Out with the old, in with the new

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While replacing the lunar calendar with a new one, flashbacks of the past year remind us to take inventory of the momentous hours where we ride out life’s real challenges. We dedicate this issue to record, reflect on and rejoice in the achievements of China’s legal market. Meanwhile, we question in a positive way the obstacles to the way forward.

Our cover story, Deals of the Year 2021, looks back at the most significant transactions and disputes of last year as we ring in the Year of the Tiger. Against the backdrop of a recovering economy, the market continued its buoyancy during the past year.

CBLJ Prologue 2201A number of exemplary transactions were completed despite prevailing strong winds in the geopolitical and regulatory environments. With this annual report, we revisit with our readers the decisive moments in the market that brought together the efforts of various parties, and provide a glimpse into the experiences behind each deal.

As for companies doing business in the country, one thing that cannot be ignored is the grand schemes of the central government before they move onto a new chapter. With the state-led “common prosperity” philanthropy campaign well underway, what options do private enterprises face? What role should they play in the strategy, and how can they get involved? In Needs of the many, senior practitioners, academia and NGOs talk to us and offer their interpretations and suggestions.

Commonplace issues such as data compliance can also trigger crises if not handled with care. In this regard, adjusting the management mindset is key to forming complete protection of your business. For many companies forced into hasty policy alterations, China’s new data laws have caught them off-guard. In Data crunch time, Helen Gu, general counsel of Weibo’s principal shareholder, Sina Group, urges enterprises to take a more proactive approach to data governance.

To top it off, we present some honest and sometimes painful truths from at home and abroad regarding considerations on pricing and choosing the right lawyers. As the quote from Confucius goes: “Just as bitter medicine cures sickness, unpalatable advice benefits conduct.” In Hard talk, our sister publication Asia Business Law Journal surveyed regional in-house counsel for their real opinions of the legal services from law firms ‒ and they’re not pulling any punches. The report draws on an analysis of responses from 108 in-house counsel in mainland China (25%), India (17%), Indonesia (14%), Hong Kong (11%), Singapore (10%), Japan (7%), the Philippines (6%), South Korea (3%), Malaysia (2%), Taiwan (2%), and others (4%).

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