (LNG) construction company in an LNG facility construction dispute with a Chinese constructor, involving about RMB4.8 billion. In real estate, Zhuoxin represented many investors, contractors and subcontractors in launching lawsuits against developers. In one such case involving USD160 million of overseas debt default, Zhuoxin acted for an overseas syndicate against a well-known Chinese listed developer.

The Guangzhou office of Jingtian & Gongcheng provided dispute resolution services to a number of leading firms in the technology, biomedical, real estate and shipping sectors last year. The firm provided full legal service to an ocean engineering company on the handling of the shipwreck of Fujing 001, a crane vessel hit by typhoon Chaba when assisting construction of an offshore wind farm.

The firm also provided legal expertise to a subsidiary of China Communications Construction in a reclamation project in the Philippines, and acted as legal counsel in China’s first “wind + photovoltaic” clean energy REITs.

The Guangzhou office of Zhong Lun Law Firm is a regional powerhouse in antitrust dispute resolution. Zhang Baisha, a partner at the firm, and his team acted for Guangdong Administration for Market Regulation (GAMR), responding to a series of administrative lawsuits brought by 13 concrete producers in Maoming, notable for being the first antitrust administrative lawsuits in Guangdong province.

Zhong Lun helped the GAMR secure victories in both first and second instances of the trial, and the series of cases were selected among the Model Anti-monopoly Cases by the Supreme People’s Court.

In IP, Zhong Lun acted for HKC Corporation, a key manufacturer of large LCD panels in China, in responding to more than 30 patent infringement lawsuits from a competitor. In the end, Zhong Lun helped the client win all of them, even successfully invalidating most relevant patents on the opposite side.

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Haikou)

Last year, the Haikou branch of JunHe acted as Chinese legal adviser to the Hainan provincial government in the issuance of RMB5.9 billion (USD819 million) of offshore local government bonds, which gained wide attention from overseas investors, oversubscribed by 2.2 times.

When a US commodity trading and logistics company, Trammo, proposed to convert unlisted foreign shares it held in China BlueChemical for H shares – to achieve “full circulation” – JunHe acted as legal counsel to China BlueChemical. Receiving CSRC approval in relatively short term, the deal was completed in December 2022.

In addition, as legal adviser to Swire Properties, JunHe participated in its joint venture with China Tourism Group Duty Free Corporation for development of a world-class retail landmark in Haitang District, Sanya. The JV’s joint 50:50 bid won with JunHe providing legal counsel along every step from transaction design, document drafting, negotiation, JV establishment, merger filing, listing of land for sale and facilitating completion.

The Haikou office of Tahota Law Firm provided legal services to regional heavyweight institutions including the Hainan branch of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, Hainan Daily, and Boao Super Hospital. In capital markets, Tahota acted as the legal adviser to Nongken Investment in its issuance of RMB500 million ultra-short-term financing bonds with a coupon rate of 1.9%, the lowest interest rate for such agribusiness bond issues since 2022.

The branch also participated in the first bankruptcy pre-reorganisation case in Hainan. With a local pharmaceutical company in operating distress, the Haikou Intermediate People’s Court for the first time adopted a joint recommendation with Tahota emerging as the ad hoc administrator. While ensuring normal operations and workforce stability, the firm completed the pre-reorganisation process and reached a preliminary agreement with all parties on the intent to reorganise. Subsequently, the company was approved by the court to enter into reorganisation, with Tahota continuing to act as the administrator.

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Hefei)

Antaida Law Firm
Chengyi Law Firm
Tianhe Law Firm

Tianhe Law Firm provides legal services in the areas of securities, intellectual property, taxation and litigation, among others. In 2022, Tianhe advised high-tech environmental company Jinglv Environment with its listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange; and also smart logistics system and equipment manufacturer Gen-song’s listing on the Star Market.

Tianhe also acted for the plaintiffs in the additional capital subscription contract dispute of Guohe Property and Ahcof Real Estate v CHINADDOS. Focused on the unfulfilled part of capital increase after partial dissolution of the agreement, Tianhe proposed and won court support for a plan that served both to protect creditor interests and realise the clients’ goal of partially dissolving the capital increase agreement.

“Tianhe has an exceptionally professional team, especially in terms of their understanding and application of regulations related to investment and financing in the capital market and supervision of state-owned assets,” says Zhang Yiran, deputy general manager of the legal compliance department at Hefei Industry Investment Holding (Group).

In the past 12 months, the Hefei branch of AllBright Law Offices undertook 20 bankruptcy cases and numerous corporate commercial disputes. In a contract dispute with Noah (Shanghai) Financial Leasing, AllBright represented Zhongxin Finance Leasing (Guangzhou) – whose claims to this point had been dismissed in the first and second instances – by bringing the case to the Supreme People’s Court for retrial, winning RMB99 million (USD13.6 million) compensation from Noah, plus interest.

AllBright also represented Zhang Youjun, the plaintiff, in a labour dispute against Huanmei Real Estate Development, which had dragged on for more than 15 years. The case was entangled in a complex historical transaction involving Huanmei, Shanghai-listed Cinda Real Estate, and the acquisition of Huainan Mining Industry. In the end, the court supported AllBright’s claim that Huanmei bear more than RMB44 million in labour compensation.

The Hefei office of Grandall Law Firm is known for its expertise in litigation, capital market, corporate restructuring and M&A. The firm acts as permanent legal counsel for Anhui Province Energy Group, Anhui Expressway and Gotion High-tech, as well as specialised legal counsel for the elderly care project of Anhui Salt Real Estate Group.

