Beijing-headquartered Han Kun has emerged as the fastest growing firm in this year’s China Elite report after it tripled its annual turnover between 2013 and 2015.

Han Kun also more than doubled its revenue per lawyer (RPL) over the same period.

The Lawyer’s third annual China Elite report has collated three years of data to illustrate how fast leading Chinese firms have grown.

Han Kun, which had 151 lawyers including 30 partners at the end of 2015, generated RMB320m (£37m) last year, almost triple its turnover of RMB112m in 2013.

The firm also increased RPL by 70 per cent over the same period, from RMB1.2m to RMB2.1m.

The report shows that the combined revenue of China’s top 30 highest-grossing firms increased by 55.5 per cent, from RMB12.95bn in 2013 to RMB20.16bn last year (£1.5bn to £2.3bn).

The total number of lawyers across these 30 firms jumped 36 per cent to 23,023 with many firms launching overseas offices or tying the knot with a global firm.

In fact, this year’s research has found that six leading Chinese firms doubled or more than doubled their revenue between 2013 and 2015.

Private equity and technology-focused Han Kun is among a handful of Chinese firms that operates a single profit pool and a UK-style modified lockstep. It has also invested significantly in building up strong business services teams in the last year to support growth including appointing seasoned corporate partner Joyce Li as its first CEO.

The firm’s rapid growth demonstrates China’s rapidly changing legal services market but also its expanding digital technology sectors.

Han Kun’s rapid rise is closely intertwined with the success of its longstanding clients, many of which are the country’s largest technology companies, such as Baidu, China Auto Renting, Uber China (which recently merged with Didi Dache), Meituan.com, Tencent and 58.com.

The firm brought many of its current big clients onboard when they were start-ups or when their investors launched the first round of capital raising.

As these companies rapidly grew, went public, raised further funds through follow-on issuances and started making acquisitions, Han Kun advised them on key transactions. In the process, the firm has evolved into a fuller provider to meet its clients’ diversifying needs.

Han Kun, merely 12 years old, is poised as a challenger to the so-called red circle firms – a group of eight established Chinese firms: Commerce & Finance, Fangda, Global, Haiwen, Jingtian & Gongcheng, JunHe, KWM and Zhong Lun.

By revenue, Han Kun has now overtaken Commerce & Finance, Global and Haiwen. By RPL, it has surpassed Commerce & Finance, Global, KWM and Zhong Lun.

Top 20 fastest growing firms by RPL (2015 vs 2013)
Rank Firm Two-year RPL Growth
1 Zhejiang T&C 71.8%
2 Han Kun 70.3%
3 Jingtian & Gongcheng 60.5%
4 Guanghe 60.0%
5 Grandall 54.8%
6 Kangda 50.3%
7 Dentons (China) 44.5%
8 Guangdong Huashang 44.3%
9 Hylands 40.7%
10 Tian Yuan 39.2%
11 Commerce & Finance 32.8%
12 Global Law Offices 31.4%
13 King & Capital 28.8%
14 Yingke 27.0%
15 Lifang 25.7%
16 Zhong Yin 22.4%
17 AllBright 20.2%
18 Deheng 18.9%
19 Broad & Bright 18.8%
20 JunHe 16.0%
Top 20 fastest growing firms by revenue (2015 vs 2013)
Rank Firm Two-Year Revenue Growth
1 Han Kun 185.7%
2 Guangdong Huashang 125.7%
3 Tian Yuan 117.8%
4 Beijing DHH 109.5%
5 Grandall 106.3%
6 Guanghe 98.3%
7 Zhong Lun 91.8%
8 Tiantong & Partners 90.0%
9 Zhejiang T&C 84.4%
10 Yingke 81.4%
11 Kangda 80.5%
12 Hylands 79.1%
13 Jingtian & Gongcheng 77.1%
14 AllBright 75.9%
15 Zhong Yin 72.6%
16 Dentons (China) 62.9%
17 Tahota 62.8%
18 JT & N 61.4%
19 Lifang 60.0%
20 Fangda Partners 58.3%

The Lawyer’s China Elite 2016 report, released on Monday (26 September), identifies the top performing Chinese firms by various key metrics such as revenue, RPL, revenue growth and RPL growth last year. It also provides a comprehensive peer group benchmark, and contains three years of financial and technological data and in-depth analysis on Chinese law firms’ strategies from some of the country’s most eminent lawyers.

The China Elite 2016 report can be purchased by contacting Richard Edwards on 0207 970 4667 or Richard.edwards@centaurmedia.com.