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‘Huge opportunities’: CMS launches in Hong Kong in Asia arbitration play

International law firm grouping CMS has today (1 September) opened in Hong Kong through its German arm CMS Hasche Sigle, strengthening its presence in Asia to three offices.

The office will initially focus on dispute resolution and M&A under Hasche Sigle international arbitration partner Nicholas Wiegand. CMS plans to extend its service offerings in the new office and establish a banking and finance practice in the office in 2017 through UK-based firm CMS Cameron McKenna.

CMS has had a presence in China since the 1990s and already has two offices of around 30 lawyers each in Shanghai and Beijing. CMS Cameron McKenna also previously had a Hong Kong office which wound down in 2003. 

Wiegand becomes the head of the new office having previously been based in Munich. He has experience working on arbitrations relating to Hong Kong, China, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan, and also sits on arbitration panels in Hong Kong, Shenzen and Dubai.

CMS executive chairman Cornelius Brandi said: ‘We look for markets that offer the greatest business potential for us. Geographic expansion is often part of our client´s growth strategy. So, we move primarily into regions where we expect that there will be future opportunities for them.’

The new office follows the firm’s most recent venture into Iran, with the firm becoming the first international law firm to launch a dedicated office in Tehran. The office is also led by partners of CMS’s German branch.

Hasche Sigle managing partner Hubertus Kolster said: ‘We see huge opportunities for the future throughout the entire South-East Asia region. Hong Kong itself, and especially China and of course the entire Asia-Pacific region have very dynamic economies and are a focal point for international investors.’

CMS Cameron McKenna managing partner Stephen Millar earlier this year confirmed to Legal Business that the firm was targeting expansion in Asia, aiming to boost its presence in the region to contribute up to 30% of revenues. Executive partner Duncan Weston is also understood to be examining plans for future associations in South America.