Latham & Watkins has launched its first outpost in mainland China with the opening of a two-partner Shanghai office.
San Francisco partner Rowland Cheng has relocated to Shanghai, where he will head the new office. He will be joined by Singapore-based finance partner James Redway and two Latham associates.
The new office will focus on project finance, capital markets, M&A and private equity work, as well as outbound investment for Chinese blue-chip companies.
Among its key recent Chinese deals, the firm advised on the largest project financing in Asia to date - the $4.3bn (£2.28bn) Nanhai Petrochemicals complex in Guangdong. The firm hopes to leverage off the Shanghai office to develop its projects practices in other developing Asian jurisdictions such as Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.
The move, which was first revealed on www.thelawyer. com (11 April), comes just as a raft of US firms pile into China. The last 12 months have seen Dewey Ballantine, Squire Sanders & Dempsey, Vinson & Elkins, Weil Gotshal & Manges and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr all open Chinese outposts.
Latham chairman Robert Dell said: "Having a strong Chinese capability will be a hallmark of the world's global elite firms, and we're building our stake in this market."
The new Shanghai office becomes Latham's fourth Asian outpost alongside Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo.