Smart dragons will tread carefully this year. Our survey of legal professionals suggests consolidating your business position and scanning the horizon for regulatory changes. But there are still some hot opportunities, writes Alice Gartland

It’s not just the Chinese leadership that will be getting its house in order in 2012. We asked our readers to identify the key legal issues they believe will face business in the coming months and a resounding warning is to dig in and be watchful of legislative reforms that may affect your business. The consolidation and adaptation of legislation and business strategy will be the key characteristics for the Year of the Dragon.

On the inbound side, continued refinements to the Anti-Monopoly Law (AML) will place companies under greater regulatory scrutiny. Businesses will also be keeping a close eye on tax reform, which is set to evolve throughout the year.

On 24 December 2011, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) issued the latest version of the Catalogue for the Guidance of Foreign Investment Industries (revised in 2011), effective as of 30 January, 2012 (the Catalogue). The Catalogue confirms China’s developmental trajectory towards R&D and green technology. In line with the Catalogue, “we expect a further decrease of investment in heavy industry projects and a continued increase of investment in consumer-related industries, R&D, high-tech and environmentally related industries, as well as service industries”, says Ulrike Glueck, managing partner at the Shanghai office of CMS China.

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