Climate of change

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Addressing some of the burning issues

Climate change is definitely at the top of the agenda as world leaders assemble in Glasgow to lay out the plan to battle the existential crisis of our times.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report on global warming paints a bleak picture. The changes are “unprecedented”, “widespread, rapid and intensifying” and, in many cases, “irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years, it says. It is a reality check, if we needed one.

While each of us can play our part in this fight, lawyers, as trusted counsel to the biggest businesses, can play a unique enabling role in worldwide efforts to slow down global warming.

We have a packed issue for you in this edition, discussing some of the hottest topics.

ABLJ 210910 leader
Sep.-Oct.2021
Asia Business Law Journal

Our cover story is an indepth analysis of one of the most important trends of the year special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs.

SPACs have climbed into the big league of capital markets, so we crunched the stats on Asia-related listings to find the highest performing legal advisers to compile a league table, our SPAC super league. The feature also provides insights on broader trends in Asia SPACs, shining a light on how, when and where all the money is being raised and deployed.

In Hard talk, we asked leading Asian general counsel what they like and don’t like about working with external counsel. The survey found that not all is well. While having law firms on your side is a must today, many in-house counsel feel the relationship is one-sided, the fee structure is lopsided, and their needs have been outsided. The feature offers the honest opinions of regional in-house counsel, and they’re not pulling any punches.

In our feature, Down to brass tax, we tackle a topic high on business leaders’ mindsthe sweeping overhaul of the international tax system, which will impose a 15% minimum tax rate on multinational tech enterprises, an arrangement agreed to by a whopping 136 countries. The new global tax regime, led by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD), seeks to bring much needed tax certainty and restore the integrity of the international tax system”. In an exclusive interview, the director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, Pascal Saint-Amans, explains the impact on Asia.

Closer to home, China has rolled out what is perhaps the world’s strictest personal data protection regime the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), a cross-sectoral legislation along the lines of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. The PIPL completes China’s data protection and cybersecurity regime, complimenting the Cybersecurity Law and Data Security Law.

The new legislation is significant in light of China’s recent regulatory scrutiny on tech companies, which has held legal departments across the country and beyond to the task of swift compliance. In our Vantage Point, Chen Yan, general counsel of KE Holdings, shares his company’s experience in adapting.

Asia Renewed looks at the dramatic increase in renewable energy investment across Asia and seeks to explain what has led to the recent boom. A deeper appreciation of the climate change crisis, the reality of fossil fuel depletion and grassroots activism have put increased pressure on governments to take concrete steps towards sustainability.

In NFTs and the IP conundrum, Patrick Tan, CEO and general counsel at Novum Alpha, discusses the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the unsettled questions they raise regarding ownership and IP. As blockchain technology protects the core value proposition of an NFT, proof of authenticity and ownership, existing copyright laws are of questionable application, he argues.

In our regular series of regional law comparisons, we brought together top experts from Japan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan to offer perspectives on the latest regulatory developments in their jurisdictions on two trending topics – renewable energy and NFTs.

This issue also packs in two very popular features – our Thailand A-list, revealing the top private practice lawyers in the Southeast Asian country, and the Korea Law Firm Awards, recognising the country’s best law firms. And don’t forget to check out our Taiwan Law Firm Directory.

Best wishes,

Mithun Varkey
Editor, Asia Business Law Journal
Managing Editor, Law.asia