Into the limelight

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From the latest market trends to the top law firms in the market, this issue pushes some hot issues and some of the hottest practices onto centre stage. First, we turn to the current boom concerning special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, in the US, where Chinese companies are actively participating due to an increased volatility in capital markets brought by the pandemic.

CBLJ2104 cover imageChina stands to get a handsome share of about US$1 trillion dollars of M&A activity in the two years following an estimated US$129 billion in capital raising through this means of fast tracking IPOs, according to reports. However, after the US Securities and Exchange Commission questioned the ac- counting principles of some SPACs in April, deal volumes have subsided on Wall Street.

What now for the SPAC? Our cover story, Market SPACulation, examines the geopolitical risks amid frosty Sino-US relations, and explores which Asian markets are looking at the possibility of adopting regulation to allow the listing of SPACs. Risk consultancy experts and senior practitioners in the US and Asia share their analysis on what regulators and investors are most concerned about, and what the future holds for SPAC transactions.

Another hot issue lies in the area of intellectual property protection. When it comes to combating piracy for high-end industrial software, a lack of precedents, in terms of investigation and enforcement, and the sly nature of infringement operations make the chase a challenge. Mary Yang, head of legal services, and Jessica Fan, principle legal counsel at Cognex Asia, share their safe-guarding strategies with us in Pirate Hunters, and reveal how they hunted down software pirates and brought them to justice, setting game-changing precedents in the process.

This issue, we are also proud to present our annual China Business Law Awards for both Chinese and foreign practices that guided businesses through the most challenging of times of the past year.

This year, we have launched the “Pro Bono” award to recognise law firms that are dedicated to ensuring equal access to justice, not only with charity, but also with expertise in assisting numerous small and medium-sized enterprises that have been hit hard by the events surrounding the pandemic. We also added the “Government and Public Affairs” award to introduce our readers to firms that have excelled in dealing with complex Chinese propositions, whether assisting government in drafting key policies, or offering advice to foreign companies entering the Chinese market.

Based on our coverage of China’s legal market, we selected the winners under each category after months of research and evaluation, getting direct feedback from the market, examining thousands of votes and recommendations from domestic and international corporate counsel, decision-makers from management, legal academics and government officials, and taking into account significant transactions, cases or other notable achievements in which each firm has been involved in the past year. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to all the winners!