Times they are a-changin’


Usually at Asia Business Law Journal, we focus on matters of Law that apply to business, and how these issues vary in our colourful and diverse part of the world.

This issue, we have targeted an issue that may seem off track, but on closer inspection is crucial to address if Asia is to grow, nurture and attract the best legal minds necessary for the region to maintain its position leading the world’s business growth and associated legal development.

Our cover story, Asian Mosaic, recognizes that gender parity is just as crucial as the latest legal tech in developing truly innovative law firms, free-thinking and creative in-house counsel, and forward looking legislative and judicial structures.

This remarkable compendium of articles gives us personal experiences from some of the region’s finest legal minds, women who have reached the top despite the odds being at times overwhelmingly against them. For none of them are the easy rides that their male counterparts enjoy.

Their recollections are astute, sometimes shocking, and often heartwarming. Their advice is as meaningful and valid as any young aspiring lawyers, women or men, will ever receive.

The recently celebrated International Women’s Day carried these themes: A balanced world is a better world; How are you forging a more gender-balanced world? Celebrate women’s achievement; Raise awareness against bias; Take action for equality.

We believe we have ticked all these boxes in one of our best reads yet. There is a vital need in our region to overcome gender prejudices and, as is to be expected with most things, it is up to the legal community to lead the way, both in development of law and in everyday practice, in affecting change. With the changing times, this issue will without doubt define the next legal generation.

Be sure also to review our comparison of gender parity law in a Head to Head series accompanying the cover story.

In other matters of change, A foreign attraction looks at China’s new Foreign Investment Law (FIL), which was promulgated and will take effect at the beginning of next year, and was quickly heralded by many as the opening up of China that many foreign investors have been waiting for years to see. The FIL replaces three old laws and moulds their essence into a unified regulatory framework, removing restrictions, allowing foreign investors to enjoy national treatment and introducing a negative-list access system. However, there are still some uncertain issues that need to resolved, including the status and legal validity of variable interest entities.

Together with the amendment to the FIL, the IP-related provisions of the Technology Import and Export Administrative Regulations and the Sino-Foreign Equity Joint Venture Law Implementing Regulations were repealed with immediate effect. The article also analyzes the revisions of these two regulations and how foreign investors can benefit from them.

In this issue we also have some interesting showcases in our Head to Head series of articles, which cover comparisons of law around the region. Our comparison of trademark law is a must read for all those attending the INTA conference in Boston. If you aren’t lucky enough to be there, these comparisons are still informative for those specializing in IP, or with an interest in where trademark law is heading in Asia. We also do some comparisons regarding cryptocurrencies, and their rapid-fire development in the region. Examining legal developments in the area of virtual currency and associated issues is akin to taking a litmus test to measure the flexibility and depth of competency of legal systems adopting them. Staying up to speed is crucial on this one.

Best wishes,

John Church
Editor, Asia Business Law Journal
Editor-in-chief, Vantage Asia