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

Our long years of experience in China, and our track records on many complex international investments into the PRC, have provided us 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 through our deep understand of cultural and linguistic capabilities. Combined with our cross-practice strengths and sector knowledge, our clients rely on Linklaters to achieve their commercial objective and manage risk.

Our expertise

Banking

Our banking team advises on many complex financing transactions in the PRC, 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 Co., Ltd. to acquire Nanyang Commercial Bank Limited;
  • Bank of China Limited, Macau Branch, China Merchants Bank, New York Branch and CTBC Bank on the facilities for the acquisition of McDonald's China and Hong Kong business to a consortium formed by CITIC and Carlyle at a purchase price of up to US$2.1bn;
  • 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 (a telecommunications operator in Hong Kong) by a consortium formed by MBK Partners and TPG.

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, especially 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 firms, 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, commodity and others. Our swift response to market developments enables us to advise our clients on the latest products such as corporate derivatives as well as structuring highly innovative and bespoke deals such as establishing financial indices and self-referencing credit derivatives.

Our track record includes advising:

  • the People's Bank of China (“PBOC”) as its international legal counsel on its initial issue of three-month and one-year central bank notes in Hong Kong in November 2018, the aggregate amount of which is RMB 20bn, and its issue of RMB 10bn three-month and RMB 10bn one-year central bank notes in February 2019. Both issues are conducted through CMU BID, the bond tendering platform of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority;
  • the PRC Ministry of Finance on its RMB 23bn sovereign bond offering in Hong Kong during 2012, the then-largest-ever offshore RMB bond transaction; and on its US$2bn sovereign bond offering in Hong Kong during 2017, which is China’s first US dollar sovereign bond since 2004;
  • HKEX 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 as well as 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 assists clients with the co-ordination of global merger filings, advises on antitrust compliance issues and guides clients through cartel and other competition investigations. We also advise on merger control and enforcement in China and other competition jurisdictions in the region.

Our track record includes advising:

  • 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;
  • Glencore on 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.

Corporate / M&A

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

With our wide office reach, global network, and our 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 various aspects of a transaction.

Our track record includes advising:

  • on China Three Gorges’ acquisition of 76.6% stake in Portuguese energy utility EDP Energias de Portugal;
  • China Merchants Group on Liaoning Port integration project - Linklaters Zhao Sheng is the sole legal advisor to China Merchants Group in this deal, and we provided a full range of PRC 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 PRC law-governed merger by absorption (M&A Deal of the Year & China Deal of the Year by ALB China Awards 2016).

Dispute Resolution

Our dedicated disputes practice comprises of lawyers with a deep understanding of the evolving legal and regulatory environment in China. We have extensive experience in PRC-related arbitrations and on disputes involving PRC parties.

Among notable cases, our disputes team has:

  • acted for the client in parallel court proceedings both in Hong Kong and Beijing in connection with breach of contract claims worth more than HK$1bn;
  • acted for Johnson & Johnson in PRC litigation involving competition law issues with a distributor – the leading competition court case since the introduction of the AML in 2008;
  • advised a PRC state-owned enterprise on a potential LCIA arbitration in connection with a joint venture dispute relating to construction and operation of a terminal port.

Project Finance

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

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

Our track record includes advising:

  • all lenders including CDB, CEXIM, Japanese/Korean/European ECAs and Russian banks on Yamal LNG project financing in Russia, sponsored by Total, Novatek and CNPC;
  • 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, including:  

Thar Block II 3.8Mt/a coal mine and the 2X330MW pit mouth coalfired power project 

1,320MW Hubco coal-fired power project 

870MW Suki Kinari hydropower plant 

99MW  UEP wind IPP 

1124MW Kohala hydropower project

 

 

Rankings and quotes

Chambers 2018 rankings

  • Tier 1 – Banking and Finance (International Firms)
  • Tier 1 – Competition/Antitrust (International Firms)
  • Tier 1 – Corporate/M&A: The Elite (International Firms)
  • Tier 1 – Dispute Resolution: Litigation (International Firms)
  • Tier 1 – Projects & Infrastructure (International Firms)

Quotes

Chambers:

Banking & Finance (International Firms) - China

"Their advice is not just legally strong but also commercially viable."

Competition/Antitrust (International Firms)

"Linklaters have significant firepower in their competition department. Those abilities proved to be very helpful in meeting or surpassing our expectations."

Corporate/M&A – Asia-Pacific Region

"The constant co-operation between Linklaters and us is evident because of its ability to hold a stable team and provide professional advice."
"The advice given is very clear and the turnaround time is good"

Dispute Resolution: Litigation (International Firms) - China

"The firm...provides comprehensive advice, not only from a legal perspective, but it can also take into account the client's business considerations."
"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

“Linklaters' 'very responsive and professional' team ranks 'among the best' for debt capital markets transactions.” 
Band 1 – Legal 500 Asia–Pacific 2019, Capital Markets – debt (International Firms): Hong Kong

“Linklaters stands out for its 'good industry knowledge and understanding of clients' businesses'.” 
Band 1 – Legal 500 Asia–Pacific 2019, Corporate and M&A (International Firms): China

"[T]heir 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

“Linklaters' China projects team is best known for advising Chinese bank lenders on some of the country's most significant cross-border projects. The firm's track record in One Belt One Road projects has been widely recognized in the Chinese market.”
Band 1 – Legal 500 Asia–Pacific 2019, Projects and energy (International Firms): China