Long a trailblazer in the insurance sector, Clyde & Co has now become the first international law firm to launch in southwest China after setting up a joint law venture (JLV) in China with local practice West Link Partnership in Chongqing.
Clydes this week became the first among its peers to launch an office in South West China after local regulators permitted the London-headquartered practice to form an association with West Link.
The new office will operate as Clyde & Co West Link JLV and act as a hub for foreign investment, advisory and employment work for Western China and service domestic clients on outbound investment and dispute resolution services. The joint venture model – which few international firms have yet deployed in China – allows the firms to share profits and revenues but Clydes lawyers remain barred from providing PRC law.
The JLV adds a fourth local location in China for the 281-partner firm, which already has offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Clydes corporate partner Michael Cripps said that booming growth in southwest China made this an ideal market to enter. He added: ‘Chongqing is the beachhead for the development of Western China and we see a lot of potential, both from a regional perspective, and from the point of view of connecting international markets and opportunities.’
Ik Wei Chong, Clydes partner and Asia-Pacific board member, said: ‘The establishment of our joint venture with West Link Partnership is directly in line with Clyde’s global strategy. As a firm we have a strong focus on facilitating international trade and on sectors aligned to the real economy.’
West Link managing partner Carrie Chen said: ‘The ability of the JLV to provide international legal services in a local context is an attractive offering to current clients of West Link, as well as to corporates generally in southwest China. Importantly, the process of outbound investment will be streamlined and made more transparent, efficient and effective through working directly via the JLV with Clyde & Co’s international office network.’
The last 18 months have seen the top 20 UK law firm sustain heavy investment in Asia with new offices opening in Beijing, Sydney and Perth, a joint venture set up with Singaporean firm Clasis, and the forging of referral relationships with Indonesia’s Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo and Khan Lex in Mongolia.