In the bankruptcy liquidation case of Yaohua Real Estate Development, Grandall, acting as the administrator, completed the receivership, selection of auditor and evaluation of the debtor. The firm also advised Fuxing Automobile in its bankruptcy reorganisation case, with the reorganisation plan approved by the Hefei Court of Railroad Transportation.

The firm also participated in the bankruptcy and liquidation of Jingming Electronic Technology and Xinfeng Colour Packaging. In both cases, the insolvency estate has been distributed, and the court has terminated the insolvency proceedings.

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Hong Kong)

LC Lawyers
Stevenson Wong & Co
Wilkinson & Grist

In 2022, Gallant holistically upgraded its IT setup in response to social distancing rules imposed in Hong Kong throughout the year, including virtual device interface (VDI) for working from home, e-filing and audio-video-conference systems.

Armed with revamped technological prowess, Gallant provided legal counsel for a number of banks in their syndicated loan facilities or green loan facilities, while extending its services to a variety of companies including red-chip and blue-chip conglomerates, state-owned enterprises, and real estate holding groups.

LC Lawyers, the Hong Kong law firm member of Ernst & Young’s global network, represented Hong Kong-listed Fullshare Holdings in its disposal of a 43% equity interest in Nanjing High-Speed Gear Manufacturing at a consideration of RMB4.3 billion (USD680 million).

The firm also acted as Hong Kong legal adviser to Majestic Corporation in its IPO and application for admission to trading on the UK’s Aquis Stock Exchange (AQSE). In spite of legal intricacies resulting from cross-border elements, the application was successful.

2023 marks the 140th anniversary of the founding of Wilkinson & Grist, an all-service firm specialising in corporate and commercial affairs, dispute resolution, intellectual property, real estate, and data & privacy protection. In IP, the firm advised many local and international brand owners including Adidas, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, IKEA, Twitter and Porsche on their trademark and patent matters.

Wilkinson & Grist also acted for multiple vendors in the disposal of high-value property in Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as for both borrower and bank in relation to the granting of substantial banking facilities in the real estate sector.

The Hong Kong office of Haiwen & Partners acted for Hong Kong-listed Xingda International on its conditional voluntary cash partial offer for a maximum of 80 million offer shares; and for Hong Kong-based medical service provider Clarity Medical on its listing and global offering on the SEHK. Haiwen also represented Alibaba in setting up its private equity funds focusing on consumer areas with a target size of RMB2 billion.

The office is a regional leader in dispute resolution. Vivian Gao, director of HSCB Global Private Banking, praises the dispute resolution team for “[exhibiting] impressive depth, with highly capable junior members who deliver quick turnarounds. They possess an excellent grasp of the issues at hand and a keen awareness of the unique considerations within our industry,” she says.

The Hong Kong office of Tian Yuan Law Firm acted as Hong Kong legal adviser in a number of capital market activities including: Gaush Meditech and Zibuyi Group in their SEHK listings; Hygeia Healthcare’s placing of new shares; Gushengtang in its top-up placing of existing shares and subscription of new shares; and Solargiga Energy in its substantial disposal and connected transaction.

Zhong Lun Law Firm’s Hong Kong office serves as legal adviser for a wide range of clients, from reputable brands such as Bank of China (Hong Kong), China Minsheng Bank and Falcon Insurance, to not-for-profit organisations and high-net-worth individuals. The firm acted for a listed Hong Kong developer in a major redevelopment project spanning three individual sites, advising on the mechanism for allocation of undivided shares and management units. Reportedly, it was the largest-scale urban redevelopment project in Hong Kong in the past 30 years.

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Jiangsu)

C&T Partners
Fadedongheng Law Firm
G&D Law Firm
He Partners
Sundy Law Firm

C&T Partners, with its head office in Nanjing, is a seasoned player in China’s capital market. In 2022, the firm advised: Changzhou Architectural Research Institute Group’s listing on the ChiNext; Liandi Information Systems’ listing on the Beijing Stock Exchange; and Cigu Technology’s listing on the Star Market.

Apart from IPOs, C&T acted as legal adviser to Jiangsu General Science in the placement of more than RMB1 billion (USD137 million) in shares with specific investors.

In April 2023, C&T assisted Both Engineering Technology with its listing on the main board of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, one of the first companies to do so following the comprehensive implementation of the registration-based systems for main boards.

Headquartered in Nanjing, Fadedongheng Law Firm has 11 additional offices in Jiangsu province. In Xingi Technology’s RMB2.1 billion acquisition of the entire new materials sector of Yan’an Bikang Pharmaceutical, Fadedongheng was engaged by both parties and served as the sole legal counsel for the deal.

Fadedongheng also participated in the substantive consolidation of Nanjing Construction Group (NCG), involving a total of 25 companies and ultimately resolving a debt crisis amounting to RMB140 billion.

The reorganisation project was the first in China to successfully use out-of-court debt restructuring, pre-reorganisation and judicial reorganisation procedures to resolve the debt risks of a large-scale construction enterprise, as well as the largest bankruptcy case in Jiangsu province. It was selected among China Business Law Journal’s Deals of the Year 2022.

The Nanjing office of AnJie Broad assisted Yanfeng – one of the largest automotive component suppliers in the world – resolve a crisis brought on by the bankruptcy of Dacheng Automobile Department through property preservation, judgment and mediation, facilitating payment transfers from government platforms totalling more than RMB50 million.

The firm also acted as specialised legal compliance adviser to Yangzi Petrochemical, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinopec Group, with its services encompassing investment, R&D, production safety, intellectual property and employment, in preparation for annual audit of its HSSE management system.

Last year, the Suzhou branch of DeHeng Law Offices maintained the edge in securities, foreign-related and cross-border investments, and real estate and construction, while adding dispute resolution and enforcement, maritime and insurance, and biomedical to its arsenal.

