Wragge & Co is set to launch in Hong Kong within the month, giving the firm its first presence outside Europe.
As first reported by The Lawyer (13 November 2006), Wragges is set to open in Hong Kong and Guangzhou with German ally Graf von Westphalen.
Wragges managing partner Quentin Poole told The Lawyer: "I expect the licence for the Hong Kong office to be granted imminently, within the next two to three weeks. Guangzhou will follow shortly.
"Guangzhou is very close to Hong Kong and it's the largest manufacturing centre in China. It's also a very unfished market. We felt it was much more interesting than the very mature market in Shanghai."
Poole said he expects the Hong Kong office to launch with around 10 lawyers, with the Guangzhou office starting with eight.
The firm has already sent two associates out to Hong Kong in preparation for the launch and this week (19 February) IP partner Gordon Harris and corporate partner Christopher Hughes will fly out to oversee the opening of the office. Both Harris and Hughes will spend their time in both the UK and China.
"We intend to recruit locally and it's very likely that we'll permanently relocate some lawyers from the UK to China," Poole said.
The Chinese venture would create the firm's second and third overseas offices. In addition to its Birmingham headquarters, the firm has offices in Brussels and London.