The combined revenue of this year’s Top 30 Chinese firms totalled at RMB26bn in 2016, doubling their total sum in 2013.

The top 30 Chinese firms by revenue (see list below) has delivered staggering top-line performance in the past few years, data from The Lawyer China Top 30 2017 report shows. In 2016, the 30 firms together generated RMB26bn (£2.9bn) in revenue, up 29.73 per cent from 2015.

It is the second consecutive year these firms have achieved nearly 30 per cent year-on-year growth. In 2015, these firms’ combined annual turnover reached RMB20.2bn, on the back of a 29.58 per cent jump. This followed a 20 per cent increase in 2014.

Some of the large national firms posted the most staggering results, thanks to aggressive national expansion. Beijing-headquartered Guantao, for example, grew its revenue by 80 per cent, making it the fastest-growing firm last year. The surge is mainly due to its three-way merger in April 2016 with Shanghai firms Zhongmao and Shenda Partners, which was set to strengthen its footprint in the eastern coastal area. The combination has more than doubled the size of its Shanghai branch and given a major boost to its firm-wide lawyer and partner headcount and annual turnover.

Yingke, already a legal giant with nearly 5,000 lawyers, once again secured a place in the Top 30’s fastest-growing firms. Its revenue in 2016 jumped 60 per cent, from RMB1.27bn in 2015 to RMB2.03bn. The growth is partly driven by new office openings in China’s so-called second-tier cities and an increase in lawyer headcount following intense recruitment efforts.

In total, 11 of this year’s Top 30 grew their top-line figures by more than 30 per cent in 2016. Apart from one firm, all have opened new offices in the past year.

When these national firms open new branch offices in China, a common way is to hire established teams and acquire small firms from Chinese regional markets. Shanghai-headquartered AllBright is a case in point. When it launched a Zhenzhou office last year, it took on local firm Henan Yudu, which has 130 lawyers and staff. In Fuzhou, it set up a base by absorbing the bulk of the team from local firm Trend Associates. Due to the expansion, it is ranked as the eighth fastest growing firm with an annual turnover increase of 37 per cent. It is also the second fastest growing firm by lawyer headcount, which went up 35 per cent from 1,228 in 2015 to 1,661.

China Top 30 four-year revenue and lawyer growth

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