Shao, who succeeded Giles White as Asia supremo earlier this year, will become chairman and CEO of JPMorgan’s China business.
He has been a partner at Linklaters for 11 years, leading the firm’s China practice for a decade for taking the Asia managing partner role.
Firmwide managing partner Simon Davies said in statement: “Zili is an exceptional partner and a good friend to many at Linklaters. While his departure will be a great loss to the firm, we respect and support his decision to take on this exciting challenge with one of the world’s leading financial services institutions.
“Zili’s legacy is the firm’s market leading position in Asia and in China specifically, where our depth of expertise and local knowledge, spread over 190 lawyers, has seen us on more significant and complex ‘China firsts’ over the years than any other firm.
“We look forward to working closely with Zili as a client. He leaves with our thanks and very best wishes.”
Linklaters recently acted for Shao’s new employer on its £1bn acquisition of the remaining 50 per cent of UK broker Cazenove.
His departure will come as a blow to Linklaters. He was seen as part of the firm’s new wave of leading partners ready to embrace Davies’ restructuring programme.
Marc Harvey, who stood against Shao for the Asia job, was appointed joint China region managing partner in June. It is not yet known whether he will stand again for the vacant post.
Shao’s predecessor Giles White left the firm a year ago to take up the post of general counsel at Jardine Matheson.