Chinese firm Longan opens in Hong Kong

Beijing-headquartered Longan has become the latest Chinese firm to venture into Hong Kong, after launching an office in the special administrative region.

The Hong Kong office will be Longan’s second location outside of mainland China, following its Ulaanbaatar base that was established in 2009.

The new office is headed by the firm’s chairman Xu Jiali. It currently has three other registered foreign lawyers, Liu Xiaoming, Cui Huanfu and Zhao Bosheng, all of who are partners of the firm.

As part of the firm’s offering in Hong Kong, it has also entered into an association with 11-lawyer local firm Hui & Lam.

“Hong Kong will be an important window to the world for Longan,” said Liu Xiaoming, who is also the firm’s managing partner. “We will use Hong Kong as a platform to develop our international business by leverage our existing strengths and resources in the mainland.”

Together with Hui & Lam, Longan is also aiming to develop a wealth management and family office group.

“Many of our domestic clients are first-generation entrepreneurs and succession planning is becoming an increasingly pressing issue for them. Hong Kong is a favorable jurisdiction for them to set up a trust to manage their family business and wealth,” Liu added.

Longan is one of China’s largest national firms with nearly 600 lawyers across 15 offices. It’s latest expansion shines a light into the growing PRC legal community in Hong Kong. So far, around 20 Chinese firms have set up an office there. Prior to Longan, Shanghai-based AllBright (4 November 2013) and Fangda, and Beijing-based Jia Yuan opened an office in the city (6 September 2012).

Fangda’s entrance into the Hong Kong market is the most notable with the firm hiring former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer litigation partner Peter Yuen to launch its office (23 April 2012).

Apart from Fangda, Zhong Lun has also recently poached a senior partner from an international rival. In January, the firm appointed Dechert’s former Hong Kong managing partner Basil Hwang as a partner (13 January 2014).