The firm advised Alltop Technology with its issuance to non-specified eligible investors and IPO on the Beijing Stock Exchange. It also served as legal counsel for the Star Market IPO of the Suzhou Academy of Planning and Design.

In a development co-operation contract dispute between a Suzhou real estate company and a Xinjiang state-owned company, DeHeng helped the former launch a lawsuit requesting the Xinjiang company to fulfil obligation to provide RMB250 million in shareholder loans, and pay liquidated damages.

The case involved third-party performance, called into question the mandatory nature of shareholder loan provision, and required cross-regional court co-ordination to complete property preservation. With DeHeng’s aid, the plaintiff’s claims were supported by the arbitral tribunal.

The Nanjing office of Grandall Law Firm is a regional powerhouse in capital market, banking and finance, intellectual property, and civil and commercial dispute resolution. In a software copyright infringement case launched by FutureSoft against Cloud Dragon, Grandall made the groundbreaking move of adopting GPL (general public licence) defence, and cited the “unclean hands doctrine” more commonly associated with unfair competition cases.

The erroneous application of open-source software by the plaintiff caused it to have substantially lost copyright protection, which served as a timely reminder to the domestic software industry’s heavy reliance on open-source components and codes.

As co-administrator, Grandall also participated in the above-mentioned NCG consolidation. In capital markets, the firm: advised Yangjie Electronic Technology in its issuance of global depositary receipts (GDR) on the SIX Swiss Exchange; helped Yang Zi State-owned Investment Group’s issuance of USD-denominated sustainable bonds listed on the SEHK; and provided legal counsel to pharmaceutical manufacturer Frontier Biotechnologies with its private equity offerings.

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (North China)

Jihua Law Firm
Join & High Law Office
Ruo Hui Law Firm
Zhang Ying Law Firm
Zhong Lv Law Firm

As one of the most prominent law firms in Tianjin, with more than 200 lawyers in 7,000 square metres of offices, Join & High Law Office has provided legal services to various government agencies and large enterprises since its inception in 2005.

In the past three years, it has garnered the trust and preference of more than 600 government agencies and businesses. One notable feature of the firm is the establishment of a military-related legal services centre, which has opened up the market for military-related legal services in Tianjin.

Join & High Law Office has also accumulated significant experience in legal services for major events and competitions, serving as a legal adviser for events such as the Tianjin Summer Davos Forum, National University Games, East Asian Games, National Games, Paralympic Games and the Special Olympics.

Ruo Hui Law Firm operates offices in Hohhot, Ordos and Ulanqab within the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The firm comprises 24 partners and a team of more than100 lawyers and legal assistants. As the firm has grown, it has also undertaken a meticulous division of its professional services, categorising them into 16 major areas and 116 specific subsectors.

This strategic division enhances the firm’s ability to provide tailored and innovative services, such as its innovative service for Hohhot Jingu Rural Commercial Bank. In this collaboration, the compliance and criminal procedure teams joined forces to scrutinise nearly 200 loan transactions conducted by the client in 2021 – based on analysis of more than 103 cases of illegal lending across the region – to ensure the client could effectively conduct its lending business in full compliance with the law, avoiding any potential legal risks associated with criminal offences.

Taiyuan-based DeHeng Law Offices saw a significant expansion last year with the addition of 30 new lawyers – marking a year-on-year growth rate exceeding 15% – and handling a total of 2,351 cases, nearly 20% more than the previous year. The firm excelled in bankruptcy and reorganisation, including its successful involvement in Jinzhong city, Shanxi province’s first real estate company bankruptcy and reorganisation project for a decade.

The office also managed various bankruptcy liquidation cases, notably Taiyuan Shirt Manufacturer. In this case, the firm efficiently resolved issues pertaining to economic compensation refunds, retirement processing, social security refunds and transfers for more than 300 employees, safeguarding their rights and interests.

The Tianjin office of Grandall Law Firm worked as a legal counsel for several significant transactions last year, including the first domestic asset-backed sci-tech innovation note issued by CCCC First Harbour Engineering, where the underlying asset was supply chain bills. This note employed a more intricate transaction structure than conventional ABS/ABN to reduce financing costs.

Additionally, the office provided legal services for the Beijing Stock Exchange listing of Tianfangbiao Standardisation Certification and Testing, a local state-owned entity in Tianjin. This achievement set a new benchmark for state-owned enterprise mixed-ownership reform in Tianjin.

The office also worked on several significant provincial-level projects in the integration and restructuring sector last year, including advising Taiyuan Coal Gasification Group on debt restructuring involving a debt transfer and debt-to-equity conversion valued at RMB15 billion (USD2.08 billion).

Cases handled by W&H Law Firm’s Tianjin office last year garnered attention in their respective industries and intellectual property protection areas, such as the pre-litigation injunction case related to the Qatar World Cup, which was selected as one of the Top 10 Sports Legal Events in China in 2022 by the official website of state-owned newspaper Legal Daily.

It was also included among the Top 10 Typical Intellectual Property Protection Cases selected by Tianjin High People’s Court. Additionally, the litigation case ByteDance v Feilu Novel, for copyright infringement of novel software, and another copyright infringement case, ByteDance v Guangzhou Dongjing Computer Technology, were selected as two of the Top 10 Copyright Cases in Chinese Online Literature for 2022.

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Northeast China)

Gong Cheng Law Firm
Heng Xin Law Office
Hengfeng Law Firm
Wang, Wu, Yang & Ma Law Firm
Zeazone Law Firm

Gong Cheng Law Firm is deeply rooted in the legal services of Jilin province. Its clients primarily comprise local government agencies, major banks and asset management companies, large state-owned enterprises, and listing companies.

