Cooley revamps leadership, refocuses practices


Cooley has revamped its Asian leadership, appointing its first partners in charge of the Hong Kong and Beijing offices, and resolving the succession of Christina Zhang, head of the Shanghai branch for more than a decade.

Michael Yu, Cooley
Michael Yu

Corporate partner Michael Yu and investment funds partner Zeng Xun are now heading the Hong Kong and Beijing offices, respectively.

Capital markets partner Liu Yiming took over from Zhang, who was a partner in charge since joining Cooley in 2012 and is now a partner and chief representative of the Shanghai office.

Speaking about the outlook for 2023, Yu saw a stronger pipeline of deals in the life sciences sector compared with last year.

“Due to the nature of this business, the research and development stage of life sciences companies have regular fund-raising demands,” Yu told our sister publication, Asia Business Law Journal. “Also, other life-sciences companies are coming back to both primary and secondary markets for funding following the valuation resets amid the volatile market conditions last year.”

Zeng Xun, Cooley
Zeng Xun

Yu also noted an increase in deals in the tech, internet and consumer sectors in Hong Kong as business resumes. He expected the Hong Kong IPO market to rebound in terms of activity level from the downturn in 2022, especially in the second half of 2023 across these sectors, in which the firm is seeing much higher interest from potential issuers.

“We also anticipate that the policies and initiatives taken by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, such as the adoption of chapter 18C [of the bourse’s Main Board Listing Rules], which opens its door for companies with specialist technologies, and streamlining the vetting process for international issuers, would show some visible results in 2023.”

Liu Yiming, Cooley
Liu Yiming

Liu also highlighted the firm’s clients in the tech, internet and consumer sectors are now more actively exploring strategic transactions. “We are also helping an increasing number of life sciences clients to monetise assets and seek collaborations to advance their development and commercialisation efforts,” he added.

Yu joined the firm in 2019, focusing on IPO and other equity capital markets transactions on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. With more than 15 years of experience, he has deep Hong Kong regulatory experience with the bourse and the Securities and Futures Commission.

Zeng has been with the firm since early 2018. Having more than 15 years of experience, she focuses on the formation, structuring and operation of a wide variety of investment funds, including venture capital, private equity, hybrid, and co-investment funds.

Liu, who joined the firm as a partner in 2021, specialises in strategic transactions in the life sciences and technology industries, and is experienced in life sciences and healthcare IPOs in Hong Kong and the US.

Cooley opened in Hong Kong in 2019 following the Beijing office in 2018 and the Shanghai office in 2011, advising clients on the full range of legal matters.