Over the past few years Asia companies have stepped up when it comes to their in-house legal function. One of those companies is Chinese internet giant Tencent, which in 2009 recruited US lawyer Brett Irvin as its general counsel.
Since then Irvin and his team have played a key role in the development of both Tencent and the wider online industry in China, including launching a Cyber Law Research Centre. Although Irvin has modelled the legal department on those found in tech capital Silicon Valley, much of the language and culture of the team is Chinese and this is core to what it does.
A similar picture is drawn in other Asian companies, such as Prudential Corporation Asia, Sony Pictures TV Networks, and the Asian Development Bank. The legal teams in these companies are now key to the growth of the business within the booming economies of the region – and their importance is only likely to grow in the future.
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