The firm served as administrator in the bankruptcy and reorganisation of Jilin Grain Group Imp & Exp, facilitating restructuring of the company and its 27 affiliated bankrupt enterprises, managing debt and employee placement, raising more than RMB70 million in funding for the restructuring project, and revitalising assets of nearly RMB1.3 billion. This case was selected as one of the typical civil and commercial cases in Jilin province by Jilin High People’s Court in 2022.

In collaboration with its offices in Shenyang, Shanghai, and Tokyo, Dalian-based Heng Xin Law Office has established an integrated legal services resource network across these four locations. Last year, the Dalian office represented the dispute case over the liability for maritime property damage between Fujian Yuancheng Soybean and Revival Shipping, which was included among the third batch of typical cases related to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Construction released by the Supreme People’s Court (SPC).

Simultaneously, it was featured as a classic case in the China Maritime and Commercial Law Report published by the renowned British international commercial and maritime law publisher, Informa. This case required profound understanding of international trade, international maritime practices, and the applicable provisions of China’s Maritime Law.

Shenyang-based Dacheng Law Offices served as legal adviser for 36 government and public organisations last year, making government legal services a key focus of the firm. Among these, the firm advised Dadong District People’s Government in Shenyang in attracting investments, and provided legal support for “ensuring delivery of stalled housing projects” and the acquisition of nine land parcels by the Urban Renewal Bureau in the same district.

As one of the first bankruptcy administrators registered with Shenyang Intermediate People’s Court, the firm also advised the financial creditors committee in the high-profile bankruptcy restructuring of Shenyang Dairy. This complex case involved a debt of RMB5 billion and was nominated among China Business Law Journal’s 2022 Deals of the Year.

Established for more than 20 years, JunHe’s Dalian office has been providing comprehensive legal services to numerous enterprises and projects in the northeastern region. One recent noteworthy project involved an exclusive collaboration between Shenyang Aerospace Xinguang Group and Haichang Ocean Park, broadly encompassing exclusive licensing of existing intellectual property rights (IPR) related to intelligent biomimetic robots, shared ownership of IPR for jointly developed new intelligent biomimetic robots, and revenue distribution.

The Dalian office played a pivotal role in facilitating this partnership by crafting transaction agreements and related subsidiary agreements, while providing legal support for negotiations.

The firm’s service also extends beyond the region, having advised microwave and millimetre-wave RF chip developer Zhejiang Chengchang Technology on its main board listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Additionally, acting as an administrator in the bankruptcy and restructuring of Hengkang Medical Group, the firm actively drove formulation of the restructuring plan and secured a strong majority vote from creditors, efficiently marshalling the successful corporate restructuring.

The Changchun branch of JunZeJun Law Offices benefits from a robust information and resource network established in collaboration with JunZeJun’s affiliated organisations both domestically and internationally. In addition to outstanding in-house talent, this enables the firm to offer legal services across different geographical regions and fields. Bank of Yingkou has repeatedly entrusted the firm to handle multiple debt-related cases involving a total exceeding RMB10 billion.

Wang Yin, the investment manager of Yingkou Bank’s financial department, expressed high satisfaction with the firm’s services, saying: “JunZeJun’s legal service team possesses a strong sense of responsibility, consistently adopts a client-centric perspective, comprehensively and accurately grasps client needs and, in conjunction with the client’s industry-specific characteristics and business model, delivers actionable legal advice.

“They devise contextually appropriate solutions that prioritise safeguarding the client’s lawful rights and interests to the fullest extent”.

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Shandong)

Eternal Glory Law Office
Jointide Law Firm
Kang Qiao Law Firm
Shandong Deheng Law Firm
Wincon Law Firm

Jointide Law Firm has been actively involved in shaping national, provincial and municipal legal laws and regulations related to administrative policies, livelihoods and economy, and industry norms.

Its lawyers have contributed significantly across various domains by drafting instructive guidelines and standards. For instance, their work on the Patent Valuation Standards led to its adoption as a local standard in Shandong province.

In the past year, the firm has achieved remarkable success in the field of bankruptcy and reorganisation. They have served as legal counsel in significant projects including: the pre-restructuring of Qingdao Jialongteng Real Estate; the pre-restructuring of Linyi Ludi Shanhua Tourism Development; the bankruptcy restructuring of Shandong Jikuang Morningsun Coal Chem; and the bankruptcy liquidation of Shandong Zhongyan Industry.

Wincon Law Firm, headquartered in Qingdao, boasts a widespread presence with more than 10 domestic and international offices and branches. Last year, it expanded by adding four new offices in Linyi, Dongying, Dezhou and Binzhou.

The firm offers clients more targeted legal services with specialised centres such as its Policy Research Centre, Data Compliance Research Centre, Qingdao Supply Chain Industry Legal Service Centre, and Chinese Seafarers Legal Service Centre, which is jointly established with the China Maritime Service Centre of the Ministry of Transport.

Wincon Law Firm handled the commercial defamation dispute between Hisense Visual Technology and TCL King Electrical Appliances. This case earned recognition as one of the 50 Typical Intellectual Property Cases of Chinese Courts in 2022, published by the Supreme People’s Court.

Furthermore, the firm assisted the Qingdao Maritime Court in reviewing the applicability of Hong Kong law in a case involving the application for non-enforcement of Hong Kong arbitration awards by Bintan Mining, ultimately resulting in the recognition and enforcement of two Hong Kong arbitration awards. The case was selected as a typical case of equal protection of Chinese and foreign parties’ legal rights and interests by Shandong Provincial Higher People’s Court in 2022.

