Could client relationships catapult China’s firms into the global league?

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Asia business Alibaba poster hanging on the New York Stock Exchange building
Alibaba has been a client of Fangda’s since it was an emerging player in 2005. Since then, Fangda has been involved in all the Chinese tech company’s major transactions that transformed it into a global e-commerce phenomenon, including its $25bn IPO in the US in 2014

Zhong Lun was traditionally known for its real estate and construction practice, having forged strong client relationships with the likes of property developer giants Soho China, Wanda Group, Longfor Properties and Vanke. Now it has expanded its sector focus and significantly built out its practice groups to 27 areas.

Zhong Lun partner and CEO Anthony Qiao estimates that 70 per cent of the firm’s client relationships are still led by individual partners, but Zhong Lun has launched a ‘group clients’ strategy. As part of this strategy, five to 10 partners from different practice groups team up to pitch for and service major Chinese conglomerates; Ping An Insurance is a typical client that fits into the strategy. Similarly, China Resources, Evergrande and Vanke are also among Zhong Lun’s major group-level clients.

“We’re budgeting our annual turnover increase on key sectors instead of on China’s slowing GDP growth rate”
Anthony Qiao

“Many of our long-standing clients have diversified their businesses and become conglomerates. Their needs can no longer be fulfilled by one or two partners,” says Qiao.

“Many of China’s industries and sectors are still growing rapidly. For example, the healthcare market will see over 20 per cent year-on-year growth for some years ahead. We’re budgeting our annual turnover increase on key sectors instead of on China’s slowing GDP growth rate,” he adds.

The Alibaba and Uber effect

Fangda and Han Kun’s development has also been in response to their clients’ expansion and diversification.

Alibaba is one of Fangda’s most long-standing clients. The relationship goes back to 2005, when they were both emerging players in their respective industries.  Since then, Fangda has been involved in all the Chinese tech company’s major transactions that transformed it into a global e-commerce phenomenon, including its record-breaking $25bn IPO in the US in 2014.

Didi Chuxing, the Chinese cab-hailing tech company that acquired Uber’s China unit for $35bn last year, is another key client that the firm has nurtured. Didi was established in June 2012 and Fangda has been advising the company since its series A round of venture capital financing.

Han Kun is best known for its representation to CV and PE investors and founders in the TMT sector. Many of the high-growth companies that Han Kun has worked with since its establishment have turned into internet and e-commerce leaders, such as Tencent, Baidu, JD.com, 51talk, 58.com, Meituan.com, and VIPshop.com. Its clients’ expanding needs have driven the firm’s evolution into a full-service provider. Their success stories have also inspired Han Kun’s own ambition.

“Our ambition is to be one of the elite Chinese firms”
Li Xiaoming

“We’ve always aimed high. Our ambition is to be one of the elite Chinese firms. But ultimately how high we can reach depends on the success of our clients in the global markets. We are inspired by our clients, and at the same time their growing demands keep us on our toes and drive us to improve all the time,” Li says.

Despite the fact that China’s economic growth is expected to hit a 26-year low this year, the three firms’ ambitions remain undimmed.

To see the three firms’ stunning revenue growth, click here. To read about what other strategies they are putting in place to get ahead of their domestic peers, click here.

The post Could client relationships catapult China’s firms into the global league? appeared first on The Lawyer | Legal News and Jobs | Advancing the business of law.



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