International legal practice Osborne Clarke enters the Mainland China market after admitting new Shanghai-based firm, Zhang Yu & Partners, to its international network.

Entering Mainland China is a key part of Osborne Clarke’s Asian expansion plans, which have also included the successful launch of an association with OC Queen Street in Singapore last year, an association with Koh Vass & Co in Hong Kong in 2015 and the firm’s close working relationship with BTG Legal in India, which was started in 2014.

Zhang Yu & Partners is being set up by Guohua Zhang and Steve Yu who have over 30 years of experience between them, particularly advising western and Asian corporations on complex cross-border transactions and international trade relating to China. The team will initially focus on opportunities for clients in the tech, media and comms and consumer products sectors as well as offering cross-border advisory services for Osborne Clarke’s sector clients with requirements in Mainland China.

A qualified PRC lawyer and registered foreign lawyer in Hong Kong who is fluent in English, Mandarin and the Shanghai dialect, Guohua Zhang’s practice areas include investment, cross-border mergers and acquisitions and general corporate and commercial advice in China. He regularly advises on the legal frameworks for undertaking business in China, appropriate corporate structures, underlying contractual arrangements, regulatory compliance, labour and employment matters, and other wide-ranging legal issues concerning international clients in China.

Zhang was most recently a consultant on secondment with Koh Vass & Co., as a registered foreign lawyer and prior to that spent more than ten years at another leading international law firm.

Previously the Managing Partner of a major US law firm’s Shanghai office, Steve Yu has 20 years of experience advising western clients doing business in China and built new office and practice for two international law firms. His practice encompasses mergers and acquisitions, business incorporation, international joint venture, technology licensing, franchising, business consolidation and restructuring, regulatory and compliance matters. In addition to his corporate practice, Yu advises on trademark and brand protection, cross-border IP licensing, establishment and operation of R&D centres, commercialisation of IP rights and enforcement by civil and criminal actions. Yu is also one of the first Chinese lawyers advising on China’s emerging antitrust regime.

Zhang Yu & Partners together with Koh Vass & Co in Hong Kong will offer a distinct Osborne Clarke-style service for clients across China and internationally. The team will initially be supported by six lawyers that trained in China, UK and US who specialise in IT, data and employment law.  They will be joined later this year by additional Partners, further legal recruits and business services support.

Simon Beswick, International CEO at Osborne Clarke, commented: “This is a major step forward in strengthening our international business as we now have a robust Asian regional offering from offices in Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai and Singapore.

“We can now fully support our clients who want to enter the second largest market in the world, and equally, we are well positioned to target local Chinese companies with our international sector expertise.”

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