DHH Law Firm’s Qingdao office provided legal services for multiple IPO projects for various companies last year. Among them, Shandong Bangji Technology successfully listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) main board, marking the first livestock and poultry feed company to go public on the A-share market in nearly five years.

It also became the first listed feed company in Shandong province. Additionally, the office advised Qingdao Tianneng Heavy Industry and Shandong Link Science and Technology – leading domestic companies in the wind turbine tower and large-scale silicon dioxide production industries – in conducting a non-public issuance of shares.

In dispute resolution, the firm represented a domestic listed company in a production line procurement dispute with an Italian manufacturer. The parties eventually settled through its proactive efforts, furthering the project’s development while avoiding resorting to international arbitration.

The bankruptcy and restructuring team at Tahota Law Firm’s Jinan office comprises seasoned attorneys and is structured with comprehensive resource management, and financial liquidation teams to enhance efficiency of their services.

Last year, the Jinan branch was bankruptcy administrator for Qingdao Zhongtian Energy Group in a complex case involving 21 domestic and foreign subsidiaries of the group and debts of RMB8.4 billion, marking the first bankruptcy restructuring case in Qingdao involving assets of multiple overseas enterprises.

Intellectual property is one of the core service areas of this branch. Representing Jinan Yuanqigu Sleep Technology in a patent infringement dispute with Xu, the design patent owner, the firm’s lawyers successfully halted the litigation by declaring the patent invalid during the defence period.

Through extensive research and precise analysis of the involved patent and existing designs, they convincingly proved the patent’s invalidity, shielding Jinan Yuanqigu Sleep Technology from infringement risks.

Zhong Lun Law Firm’s Qingdao office brings a wealth of experience to debt reorganisation and bankruptcy restructuring. Its dedicated team actively promotes innovative procedures to resolve debt crises that replace bankruptcy restructuring with bankruptcy settlement. For instance, Shandong Jinsheng Nonferrous Group, burdened with a debt of RMB12.8 billion, entered bankruptcy restructuring under a court ruling.

Acting as the bankruptcy administrator, the Qingdao office engaged in market value assessment of the debtor, communicated with stakeholders including creditors, and balanced the interests of all parties involved to facilitate a resolution in which they opted for a merger and settlement instead of a bankruptcy restructuring.

In the same year, Haihui Group and 32 other companies, facing debts exceeding RMB16 billion and insolvency, saw the firm diligently review and confirm the claims of more than 2,000 creditors in just 30 days. While ensuring the continued operation of the business, the team engaged in proactive negotiations with creditors, successfully reaching a settlement between Haihui Group and creditors in a mere 76 days, effectively resolving this debt crisis.

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Shanghai)

Co-Effort Law Firm excels in intellectual property protection, handling numerous noteworthy cases related to patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, e-commerce, anti-unfair competition and antitrust matters.

In a recent dispute between Tencent and Guangzhou LiZhi Network over the copyright infringement of the novel The Three-Body Problem, not only did traditional infringement actions come into play, but also a new form of infringement emerged, namely live-streaming the novel in the form of an audio novel within live-streaming rooms.

Serving as Tencent’s legal adviser, Co-Effort Law Firm undertook a comprehensive assessment of the scale, impact and evidence collection of the infringement. The firm directly filed a lawsuit against the LiZhi FM platform, introducing innovative blockchain-based evidence collection methods and providing substantial arguments in favour of the infringed copyright. Ultimately, the court supported its claim, awarding fully-requested compensation of RMB5 million as damages.

With a three-decade history, Hiways Law Firm is headquartered in Shanghai and has offices in more than 30 domestic and international cities. Notably, the firm is a member of the prestigious international legal alliance TAGLaw, connecting to a global legal service network of more than 300 law firms, accounting firms and other professional service providers in 150 countries and regions.

In the past year, Hiways Law Firm provided legal services for several significant transactions and cases. The firm advised PetroChina West–East Gas Pipeline in its acquisition and reorganisation of Zhejiang Provincial Natural Gas Development, Zhejiang Zheneng Natural Gas Pipeline Network, and Zhejiang Zheneng Natural Gas Operation, a transaction valued at RMB12 billion.

Additionally, Hiways advised the domestic vaccine company Beijing Luzhu Biotechnology in its Hong Kong IPO. This project required highly specialised legal expertise in biopharmaceutical innovation and intellectual property, reflecting the firm’s professional capabilities. Also, the firm achieved victory for 11 Chinese photovoltaic companies against an anti-dumping claim in India.

The Shanghai office of Dacheng Law Firm currently boasts a team of more than 500 legal professionals, with nearly half having overseas study or work experience, allowing it to provide multilingual legal services, handling international transactions and disputes for both domestic and international clients.

Last year, the office advised Foxconn Interconnect Technology, a subsidiary of Foxconn, in its successful acquisition of Prettl SWH Group, a German automotive developer and manufacturer.

Leveraging its international legal resources network, the office conducted due diligence on Prettl SWH, which has 19 subsidiaries spanning 12 countries across Asia, the Americas and Europe. The firm also provided legal counsel on various aspects of the transaction, including scope and employee placement.

Additionally, the Shanghai office offered legal feasibility and greenwashing risk assessment to snack manufacturer Mondelēz International for its zero-carbon factory project in China, which needs to meet the stringent standards of both China and Nasdaq for zero-carbon certification, presenting significant challenges in terms of both feasibility and compliance.

The office also conducted legal compliance reviews for ICL Group, a foreign-invested enterprise with mining rights in China, operating seven plants for phosphate mining and downstream chemical operations. Within two weeks, the firm completed environmental compliance reviews for 50 projects associated with these plants.

