Buckle up


You can never be too prepared. Unpredictable as they may seem, there are always traces to follow for the disruptive events that deal businesses the hard blows.

Chinese companies have in the past two years developed a hardy resilience and proven coping mechanisms from the ongoing international public health crisis and other issues. The role played by their legal departments also cannot be overlooked, and it has become clear that the philosophy of the legal managers steering their teams is crucial.

CBLJ Prologue 2202In our cover story for this issue, Constant calibration, we talk to four general counsel of prominent Chinese companies from different industries: Phoebe Tang of Danone; Stuart Lin of Xpeng’s HT Aero; Jia Hongyi of Kuaishou; and Liu Zhen of Xiaomi Group. They share with us their expectations for the year ahead, and we ask them what regulatory matters they are following, and how they are setting the tone for their departmental agendas.

While taking care of concurrent problems, issues previously theoretical in nature and considered to be the stuff of fiction may merge into reality sooner than we realise. Outside of the traditional corporate realm run by human executives, a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) where rules are baked into code with no management structure or board of directors is gaining traction. In a DAO, transactions are executed automatically without the need for human judgment or action.

Two questions that are currently being debated in many jurisdictions is how DAOs should be characterised from a legal perspective, and how they can be regulated by written law. In DAOism: a new kind of faith, author and regular China Business Law Journal columnist Andrew Godwin examines the legal status and the future that such organisations may shape.

What’s assuring is that we are in good hands, with future star lawyers demonstrating unrivalled capabilities and great potential. In Rising Stars 2022, we are pleased to introduce to our readers 80 early-achieving lawyers, aged 40 or under, who have impressed their clients and peers with precise legal expertise, acute business acumen, professionalism and a strong sense of ethics.

To accurately reflect the market opinion, these private practice lawyers were carefully selected from a pool of more than 2,000 nominations for excellent lawyers in our extensive market survey.

They began their careers in the past two decades, honing their skills in the unprecedented growth of modern China’s legal system. They have guided companies, funds and other clients through their high-stakes financial projects or legal disputes, and have formed strong bonds with their in-house counterparts. We applaud them for their achievements.