Cash-rich Chinese companies are purchasing billions of dollars worth of assets in the developed economies of North America, Europe and Australia. How can law firms and in-house counsel successfully handle the rush of outbound investment projects?

By George W Russell

From the compradors of early trade relations to the fixers of today, international companies have long sought guides to light their path through the mysterious economic and cultural labyrinth that is perceived as China. Nowadays, amid rapid growth by Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private companies, and low asset prices in the developed world, the shoe is on the other foot.

As Chinese businesses dip their toes in the waters of faraway oceans, seeking overseas acquisitions to build economies of scale, acquire technology or launch into new markets, they are finding they need help with foreign law. In response, both international and Chinese law firms are ramping up their ability to handle outbound Chinese investment.

 严瑜 合伙人 斐格律师事务所 Wendy Yan Partner

Official Chinese statistics put the total value of outbound investment deals by non-financial Chinese companies last year at about US$42.1 billion. Such deals are picking up pace: the value rose 50% in the second half of 2009 compared to the previous half-year, according to global business consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

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