Hunton & Williams has actively advised clients in China for almost two decades. Our China practice draws upon the worldwide resources of the firm, with the support of lawyers located in major business centers around the world, and provides legal services to clients conducting business in Asia. Based in Beijing, Hunton & Williams has provided counsel to US and European companies doing business in China and to Asian companies with investments and alliances throughout the region in connection with a wide range of matters. Our Beijing office's resident partner, Manuel Maisog, is a member of the firm's corporate practice team and also actively advises on energy and infrastructure matters for the firm. Prior to the establishment of the Beijing office, he was resident in both Bangkok and Hong Kong, and before then in the US, where his work included project finance and project acquisition transactions, initial public offerings, private placements and financial institution merger and acquisition transactions.
Focused Knowledge in Key Disciplines
The significant growth opportunities and primary challenges facing domestic and foreign-owned enterprises in China often are related to a specific set of legal disciplines. With this in mind, our lawyers provide focused guidance in four key areas.
Data Protection and Privacy
As China broadens and strengthens its own technology infrastructure, it is increasingly becoming a center for information-intensive services, product development and outsourcing. Regulators in China and around the world are developing detailed data protection regulatory frameworks and strengthening penalties for violations of privacy rules. In conjunction with the firm's worldwide data privacy practice and the Hunton & Williams Centre for Information Policy Leadership, the lawyers in the firm's China practice advise on data privacy matters arising in China and other countries throughout Asia. Unlike purely local law firms, which maintain a perspective on the data protection requirements of a single jurisdiction only, we view data protection from the multinational, cross-border perspective of enterprises proposing to collect, process and transfer personal information across borders of multiple jurisdictions in Asia.
Our selected experience includes:
- Counsel to a Fortune 50 Retailer in connection with privacy and data protection issues arising in China.
- Counsel to a Multinational Payment Processor in connection with data protection matters in Hong Kong and China.
- Counsel to a Multinational Retailer in connection with regional data protection matters in Asia, including in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Energy and Infrastructure
Hunton & Williams' involvement in the energy industry dates back to 1901 when the firm advised its first electric utility client. Energy remains a cornerstone of the firm's work, with more than 100 lawyers around the world dedicated full time to advising clients on the broad range of their energy-related business strategies. This, coupled with Hunton & Williams' long history advising on M&A, environmental, finance, regulatory, tax and public-private partnership matters, makes the firm one of the most comprehensive legal service providers to the energy industry today.
Hunton & Williams' China practice is characteristic of the strong project development and finance, corporate and commercial practices of the firm. Our Asia-Pacific practice focuses on energy and infrastructure, project development and finance, privatizations, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters. The practice has extensive experience advising on projects involving power generation, conventional fossil, renewable and nuclear, oil and gas, LNG, petrochemical and oil refineries, infrastructure, telecommunications and renewable and alternative energy, including climate change and carbon trading.
Our selected experience includes:
- Counsel to a Southeast Asian-based Electricity and Mining Concern in connection with the US$84 million acquisition of a portfolio of cooperative joint ventures and wholly-foreign owned enterprises which operate combined power and steam assets in Northeast China.
- Counsel to a Multinational Energy Concern in a complex international arbitration proceeding arising from an energy sector investment in China.
- Counsel to a Chinese Energy Company in preparations for a US$100 million public securities offering to be conducted on the AIM section of the London Stock Exchange.
- Counsel to a US Independent Power Producer in connection with a proposed acquisition of interests in a series of power generation joint ventures in China.
Foreign Direct Investment and Related Corporate Matters
In China, as in most of the world, globalization is a fact of economic life. In addition to the typical hurdles facing cross-border investments or transactions in any part of the world, the government of China has set up often-exacting rules regarding international joint ventures and investments. The lawyers of Hunton & Williams have extensive experience advising foreign corporations and investors on the creation and operation of cooperative and equity joint ventures, as well as the establishment of wholly-foreign-owned enterprises and alternative structures (including representative offices) and trading companies. We have advised clients operating in industries as diverse as coal mining, computer hardware and software, food products, packaging, paper, pharmaceuticals, power and technology, among other sectors.
