We have a truly integrated team of over 200 lawyers working across China’s three major business centres: Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. We are not only able to call on the expertise of lawyers from the firm’s other offices in Asia and our network of 30 offices globally, but with our Shanghai Free Trade Zone Joint Operation with Zhao Sheng Law Firm, we can also provide seamless international and Chinese legal advice on joint matters, to help our clients achieve their China inbound and outbound strategic objectives.

Our many years of experience in China, and our track record on numerous complex international investments into China, have provided us with an exceptional understanding of the local legal and economic landscape. With around 100 Chinese-speaking lawyers, we know how best to negotiate and conclude deals in China. Our deep understanding of the culture and language, combined with our cross-practice strength and sector knowledge, mean clients can rely on Linklaters to achieve their commercial objectives while effectively managing risk.

Our expertise

Banking

Our banking team advises on many complex financing transactions in China, spanning leveraged, acquisition and structured financing. Our team also has expertise in bilateral and syndicated lending facilities, real estate finance and debt restructuring.

Our track record includes advising:

  • on the largest acquisition financing in the history of China's banking sector – the HK$39bn term loan facility for China Cinda Asset Management to acquire Nanyang Commercial Bank
  • Bank of China (Macau Branch), China Merchants Bank (New York Branch) and CTBC Bank on the US$986m facilities for the acquisition of the McDonald's business in mainland China and Hong Kong SAR 
  • the senior arrangers (comprising seven international, Taiwanese and Chinese banks and coordinated by Standard Chartered Bank) and the mezzanine arrangers (comprising Dignari Capital and Huatai Financial Holdings) on the senior and mezzanine facilities for the acquisition of Wharf T&T Limited by a consortium formed by MBK Partners and Texas Pacific Group 

Capital markets

Our capital markets team advises on a wide range of debt and equity capital markets products and has played a significant role in the development of the capital markets in Asia, particularly in Hong Kong. Our lawyers have actively engaged in a number of products including CNH bonds, panda bonds, retail debt offerings, regulatory capital, CNH IPOs and REITs.

We assist banks, securities houses, multinational corporations and government entities on all legal, regulatory and documentation issues relating to derivatives on a wide spectrum of underlying assets, including interest rate, currency, equity, index, fund, bond, credit and commodity.

Our track record includes advising:

  • the People's Bank of China, as international legal counsel, on its initial issue of central bank notes in Hong Kong in November 2018 and February 2019 at the aggregate amount of RMB 40bn. Both issuances were conducted through CMU BID, the bond tendering platform of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority
  • the Ministry of Finance of the People’s Republic of China on its RMB 23bn sovereign bond offering in Hong Kong in 2012 - the then largest ever offshore RMB bond transaction; and on its US$2bn sovereign bond offering in Hong Kong in 2017 - China’s first US dollar sovereign bond since 2004 
  • Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited on the set-up of the China-Hong Kong Stock Connect and a large number of market participants, including banks, securities houses, prime brokers, private banks and fund houses on the buy-side, on the various legal issues associated with the trading of A-shares through the China-Hong Kong Stock Connect. Find out more here

Competition/Antitrust

Our competition/antitrust team supports clients with the co-ordination of global merger filings and advises on antitrust compliance issues to guide clients through cartel and other competition investigations. We also advise on merger control and enforcement in China and other competition jurisdictions in the Asia region.

Our track record includes advising:

  • Glencore on the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM) clearance, including remedies for its US$90bn merger with Xstrata. In China, this case set a number of significant precedents for merger control practice, and involved challenging and extensive remedy negotiations with MOFCOM
  • SABMiller on MOFCOM clearance, with remedies, in relation to its US$100bn acquisition by AB InBev
  • China Merchants Group on multijurisdictional merger control filings for the acquisition of Sinotrans & CSC, creating an entity with assets of more than US$100bn

Corporate/M&A

Our China corporate practice has a sophisticated and sizeable M&A legal advisory team that has advised numerous multinational and Chinese companies, financial institutions and financial sponsors on their domestic and international transactions.

With our global network, and joint operation with Zhao Sheng Law Firm, we provide seamless local, regional and global advice to get the deal done. Our corporate practice is supported by our banking and finance, projects, employment and incentives, competition/antitrust and regulatory experts, ensuring comprehensive advice on all aspects of a transaction.

Our track record includes advising:

  • on China Three Gorges’ acquisition of a 76.6% stake in Portuguese energy utility Energias de Portugal
  • China Merchants Group on the Liaoning Port integration project. Linklaters Zhao Sheng was the sole legal advisor to China Merchants Group in this deal, providing a full range of Chinese and Hong Kong legal advice. Find out more here
  • on the US$25.9bn merger of China’s train makers, CSR Corporation Limited and China CNR Corporation Limited, through a securities exchange offer effected through a Chinese law-governed merger by absorption

Dispute Resolution

Our dedicated disputes practice has a deep understanding of the evolving legal and regulatory environment in China, with extensive experience in China-related arbitrations and disputes involving Chinese parties.

Our track record includes advising:

  • acting for a client in parallel court proceedings, in Hong Kong and Beijing, on breach of contract claims worth more than HK$1bn
  • acting for Johnson & Johnson in Chinese litigation involving competition law issues with a distributor
  • advising a Chinese state-owned enterprise on a potential LCIA arbitration on a joint venture dispute relating to the construction and operation of a terminal port

Project Finance

Our projects finance team specialises in large-scale projects across the globe, including power, renewables, nuclear, oil & gas, petrochemicals, LNG, mining, ports, water & waste, telecoms, stadia, airports, roads, bridges and rail-related transactions.

Our team has extensive project finance experience in energy and infrastructure projects, advising Chinese and international borrowers and financial institutions alike.

Our track record includes advising:

  • all lenders including China Development Bank (CDB), the Export-Import Bank of China, Japanese/Korean/European ECAs and Russian banks on the Yamal LNG project financing in Russia, sponsored by Total, Novatek and China National Petroleum Corporation
  • CDB on the project financing for the development of the 2 x 1,050 MW Jawa 7 coal-fired power plant located in Indonesia
  • Chinese lenders on a number of Belt and Road power projects in Pakistan, such as the Thar Block II 3.8Mt/a coal mine and the 2 x 330MW pit mouth coalfired power project
Our renowned experience is recognised by the market:

"They're excellent. Linklaters is best suited for all types of Greater China and cross-border related financing work. The legal advice is sound and commercially driven, and the turnaround time is excellent."
Band 1 – Chambers Asia-Pacific 2019, Banking & Finance (International Firms): China

"They provide top-notch technical excellence, while being extremely hands-on and highly responsive. They offer very practical legal solutions, which is excellent. Linklaters adheres to high standards when it comes to best practice, compliance and integrity.”
Band 1 – Chambers Asia-Pacific 2019, Capital Markets – Debt (International Firms): China

“Linklaters demonstrated a strong understanding of the situation, provided sound legal and commercial advice, and worked seamlessly with us and other advisers throughout the M&A process.”
Band 2 – Chambers Asia-Pacific 2019, Corporate/ M&A: The Elite (International Firms): China

"Their advice is the perfect and very well-balanced combination between legal and business requirements."
Band 1 – Chambers Asia-Pacific 2019, Competition/Antitrust (International Firms): China

"Regionally powerful firm respected by peers and appreciated by clients for its ability to take on complex cross-border litigation. "
Band 1 – Chambers Asia-Pacific 2019, Dispute Resolution – Litigation (International Firms): China

“They are very attentive to clients and they have strong commercial awareness.”
Band 1 – Chambers Asia-Pacific 2019, Projects & Infrastructure (International Firms): China