China’s Yingke opens New York, Hong Kong and São Paulo offices

Chinese firm Yingke has continued its global expansion with the addition of offices in New York, Hong Kong and São Paulo.

Yingke has recruited New York-qualified lawyer Zoe Qiao from a New York-based financial institution to head its first US office. Qiao is supported by two other legal staff.

The firm has also received approval from the Hong Kong Law Society to set up its Hong Kong branch office, and has established a seven-member consultancy firm in São Paulo led by Brazilian lawyer João Alexandre Gebara.

The New York office, similar to its London office (26 September 2011), is primarily a marketing and service office.

“New York is a key global financial centre. It is a strategic location for our international expansion,” said Linda Yang, the partner in charge of Yingke’s international initiatives.

Prior to the New York opening, Yang assisted the Rockefeller family in setting up a China joint venture fund with a total size of Rmb5bn (500m).

Yingke’s New York office will mainly focus on serving as a coordinator between Chinese companies and US legal services providers. It will also function as a referral point for inbound investment to China and Chinese legal matters.

“Many Chinese companies, particularly small to medium-sized private enterprises have experienced real difficulties in working with foreign law firms, due to language and culture barriers and a lack of understanding of each other’s market and legal system,” said Yang. “Yingke can play an important role in bridging the gap and enabling effective communications between foreign counsel and Chinese companies.”

Following the New York opening, Yingke will look at expanding its US presence to Chicago and Los Angles.

Yang noted that although there was no straightforward benchmark to measure the contribution and success of the international offices, they had contributed to the firm being instructed on several cross-border mandates.

Examples included Yingke’s recent instruction on the multi-million Euro acquisition of a 50 per cent share in a Polish company by a large Chinese company. Yang said she believed the firm’s Warsaw office, established in January (27 January 2012), had been instrumental in winning the mandate.

“There are tens of thousands of law firms in China. Having an extensive international network really makes us standout. In addition, Chinese companies are investing in a wide range of countries overseas, so we need to be in a large number of jurisdictions before we can provide meaningful assistance to our clients,” Yang said.

Yingke now has eight overseas offices – New York, Hong Kong, São Paulo, Warsaw, Istanbul, London, Budapest and Verona.  It is understood that the firm has set its sights on future launches in Moscow and Mexico City.