International law firm Clyde & Co has been granted a licence by China's Ministry of Justice to open an office in Beijing.
The Beijing office will be Clyde & Co's third in China, with offices already in Hong Kong (1981) and Shanghai (2006). The establishment of a Beijing office will enable more effective servicing of Beijing-based clients and provide the firm with a platform for further growth in the Greater China region.
Clyde & Co currently has five partners and 20 other legal staff in Shanghai and 11 partners and 38 other legal staff in Hong Kong.
Partner Lynia Lau will lead the development of the Beijing office as Chief Representative. Lynia is a corporate lawyer with a strong focus on outbound investment work for Chinese state-owned groups in the energy sector.
The Beijing office will work closely with the firm's Shanghai and Hong Kong offices, and will have a primary focus on outbound investment in the natural resources, energy and infrastructure sectors, and in relation to asset and project finance and international arbitration and dispute resolution.
Lynia Lau commented: "We will develop the office's core capabilities in areas that are aligned with the firm's key sectors. In the energy sector, for example, we see great potential in oil and gas, LNG, mining and renewables and we are already advising clients on a number of projects in these areas, both within China and regionally. As the need for Chinese companies to secure supplies of commodities continues, we will be looking to make further connections between our international network in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Australia and clients who we know have an active interest in these resource rich geographies."
Ik Wei Chong, Asia Pacific Board member and Chief Representative of the Shanghai office, said: "Our client base in China has transformed significantly in the past two to three years. Whilst we continue to support international clients in their business activities and legal needs in China, more than half of our revenue is now generated from Chinese and China-based clients. The majority of these Chinese clients, particularly the state-owned enterprises, are headquartered in Beijing and therefore our on-the-ground presence will help us provide more effective and seamless service to our clients there."
Clyde & Co will now have eight offices and associated offices across the Asia Pacific region, located in Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, New Delhi, Perth, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. In India, Clyde & Co has an association with Clasis Law, a full service Indian law firm and in Mongolia the firm has an alliance with Khan Lex Advocates.
Michael Parker, Asia Pacific Board member and Managing Director, Asia Pacific, said: "The expansion of our regional network has been a strategic priority of the firm's Management Board. In today's age, clients expect law firms to be in the jurisdictions where they do business. Australia and Beijing have been part of our regional growth plans for some time and I am delighted we have secured these offices within six months of each other."
Clyde & Co's Beijing office will be located in newly leased premises in Oriental Plaza along the prestigious Chang An Avenue and is expected to be fully operational in the coming months.