Clydes, Norton Rose expand in Asia with Shanghai openings

Norton Rose expand in Asia with Shanghai openings” />Clyde & Co and Norton Rose are moving into China’s biggest city after securing licences to operate in Shanghai.

Shanghai will be Clydes’ first office in mainland China, while Norton Rose is adding to its four-year-old Beijing operation.

Clydes Hong Kong partner Ik Wei Chong is moving to Shanghai to launch the new office, along with one associate.

Clydes chief executive Peter Hasson said: “We see this as being a core part of our Asian operation. We’re putting into place a capability, but that doesn’t require large numbers of people in the short term.”

He added that the firm had already secured premises in the new Azia Centre development in central Shanghai.

Chong and his associate will focus initially on Clydes’ core practice areas of shipping, transport and international trade, with the aim of building up outbound litigation work.

Clydes’ Asia practice accounts for around 8 per cent of the firm’s total turnover of £104m.

Meanwhile, Norton Rose Asia-based partner Jim James is to lead his firm’s new venture, moving into dedicated premises in February. Initially there will be two Norton Rose lawyers based in Shanghai, but Asia managing partner David Stannard said the firm was recruiting aggressively for more solicitors to expand the office.

“My view is that China is a very big and very important place,” said Stannard. “To do it properly you have to be in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

“Really what we’re trying to do is run all our China operations together,” he added.

Stannard said Norton Rose has been active in the city for some time, with recent transactions including the IPOs of the Chinese Shipping Container Line and Costco.

Norton Rose is also present in Bangkok and Singapore, with an associated office in Jakarta. Work in Asia focuses on corporate finance and projects deals.