Fangda Partners recently announced that Jonathan Zhou, the firm’s founding partner and head of its management committee, was resigning, while a statement from Ant Financial said he will join as general counsel in charge of legal and compliance issues.
“Ant Financial has always attached great importance to legal compliance,” said Chen Leiming, senior vice president of Ant Financial, in the statement. “The addition of senior practitioners such as Jonathan Zhou will further strengthen our legal compliance team, help the company do business in accordance with the law globally, and serve global consumers, and small and micro enterprises as well.”
Founded in 1993, Fangda Partners has evolved into one of the top firms in China. Zhou focuses on corporate M&A, capital markets and foreign direct investment, and has participated in many cross-border transactions, public and private financings, and private equity investment projects during his time at the firm.
Alibaba, the parent company of Ant Financial, has close ties with Fangda. In both of its listings in the US and Hong Kong markets, Fangda acted as its PRC legal counsel.
In his resignation letter, Zhou wrote that, for China’s legal service industry, “external lawyers can determine how fast the industry can go, while in-house lawyers determine how far the industry can go”.