Asian streets not paved with gold

Asia has been a tough market recently, with US firms Blank Rome and Vinson & Elkins pulling out of Hong Kong and Shanghai respectively. But the moves have clearly had no adverse effect on their UK counterparts’ enthusiasm for the Far East.

Within a week, Addleshaw Goddard expanded its Hong Kong offering by entering into a local association and Hill Dickinson obtained approval to launch its Hong Kong office in association with a local firm. The moves come hot on the heels of Field Fisher Waterhouse’s tie-up with a three-partner Shanghai firm.

The expansion follows another challenging year at home, as The Lawyer’s UK 200 preview has shown. However just heading east in hope of success is not always successful. It takes a solid strategy to crack what is arguably one of the world’s toughest markets, and any firm driven overseas by a shrinking domestic market will find the going tough.

There are lessons to be learned from the US experience. Many American firms rushed into Asia following the 2008 global financial crisis and are now rethinking their presence there. The newcomers will have to invest significant time and effort to make sure the same does not happen to them.

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Asia moves: 13 August
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Ooredoo appoints legal counsel for Myanmar telecom project
Addleshaw Goddard enters into a Hong Kong association
Ashurst gets closer to Seoul with Korean partner hire