After two decades of development, the Shanghai office of Global Law Office has seen its client base grow significantly, encompassing state-owned enterprises, central enterprises, large Chinese corporations and Fortune 500 foreign businesses.

In the past year, the office has actively participated as legal advisers in several influential transactions. For example, it advised on ZTO Express’s issuance of USD1 billion convertible senior notes, while Eastern Bell Capital’s fundraising project in renminbi and US dollars was valued at RMB13 billion.

A prominent state-owned shipping company also entrusted the office as specialised compliance consultant for its 2022 international ship leasing business related to sanctions against Russia. In the same year, the firm was invited to collaborate with national industry associations, including the China Pharmaceutical Industry Association, to develop China’s first corporate compliance officer group standard for the pharmaceutical industry, along with its supporting teaching materials.

In the past year, the Shanghai office of Grandall Law Firm has been involved in numerous major transactions. Their capital market team provided legal services for various ventures, including: the A round and A+ round financing for Yangzhou Nali New Materials Technology; the listing of Chengdu Fun Sleep Technology on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange’s Growth Enterprise Market; and the IPO project of SICC, a technological company focusing on the R&D, production and sales of silicon carbide substrate material.

The office also served as legal adviser to private equity investment firm Hidden Harbor Capital Partners in its acquisition of engine product and drive system manufacturer Dayco.

The firm conducted due diligence on Dayco’s four entities in China within tight deadlines, reviewed global transaction-related documents, and assessed risks including environmental governance, international intellectual property, project development and government relations.

It also addressed inquiries from overseas lawyers, transaction parties, insurance companies and banks, ultimately facilitating successful completion of the acquisition. Last year, the Shanghai office of Grandall Law Firm was recognised by the Shanghai Higher People’s Court and Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Justice as a first-tier administrator for corporate bankruptcy cases.

Han Kun Law Offices’ Shanghai branch, founded in 2009, has rapidly flourished into a law firm with almost 300 professionals. This branch has excelled in various areas including domestic and international investment and financing, M&A, capital markets, intellectual property and dispute resolution, earning the trust of both domestic and foreign enterprises.

In the past year, it was pivotal in facilitating multiple companies’ listings on the Nasdaq via de-SPAC mergers. Notable clients included: Lotus Technology, the world’s leading manufacturer of global luxury electric vehicles; Tims China, a Chinese subsidiary of the global coffee chain brand, Tim Hortons; and ECARX, a global mobility tech provider and also the largest Chinese company to list in the US in 2022.

The Shanghai office also advised China Eastern Airlines and CES International Financial Leasing in financing its leasing and syndicated loan of the C919, China’s first domestically developed passenger jet, built by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).

Broadening financing avenues in the new energy sector, the firm provided legal services to launch China’s first photovoltaic infrastructure REIT, and also the first offshore wind power infrastructure REIT.

In the same year, this branch offered legal support for the Shenjiahuhang Expressway private REIT project, which became the largest infrastructure private equity REIT project in the Chinese market as of December 2022.

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Shenzhen)

China Commercial Law Firm has deep roots in the local legal market, with a total of 10 offices spread across various districts of Shenzhen. They serve a diverse range of clients spanning various industries and local government departments, including Evergrande Group, COFCO Group, Tencent Music Entertainment, Schneider Electric, and BGI Genomics.

The firm acted as issuer’s counsel in the ChiNext board listing of Vital New Material, a microelectronic soldering materials company. The company’s board secretary, Sang Zelin, is very satisfied with China Commercial’s services in the IPO project and recommends the firm’s Shenzhen-based managing partner, Caleb Guo.

“He is adept at grasping recent regulatory developments and dealing with cutting-edge and complex legal issues,” says Sang. “Guo is humble, possesses excellent communication skills, and is able to always put himself in the client’s shoes to provide efficient and meticulous legal services. I have had a very good time working with him.”

Guanghe Law Firm has been rapidly expanding its service scope to emerging industries and actively exploring innovative legal services as China’s data legislation becomes increasingly comprehensive.

Providing continual compliance legal services on digital collections for Shenzhen Yuanwu Universe Technology, the legal team developed an all-round compliance design for the whole process of digital collections issuance and sales practices. They standardised the service process and templated the working documents before finally forming a business guideline, which they published through the Shenzhen Lawyers Association, providing an exemplary case on future legal work for their peers.

Guanghe also conducted a privacy impact assessment (PIA) for Zhaolian Consumer Finance. As one of the leading companies in China’s internet finance industry, Zhaolian has wide product coverage and a large user base, resulting in a substantial workload for the PIA project. According to Guanghe, this also one of the earliest lawyer-led PIA projects in southern China.

SD & Partners’ tax, equity transaction and intellectual property services have earned recognition from Ivy Deng, legal manager at DJI Technology. “They were able to formulate an effective and systematic legal strategy based on our actual business situation and time-sensitive needs, which provided us with effective support to cope with external challenges,” she says. “The fees are also reasonable and transparent.”

She also recommends SD & Partners’ Shenzhen-based senior partner, Wang Yongjing, impressed by his 20 years’ experience in law firms, listed companies and professional tax organisations. “He understands his clients’ business models and demands, and is able to develop the best litigation strategies. His communication is frank, direct and trustworthy.”

Jincheng Tongda & Neal’s Shenzhen branch has established a strong presence in the capital markets, focused on developing businesses such as bankruptcy liquidation, intellectual property and dispute resolution.

The firm acted for property developer Tagen Group on one of its bond financing projects, and the group’s investment manager, Peng Qixian, says: “The team demonstrates a high level of professionalism, the fees are reasonable, and the feedback is timely and efficient”.

