The once booming industrial and manufacturing hub of northeast China has been weathered by economic decline, but government revitalization plans are creating new opportunities for businesses. How should law firms prepare to tap the region’s full potential? Miao Sha reports

China’s northeast region, comprising the three provinces of Jilin, Liaoning and Heilongjiang, once accounted for the vast majority of China’s heavy industries. As the country’s development had then required, the “republic’s eldest son” delivered in its giant forges to the shower of sparks and noise of worked steel as ships, trucks, machinery and aircraft were all grafted and assembled in this industrial heartland.

Its proximity to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei economic circle, the Bohai economic circle and neighbouring Belt and Road countries lends a strategic strength to development for the region, but what cannot be ignored is that its once proud prosperity has waned, and it now faces several economic challenges.

“Economic inactivity in the northeast region has led to a continued weakening of the profitability of some traditional manufacturing companies,” notes Kevin Chen, the managing partner of DeHeng Law Offices in Changchun, the capital of Jilin province.

Coupled with the worsening pandemic situation, banks have tightened lending, leading to low liquidity and forcing companies into bankruptcy.

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