The Chinese are coming

Zhonglun W&D, the first Chinese law firm to launch in London, has lost its entire City team to rival firm Zhong Lun (see story).

Assuming the group didn’t just get confused and walk into the almost identically named rival by accident, the team hire is the first time the UK market has witnessed Chinese firms tussling for position in the City. But it almost certainly won’t be the last (26 September 2011).

Zhong Lun – which shares a common ancestry with Zhonglun W&D, so it’s not all coincidence – has been hell bent on expansion over the past few years, opening in Hong Kong and securing the services of former Lovells’ Beijing managing partner Robert Lewis, an old hand in the Chinese market.

Zhonglun W&D, meanwhile, is using the opportunity of a forced fresh start to reinvent itself in London, and is now on the hunt for a firm to start a joint venture with. Anything it can do to differentiate itself from Zhong Lun at this point is probably a good thing.