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The New York law firm opened the office in the region after being awarded a licence from the Ministry of Justice of the People’s Republic of China.
The Shanghai base, which went live on 7 July, will be headed by Steven Xiang, formerly of Clifford Chance, who will become managing partner of the office.
Xiang will be joined in his new role by Bill Sievers, who has led the charge of Weil Gotshal’s expansion in Asia, where the firm also has an office in Singapore. Prior to his appointment at Weil Gotshal, Xiang spent two years with Clifford Chance and before that practised at Pillsbury Winthrop in Hong Kong.
Weil Gotshal has been looking to expand in China since last year. It is understood that Curtis Mo – who joined the firm in February 2003 from collapsed firm Brobeck Phleger & Harrison where he was head of the firm’s Silicon Valley corporate group and co-chair of the national capital markets group – had been scouting out opportunities in the region for a number of months.
China has increasingly become a focus for expansionist US firms which have either moved into the country for the first time or taken advantage of the Ministry of Justice’s issuance of licenses and opened second offices.
Most recently Squire Sanders & Dempsey launched a Shanghai office, adding to its Beijing, Hong Kong and Tokyo bases.