BVI-headquartered Harneys has become the second offshore law firm to obtain a licence to offer international legal services in Shanghai.

This new development comes two years after the firm first set up an office in the city to offer fiduciary services.

Harneys’ expanded Shanghai office will be led by managing partner Kristy Calvert, who joined from rival firm Ogier to launch Harneys’ fiduciary services in Shanghai in November 2015.

Calvert has 15 years of experience advising on cross-border transactions and led Harneys’ fiduciary services in Shanghai since then.

Apart from Shanghai, Harneys has three other offices in Asia – Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, all of which offer a full range of offshore legal and fiduciary services.

“Establishing a full service legal team on the ground in the PRC is a key milestone in our strategic plan for Asia,” said Harneys Asia managing partner Jonathan Culshaw.

“Harneys has been advising China-based clients on the offshore aspects of Chinese inbound and outbound transactions since the 1980s, with the vast majority of our instructions historically emanating from China.”

Harneys’ rival Appleby became the first offshore firm to obtain a licence from China’s Ministry of Justice that allows it to offer offshore legal services in the country in 2014. Appleby first set up an office in Shanghai to focus on fiduciary and administration services in 2012.

Channel Islands firm Ogier was the first offshore outfit to launch in mainland China in 2011, but the firm doesn’t offer offshore legal services from the Shanghai office.