Simmons’ game of Chinese whispers

Just how long does it take to get a licence to open an office in the Chinese capital? News from Simmons & Simmons this week that the firm is planning to open an office in Beijing had a familiar ring to it.

International corporate head Damon LeMaitre-George told The Lawyer he was hopeful the new branch would open this year – or maybe next. Experiencing déjà vu? In July 2007, managing partner Mark Dawkins said he was waiting for the Chinese authorities to grant a licence for a Beijing opening.

Similar sentiments were expressed in December 2006, when the firm revealed it was waiting for a Beijing licence and would launch in 2007.

Back in November 2005, Simmons China managing partner Huen Wong had some exciting news. That’s right – the firm had concrete plans to open in Beijing and was expecting the Ministry of Justice to grant theapplication “very soon”.

The licence application process does take some time for all firms but two-and-a-half years? Perhaps the Chinese government knows something about Simmons that we don’t.Get the latest news and an irreverent commentary delivered to your desktop every day by subscribing to Lawyer News Daily.

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