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‘Dramatic change’: Hogan Lovells launches association in Shanghai free trade zone

Hogan Lovells has become the third international law firm to enter the Shanghai Free Trade Zone through an association with local firm Fidelity Law.

The Chinese firm’s new office will be led by managing partner Wang Ping. Hogan Lovells’ team will be led by Shanghai-based Asia corporate head Andrew McGinty and IP partner Katie Feng.

Fidelity is based in Xiamen in south eastern China Fujian province with around 170 lawyers and 32 partners, specialising in white collar law, real estate, trade and cross-border corporate finance work. The firm previously had six offices in the south China province.

Two other law firms have opened up in recently in the zone, under a scheme whcih enables foreign firms to provide Chinese legal advice. In 2015 Baker & McKenzie became the first international firm to launch a joint office in the Shanghai FTZ with Beijing firm FenXun Partners.

Before the launch of the zone, the only international firms to practice Chinese law were those with mergers in the country, such as Hong Kong headquartered King & Wood merging with Australia’s Mallesons and UK-based SJ Berwin.

Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) also entered the zone earlier this year. HFW formalised its partnership with Wintell & Co in April, which enabled the firm to practice domestic law. Shanghai-based Wintell has more than 20 partners and nearly 100 lawyers across Guangzhou, Tianjin, Ningbo and Zhoushan. The firm specialises in shipping, insurance and corporate law.

Hogan Lovells Asia Pacific and Middle East managing partner Patrick Sherrington said: ‘This is an exciting time in Asia. The establishment of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone by the Chinese government and the implementation of the new rules allowing foreign law firms in China to team up with a Chinese firm have dramatically changed the landscape.’