Cross-border M&A: Asian bidders usher in different mindset

Cross-border M&A: Asian bidders usher in different mindset

Alex Novarese, Legal Business: It has been a record period for Asian activity into Europe. How do you see the general trends?

Abhijit Mukhopadhyay, Hinduja Group: China is an issue, because the main difference between the Asian companies, European companies and Chinese companies is that Chinese companies are directly or indirectly state-owned. Continue reading “Cross-border M&A: Asian bidders usher in different mindset”

Start-ups in India – Reaping what you sow

Start-ups in India – Reaping what you sow

2018 was a good year for Indian entrepreneurs. The world’s third-largest start-up ecosystem saw its base expand by 12-15% and investor funding grow by 108% year-on-year, as well as a rise in late-stage funding, according to a 2018 report by industry association NASSCOM and consultants Zinnov. This boom was last year enough to hand unicorn status – valuations on young tech companies of more than $1bn – to more than eight Indian companies.

But just a few years ago, things were not quite so rosy. Despite the success of e-commerce wunderkind Flipkart (sold last year to Walmart for $16bn) and its ilk, investment plummeted from $1.42bn to $583m between Q1 and Q2 2016 (according to CB Insights, October 2016) and businesses started to go under. Continue reading “Start-ups in India – Reaping what you sow”

Project India – Meet the GCs charged with building on a vast scale

Project India – Meet the GCs charged with building on a vast scale

As the world’s second most populous country, India accounts for 17.5% of the world’s population. And it is rapidly catching up with the number one, China. On an annual basis, India’s population growth rate of 1.2% is more than double that of its Asian neighbour.

But while population growth is largely seen as a means of economic development, it comes with costs. The burden on cities and infrastructure of a rapidly-growing population must be addressed if the country is to reach its full potential. The need is such that the infrastructure question was a cornerstone of this year’s election. The Bharatiya Janata Party, led by returning Prime Minister Narendra Modi, pledged $1.44trn towards infrastructure – a stark contrast to its main opponent, the Congress Party, which instead focused on alleviating poverty and job creation. Continue reading “Project India – Meet the GCs charged with building on a vast scale”

Australia pull continues as Dentons, DWF and LOD announce expansion

Australia pull continues as Dentons, DWF and LOD announce expansion

Described in some quarters as an overlawyered market for a country with a population of 25 million, Australia continues to attract investment from the international legal industry in all its shapes and forms. Global giant Dentons, recently-listed DWF and New Law outfit Lawyers On Demand (LOD) have all expanded their presence in the country.

Just over two years after entering Australia through a merger with national firm Gadens, Dentons has hit the 280-lawyer mark in the country after absorbing Adelaide-based Fisher Jeffries. ‘This completes our footprint across the major cities in Australia,’ regional chair and chief executive Doug Stipanicev told Legal Business. Continue reading “Australia pull continues as Dentons, DWF and LOD announce expansion”

Letter from… Hong Kong: Asia’s most-desired village can be tough on the locals but the mood of confidence is back

Letter from… Hong Kong: Asia’s most-desired village can be tough on the locals but the mood of confidence is back

Hong Kong, notes Mayer Brown Asia chair Duncan Abate, is like a village: ‘If you are good, you can do really well, if you are not, everyone knows it.’

A village – it is fair to add – that has had more than its share of reverses in recent years. Much lauded up until the early 2010s as the gateway to China and the effective legal and finance capital for the Asia region, in the second half of the decade it has been dogged by protectionism, cut-throat pricing and an excess of lawyers. Continue reading “Letter from… Hong Kong: Asia’s most-desired village can be tough on the locals but the mood of confidence is back”

Letter from… Singapore: A warm welcome and slick offering keep Singapore ahead in the race to be Asia global hub

Letter from… Singapore: A warm welcome and slick offering keep Singapore ahead in the race to be Asia global hub

The view from Fort Canning Hill is telling. You stand next to an early 20th century lighthouse, a testament to Singapore’s early success as a maritime trade hub. It shut in 1958, as the skyscrapers vaulting up rendered it hardly visible from the sea – a port at the crossroads of India and China was becoming a major financial centre.

Today instead of the sea, the view is of dozens of buildings hosting international banks, insurers, manufacturers, tech companies… and of course, lawyers. A city-state of just five and a half million is home to almost 1,000 national and 150 international law firms, making it one of Asia’s two dominant global hubs alongside old rival Hong Kong. Continue reading “Letter from… Singapore: A warm welcome and slick offering keep Singapore ahead in the race to be Asia global hub”

Asia GC perspective – Tencent on the dollar

Asia GC perspective – Tencent on the dollar

When Brent Irvin joined Tencent as group general counsel (GC) nearly nine years ago, the Chinese upstart was already a tech wunderkind, boasting revenue close to RMB20bn. But few foresaw the trajectory it would take from there: with dramatic growth in 2017, the company is now valued at more than $477bn.

‘We have always been about combining social and content, but in the beginning we were more games-focused,’ notes Irvin. Continue reading “Asia GC perspective – Tencent on the dollar”

Special territory: Fintech in Hong Kong

Special territory: Fintech in Hong Kong

‘You have to, to serve these markets, re-imagine how money can be managed and moved, because there’s going to be more change in the next five years in financial services than happened in the past 30.’

Dan Schulman, chief executive, PayPal


Global investment in fintech companies hit an all-time high of US$27.4bn in 2017, an increase of 18% year on year, with the market showing no sign of slowing. Led by China, the fintech revolution has spread across the rest of Asia, while simultaneously gaining traction in the UK, US and Europe. Continue reading “Special territory: Fintech in Hong Kong”

Global 100 Asia Focus: Long-term greedy

Global 100 Asia Focus: Long-term greedy

The clichéd view of the Asia legal market is that it is a very difficult place for international firms to make money. Recent economic underperformance in China has not helped, although the flurry of office openings, hires and deals in the region over the last 12 months would suggest otherwise. Local alliances are the current vogue in China, with the likes of Linklaters and Ashurst opting for these often-complex arrangements.

But while the Asia region is dominated by China, based on recent activity it would seem the so-called secondary markets, like Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Indonesia, could be lucrative areas of interest. As Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) Greater China managing partner May Tai notes: ‘China remains the driver of growth and the story of our careers. However, activity in South-East Asia is just as busy, from the developed markets of Singapore and Malaysia to rapidly emerging markets, such as Laos and Cambodia.’ Continue reading “Global 100 Asia Focus: Long-term greedy”