Our selected experience includes:
- Counsel to a US Laboratory Equipment Design and Manufacturing Firm in connection with the negotiation of an intellectual property-driven manufacturing, technology distribution and trademark licensing transaction in Beijing.
- Counsel to a US Multinational Manufacturer of Automotive and Industrial Parts in connection with its regional business arrangements in China and around Asia, including drafting distribution agreements, advising in relation to a joint venture in China, and drafting manufacturing outsourcing agreements.
- Counsel to a US Energy Services Company in connection with the establishment of a joint venture in China to operate a coal liquefaction facility.
- Counsel to a Middle-Eastern Corrosion Prevention Services Company in connection with its proposed establishment of a joint venture subsidiary in China.
- Counsel to a US Manufacturing Company in drafting a licensing and manufacturing agreement for the proposed licensing of the design and outsourcing of the manufacture of a water production device to a Chinese manufacturer in Guangdong Province.
Mergers, Acquisitions and Joint Ventures
The prospect of acquiring an existing domestic enterprise that fits a foreign acquirer's business plan remains a principal means of building a presence in the China market. The lawyers in our Beijing office have experience advising on mergers and acquisition transactions in many industry sectors, including the electricity transmission, electricity generation, mining, chemicals, financial, metal processing and personnel recruiting sectors, but also including others. Many of these transactions have been significant, sector-influencing acquisitions.
In addition, our Beijing office has spent substantial time assisting clients in other fields, such as international arbitration and intellectual property-driven transactions.
Our selected experience includes:
- Counsel to an affiliate of a Southeast Asian Electricity and Mining Concern in connection with a series of acquisitions of equity interests in the first foreign-owned company to invest in coal mining and coal-bed methane development in Mainland China, culminating in its US$470 million acquisition of a 100% interest in an offshore holding company for these mining interests.
- Counsel to a US Industrial Products Manufacturer in advising on its acquisition of a wholly foreign-owned subsidiary in Suzhou from its original Taiwanese sponsors.
- Counsel to a Consortium of Private Equity Funds in the proposed US$120 million sale of their ownership interests in a subterranean copper mine in South America to an outbound investor originating in China.
- Counsel to an Australian LNG Transportation Firm in connection with its successful bid to provide LNG transportation services for the Guangdong LNG terminal. The work included an innovative financing and risk allocation structure which enhanced the competitiveness of the successful bid.
- Counsel to a Consortium of Banks including China Development Bank and the Bank of China, among others, in connection with the 3.7 MMPTA LNG receiving, storage, and regasification terminal and 213 km pipeline project in Guangdong, China developed by BP and CNOOC, involving a chain financing for the LNG vessels. The project received eight "Project Deal of the Year" awards from prominent business media including, Project Finance International (PFI), Asiamoney, Asian Legal Business, and International Financial Law Review (IFLR), among others.
- Counsel to a Consortium of Developers in connection with its successful bid to provide LNG transportation for a LNG supply from the Gulf to a LNG receiving terminal in Asia.
Hunton & Williams coordinates a multidisciplinary approach, involving experienced lawyers from all practices of the firm to provide clients with seamless advice and creative solutions to their business needs. This is the key to a decisive difference that Hunton & Williams offers clients: a "One Firm" philosophy that fosters the coordinated delivery of practical solutions from across multiple teams and offices. Our experienced lawyers practice in key commercial centers and capitals worldwide, offering in-depth knowledge of local, national and regional law and business practices. At the same time, our highly integrated organization and technological infrastructure enable real-time communications between our lawyers and offices, and support rapid deployment of project-focused, global teams as client needs evolve and grow.
Our commitment to client service, wherever our clients do business, has been recognized by numerous legal and industry publications worldwide, including Chambers Global, Chambers Asia-Pacific, Chambers UK, Chambers Latin America, Chambers USA, Benchmark Litigation and The Legal 500, as well as numerous regional and local publications in markets around the globe.