Peng holds an excellent overall impression of Liu Guangxiang, a senior partner at the firm’s Shenzhen office, and his team. “Liu’s team has deep knowledge in financial asset management, investment and financing, as well as related dispute resolution, and has accumulated a considerable number of high-quality financial institution client resources,” says Peng.

“Leading a well-structured team … Liu Guangxiang has extensive experience in working with financial institutions, demonstrating a high level of business acumen and sensitivity.”

JunHe’s Shenzhen branch was established in 1999. Leveraging JunHe’s management mechanism of shared resources and clients, the branch has developed a service edge through multi-team collaborations and multi-office co-ordination.

In 2022, the branch handled numerous significant projects across different business sectors and legal jurisdictions, including the notable cross-shareholding plan between the two major port operators, China Merchants Port Group (CMPG) and the Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan.

Zhang Jianwei, managing partner of the Shenzhen branch and lead partner for the project, assembled a team from several other offices to provide comprehensive legal services to CMPG.

Their work include participating in the design of the transaction structure, negotiating transaction agreements and strategic co-operation agreements, conducting due diligence on the client, and handling the antitrust filing related to the project.

Under this plan, both parties became each other’s second-largest shareholders through private placement, with CMPG and Ningbo-Zhoushan Port investing RMB14.1 billion (USD1.9 billion) and RMB10.7 billion, respectively.

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Xi’an)

Forever Law Firm
Help Reaching Law Firm
Jiaxuan Law Firm
Jindi Law Firm
Yong Jia Xin Law Firm

Help Reaching Law Firm has offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Spain, in addition to its base in Shaanxi province, providing comprehensive legal services in various industries such as construction and real estate, mining and energy, finance, technology, and manufacturing.

The firm’s clients include a range of state-owned and private leading enterprises such as PetroChina Changqing Oilfield, Datang Shaanxi Power Generation, Xi’an Aeronautics Computing Technique Research Institute, Chang’an International Trust, Xi’an Banknote Printing, and the Xi’an branch of Gemdale Property Management.

Jiaxuan Law Firm has the largest team of lawyers in Shaanxi province, providing services to both domestic and foreign-funded enterprises, government agencies, and research institutions. Clients include Shaanxi Provincial Expressway Construction Group, Hitachi (China), China Construction First Group, Nuclear Power Institute of China, and Housing and Urban Rural Development of Shaanxi province.

Yang Hongjun, general manager of Shaanxi Photoelectron Integrated Circuit Pilot Technology Research Institute, has employed Jiaxuan for many years. She believes that their lawyers “possess solid legal theoretical knowledge, outstanding research abilities, extensive practical experience, diligent and responsible work attitude, and effective communication and collaboration skills”.

Yang recommends Cao Peng, a senior partner at Jiaxuan Law Firm in Xi’an. “Cao has specialised in assisting in commercially transforming scientific and technological achievements for many years, and has abundant practical experience in this field,” she says. “He can maximise the realisation of clients’ business objectives and reduce legal risks.”

Yong Jia Xin Law Firm has provided legal services to nearly 2,000 clients in the past year, including general consultancy to nearly 500 enterprises, of which more than half are governments, institutions and large state-owned enterprises.

Notably, the firm provided comprehensive legal services in the construction of the Xi’an branch of the Chinese National Archives of Publications and Culture (CNAPC). The CNAPC is a major cultural project approved by the central government, with a long construction period and significant tasks, requiring the handling of various types of unexpected legal issues. After construction was completed, the Xi’an branch of the CNAPC expressed full satisfaction with the process, signing a legal consultancy service contract with Yong Jia Xin.

AllBright Law Offices’ Xi’an office represented Matsunichi Property, which had lost a first-instance case for its contract dispute with Country Garden Real Estate Group. But in the second-instance proceedings before the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), the team put forward innovative legal arguments that were accepted by the SPC, and ultimately successfully assisted the client win the appeal, recovering more than RMB1 billion (USD137 million) in losses.

Jincheng Tongda & Neal’s Xi’an office has represented policy banks, local governments, financial institutions, listed companies and state-owned enterprises in a number of major projects and cases in the past year.

In disputed equity repurchase between China Agricultural Development Key Construction Fund, Chunsheng and the government of Handan district, the firm recovered RMB22.2 million in losses for their clients through negotiation and litigation strategies.

Tu Junyong, deputy manager of Xi’an Qichuang Investment Consultancy, considers the firm to be a “trustworthy professional organisation” in western China. He also recommends Zhang Hongyuan, a senior partner of the firm in Xi’an: “Zhang is a reliable partner, an expert worthy of long-term co-operation, and a close friend of mine for more than 20 years. Whether in the four securities firms I have worked for over more than 10 years, or the company I am currently in charge of, I regard him as my preferred partner.”

Kangda Law Firm’s Xi’an office is the firm’s first ever branch, providing services to numerous government agencies, large state-owned enterprises, research institutions, and more. The branch is involved in the formulation of local public policies and assists in important transactions such as cross-border mergers and acquisitions and the integration of large state-owned assets in the Xi’an area.

In 2022, the branch successfully assisted a company in completing criminal compliance rectification and received recognition from the local prosecutors under China’s new legal mechanism that allows companies to avoid criminal charges after fulfilling certain requirements.

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Yunnan)

Baqian Law Firm
Ling Yun Law Firm
Zhongji Law Firm

Baqian Law Firm has deep connections in the local legal market and is the first large-scale firm in Yunnan province with over a hundred practising lawyers. With its business scope covering South Asia and Southeast Asia, the firm also has a dedicated specialty in the field of state-owned asset management.

In addition to providing general corporate legal services, it also offers services tailored to the characteristics of state-owned enterprises. These include asset management compliance supervision, investment group control, prevention of leadership’s involvement in criminal and dereliction of duty risks, and government debt management for state-owned investment and financing platforms.

