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German firm Punder Volhard Weber & Axster has taken an eleventh-hour decision to open a Hong Kong office before the 1 July handover of the colony to China, following a strategic review of its international practice.
The firm already has a Beijing office, which it established in 1985, and now runs it as a joint office with other members of the Punder Group, an association of six European firms, which the firm heads. According to a spokesman for the firm, the new office is expected to be another such joint venture.
He said that although all members of the group had been notified of the plan, there had, as yet, been no definite replies. He added that the firm had planned the move for some time, and, subject to practicalities, it was hoped it would open before 1 July.
The opening was prompted by a recognition that the firm's Asia practice is increasingly important, and the new office will be the centre of operations for the region. The firm aims to be profitable as soon as it opens, by serving existing German and European clients.