China is fast becoming one of the crisis’s biggest hopes for investment, both inbound and outbound. And law firms too are edging ever closer to Iberia.
Zhong Lun is one of the top three full service law firms in China, and the first to open in Europe. “Our objective is to assist European companies in investing and operating in China and to serve major Chinese corporations in Europe,” says Emily Wang, a dual qualified Partner of the London office of Zhong Lun – English law in banking and finance and PRC law in corporate. “Given that Europe now has one of the highest levels of inbound and outbound investment with China, opening in London was a must.”
For Chinese clients investing and operating in Europe, the firm effectively takes an extended in-house legal role, assisting in finding the right local law firms, facilitating communication and project managing. “We act as a bridge in terms of language and culture,” explains Wang, “and we also filter and sometimes even challenge the advice from local lawyers to ensure we clearly understand all the options available to our clients”.
In China, there is currently great interest in investment opportunities abroad. The trend of Chinese investment is moving from Africa to more developed countries, with Europe being China’s biggest trading partner.
“Over the past years, we have seen an increasing amount of corporate activity in Germany, UK, France and Italy,” says Wang. “In Spain, for example, the majority of activity is in ports and logistics.”
Wang has also seen many Spanish corporations successfully entering the Chinese market and believes that there are interesting industries and sectors with opportunities to further invest and develop. “Most notably, Zara, the Spanish clothing and accessories retailer, runs very successful businesses in China. We are proud that we can assist and contribute to their China operation.”
“Through our London office, we hope to get even closer to the Iberian market to understand the opportunities available for our clients,” says Wang.