Ling Yun Law Firm has established 11 branch offices in various locations within Yunnan province including Qujing, Yuxi, Baoshan, Xishuangbanna and Lincang, in addition to its Kunming headquarters.

Along with several other law firms, it co-founded the Pan-Mekong Law Firm in Myanmar, dedicated to serving Chinese investors in the country. Having handled numerous high-profile cases on a national scale, the firm is capable of providing comprehensive legal services, with a particular focus on criminal defence.

Zhongji Law Firm boasts a legal team where multiple lawyers possess professional qualifications in fields such as engineering, medicine, certified public accounting, and certified tax agency.

Wan Li, the director of the firm in Kunming, concurrently holds various social duties and titles including: vice president of the All China Lawyers Association; president of the Yunnan Lawyers Association; and standing committee member of the Yunnan Provincial Political Consultative Conference.

He has provided legal consultation services to government departments, institutions and enterprises including the Yunnan Provincial People’s Government, Kunming Tobacco Monopoly Bureau, and Yunnan Airport Group.

SGLA Law Firm’s Kunming office has a strong business advantage in the areas of government and public policy, state-owned asset management, and cross-border investment in South and Southeast Asia.

In the Mee Lin Gyaing LNG Power Project in Myanmar, the firm assisted Yunnan Energy Investment in various aspects including investment path design, financing and guarantee structure arrangement, project concession agreements, international engineering bidding, tax planning, and power sales.

The installed power capacity of the project accounts for nearly 25% of Myanmar’s total installed power capacity, making it the largest planned LNG power plant in Myanmar.

Yingke Law Firm’s Kunming office is currently the largest law firm in Yunnan province, with about 480 practising lawyers. In 2022, the branch assumed the role of administrators in several local large-scale bankruptcy and reorganisation cases, providing legal protection for the equitable repayment of creditors.

The firm also assisted Fudian Bank in issuing RMB2 billion (USD273.9 million) of perpetual bonds, making it the first foreign-funded corporate bank in Yunnan province to issue such bonds.

REGIONAL AWARDS Best Overall Law Firms (Zhejiang)

Brighteous Law Firm
Capital Equity Legal Group
DOS Law Firm
Harnest & Garner Law Firm
Hightac PRC Lawyers
L&H Law Firm
T&C Law Firm
Zeda Law Firm

L&H Law Firm ranks among the top within Zhejiang province in terms of business volume, personnel size and revenue scale. In 2022, L&H undertook a number of influential cases and projects, several of which were also selected by the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate as exemplary cases.

Among Evergrande’s “guaranteed delivery of buildings” series of projects for the central government’s campaign to ease the real estate crisis, L&H provided consultancy for Zhejiang Construction Engineering Group on its acquisition of the under-construction Evergrande Crystal City, which is the largest project of the series by target amount in Zhejiang province.

Liuhe also participated in formulation of the Regulations for Public Trading of Scientific and Technological Achievements, which is the first general provincial-level local standard issued regarding public trading of scientific and technological achievements in China.

T&C Law Firm has a number of leading corporate clients in Zhejiang province including Alibaba, Greentown China, Transfar Group and Rongsheng PetroChemical. The firm has extensive experience in the capital market field and has facilitated the listing of 12 companies in the past 12 months, raising a total of RMB15 billion (USD2.05 billion). The largest of these was the Hong Kong listing of Lygend Resources & Technology, which raised HKD3.67 billion (USD469 million).

A Hong Kong-listed company’s board secretary particularly recommends Lyu Chonghua, a partner of T&C in Hangzhou: “With his outstanding professionalism and excellent business skills, Lyu and his team greatly assisted our company in completing the H-share issuance in accordance with the timetable, which was highly recognised by our management and colleagues”.

Zeda Law Firm is the largest law firm in Zhejiang province, with 762 practising lawyers in 19 offices including its headquarters, located across the province and nationwide. In 2022, Zeda’s revenue ranked among the top law firms in Zhejiang province, handling more than 12,000 cases and providing consultation services to more than 15,000 companies and individuals.

The firm offers comprehensive legal services and currently has seven litigation departments and 25 specialised teams for non-litigation matters.

Grandall Law Firm’s Hangzhou branch has received high praise and recognition from Liu Wenke, deputy minister of international trade at Zhejiang Fuye Group, for services provided. Liu says that over the course of more than a decade, the firm has provided extensive legal support for the company’s international trade and investment-related business, ensuring business compliance and avoiding numerous disputes.

“They have been involved from the beginning of disputes, including guidance on evidence preservation,” he says, and in response to the outcome of cross-border trade arbitration, the firm assisted in filing an appeal against the foreign seller, ultimately “recovering significant losses and enhancing our company’s reputation in the industry”.

He also recommends Shen Jianping, a partner at Grandall’s Hangzhou branch. In addition to praising her dedication, Liu is very satisfied with her professional expertise in investment, M&A, and complex multinational trade. “The projects for which Shen has provided consultancy have all been successful after years of operation, without any legal pitfalls,” he says.

King & Wood Mallesons’ Hangzhou office successfully assisted Wankai New Materials in its ChiNext Board listing in 2022, raising RMB3.06 billion. It is the highest amount of funds raised from the board by a listed company in Zhejiang province to date, and also the largest amount of funds raised for the year within the province.

As the issuer’s counsel, King & Wood Mallesons helped facilitate the introduction of several external investors, including Redview Capital, enabling the issuer to secure RMB600 million in financing and resolve the issue of fund misappropriation by its controlling shareholder, clearing obstacles for the company’s IPO journey.