China Central Place, 29th Floor, Tower 2
79 Jianguo Road, Chaoyang District
Lawyers in Steptoe’s China practice are committed to helping clients invest and conduct business in China in the most efficient way possible, while managing the unique risks that arise in connection with trade and investment in China. We advise clients on market entry and exit strategies, investments, structuring of commercial agreements, compliance, and resolution of business disputes. We also help clients address regulatory barriers to market entry, and with labor and employment matters and intellectual property protection. Our Beijing office serves as the center of our Asia practice, which has been recognized as among the world’s best by leading legal publications, including Chambers Asia-Pacific, which has ranked Steptoe in its top tier each year since 2009. Steptoe was awarded the 2016 China Law & Practice International Firm of the Year Award in Trade and we have been honored with the China Business Law Award in International Trade for three consecutive years by China Business Law Journal. Our Beijing lawyers have experience in a variety of practice areas, including international trade, China business transactions, antitrust, regulatory compliance, labor and employment, and IP, among others.
In China, we have extensive experience of advising clients on foreign direct investment, private equity and venture capital financing, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, as well as transfer and protection of intellectual property rights. We advise clients on private investment fund formation both in China and offshore. Our clients also regularly look to us to assist in resolving issues that arise in connection with the establishment, management, financing, and operation of their business activities in China. We represent multinational companies of all sizes in all stages of direct investment in China, helping clients to negotiate and document deals, and to navigate China’s constantly evolving legal and regulatory environment.
We represent private equity investors, venture capitalists, private equity fund sponsors, and limited partners in a wide variety of transactions. Equipped with our strong knowledge of unique legal due diligence issues often presented in investments in Chinese emerging growth companies, we advise on legal and regulatory risks faced by PE/VC investors, assist them with rigorous due diligence that enables them to estimate the true valuation of their targets and ensure maximum protection in the transactional documentation.
Our M&A practice combined with our deep Chinese regulatory experience underscores our deal execution capability. Our lawyers help clients navigate the complex process of obtaining regulatory approvals required in transactions involving Chinese companies and assets, including acquisitions of state-owned assets.
Currently, China’s capital markets are not open to direct foreign investment except by means of government approved investment quotas. We assist international financial institutional investors with their applications for licenses under China’s Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) and Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) programs. We are regularly consulted by international financial investors with respect to their day-to-day compliance with Chinese financial laws and regulations, including banking, insurance, and securities regulations.
In recent years, the Chinese government has been working on deregulation of capital account activities and full convertibility of the RMB. Steptoe lawyers understand the evolving Chinese financial regulatory regime, and we are well-positioned to help clients take advantage of the ongoing deregulation of the RMB in order to realize commercial benefits. We advise clients on global liquidity management strategies, in-bound FDI using offshore RMB, and issuance of or investment in RMB-denominated offshore bonds and equities.
Steptoe has one of the largest and most experienced international trade practices in the world and is at the center of the most high-profile and challenging trade disputes between the United States and China. Many of our lawyers have gained their experience and insight through senior US government service with the Department of Commerce and the Office of the US Trade Representative, as well as the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Treasury. Chambers Asia-Pacific has consistently named Steptoe's International Trade Group the market leader among international firms practicing in Asia. In addition to representing numerous companies throughout Asia in US and EU trade proceedings, we have substantial experience advising non-Chinese companies facing trade remedy investigations administered by China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). We also have a strong record of success in advising companies how to overcome trade and regulatory barriers in China.
Steptoe counsels companies doing business in China on the scope, meaning and application of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), related US statutes, and the UK Bribery Act as they relate to their Chinese operations. Our practice includes compliance advice and counseling, investigations and enforcement work. Our lawyers have extensive experience conducting investigations in China, and have conducted more than 20 full-scale internal investigations for US and multinational companies in China. All investigations are conducted by a fully bilingual team, and the Beijing-based team leader for this practice has been ranked by Chambers Asia-Pacific since 2012.
We are one of the few foreign law firms with fully bilingual compliance and investigations practitioners, including a partner, based in Mainland China. Our Beijing-based team works seamlessly with the firm’s lawyers in the US, including partners who have served with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and its Division of Enforcement. Members of the team have successfully advised and represented public companies, boards and their officers and directors in connection with China-focused and global investigations involving both the SEC and US Department of Justice.
Our Beijing office represents foreign insurance companies in connection with market entry and access matters and with advice on structuring cross border insurance. The Chinese insurance regulatory regime is evolving rapidly and we assist clients with compliance matters in connection with bank assurance, insurance agency, and other sales-related matters.
Steptoe advises clients on the challenging and increasingly high profile Chinese regulatory systems for chemicals (China REACH), biocides, food safety, and cosmetics. As Chinese regulatory reforms continue, Steptoe offers unique and consolidated services that combine technical expertise, strong government affairs capabilities, and deep legal knowledge of the regulatory regimes. We assist our clients to overcome market access and regulatory challenges with focused and innovative strategies. Among other matters, we have advised on compliance with Chinese hazardous and non-hazardous chemical regulations for both industrial and consumer products. We have also assisted with determining whether a product requires registration or approval and if it contains restricted or banned substances and reviewing labeling to ensure compliance with Chinese GHS requirements. Recently, we have worked on projects relating to the emerging regulation of antimicrobials and biocides. Our Beijing office is at the center of these China-based services, and draws upon our extensive regulatory experience in Brussels and Washington.
The Chinese labor and employment environment is evolving rapidly and often poses significant challenges for foreign employers. A thorough understanding of the Chinese labor regulatory environment has become an essential aspect of doing business successfully in China for many multinational companies. From structuring cross-border employment arrangements to social security benefits, human resource management, and unionization challenges, our lawyers have significant experience advising clients on a diverse range of labor and employment law issues.
For most clients doing business in China, a key element in their investment strategy is protection of their intellectual property from infringement and misappropriation. Steptoe lawyers are experienced in all phases of intellectual property representations, including the evaluation, acquisition, licensing, transfer, and enforcement of intellectual property rights, including patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret rights. Lawyers in Steptoe’s Beijing office have particular experience in intellectual property protection measures tailor-made for China.
Lawyers in Steptoe’s Beijing office have provided legal support for construction projects throughout China. We have represented numerous multinational corporations in connection with a variety of construction projects, including the tendering of engineering and design work, drafting EPC contracts and negotiating and drafting financing documentation in relation to the construction of factory premises, office buildings, and purpose-built facilities.
Our lawyers are particularly experienced in construction projects in the energy, chemicals, bio-tech, semiconductor, and software industries. We support foreign investors with all matters relating to construction projects, including project finance, entity formation, technology license or transfer, tax and regulatory issues, including practical advice on government permitting and registration formalities.
Our lawyers have significant and deep experience assisting clients in mediating and resolving disputes in China. We have worked on disputes involving treaty-based rights and obligations, waiver of sovereign immunity, measurement of damages, discovery, enforcement of awards, and choice of law, among others. Our experience includes representing foreign and Chinese parties in the key fora for China-related dispute resolution, including the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). One of our team members in China is on the panel of arbitrators of the Shanghai Arbitration Commission, which includes the Shanghai Court of Financial Arbitration and several members regularly sit as arbitrators in China-related disputes administered by international arbitral institutions.
Steptoe & Johnson LLP is a foreign law firm registered with the Ministry of Justice of the People's Republic of China. Under current Chinese regulations, we are allowed to provide information concerning the effects of the Chinese legal environment, but we are not authorized to practice Chinese law or to render legal opinions in respect of Chinese law.