China desk

 

Hall & Wilcox has solid experience advising Chinese clients on aspects of doing business in Australia. We have staff members who speak fluent Mandarin. We understand the cultural and legal differences between doing business in China and in Australia.

Hall & Wilcox has long-term experience in undertaking complex cross-border transactions bridging legal, linguistic, and cultural differences in a manner that is beneficial to our clients.  We act for internationally known companies from all over the world, stock-exchange listed companies in Australia and overseas, and medium-sized companies conducting their business in Australia. We act for many of our Chinese clients as the Australian counsel.

Drawing on our significant experience, and our wide-ranging network of contacts, we facilitate our clients’ access to relevant local experts and improve the efficiency with which transactions are conducted.

Investments in China and Australia

China is Australia’s largest two-way trading partner, accounting for around 26% of total trade in 2018-19 valued at AUD$235 billion[1]. In recent years, there has been a boom in Chinese businesses seeking investment opportunities in Australia. China is Australia’s sixth-largest direct investor, [2]

We also have strong links to independent international law firms, including many based in China, Hong Kong and Singapore, through our membership of international networks. We have strong tax structuring capabilities and established relationships with a number of accounting firms, many of which have offices outside Australia.

[1] https://www.dfat.gov.au/sites/default/files/trade-investment-glance-2020.pdf

[2] https://www.austrade.gov.au/news/economic-analysis/australias-inward-investment-tops-1-trillion

Key practise areas

  • Corporate and Commercial law, particularly accompanying the foundation or acquisition of an Australian company
  • Corporate governance and directors’ duties
  • Conducting litigation and arbitration, including in the law of damages
  • Commercial contracts, including supply and distribution agreements
  • Joint ventures and shareholders arrangements
  • Mergers and acquisitions, including setting up NewCos in Australia
  • Tax law
  • Foreign investment regulation, including FIRB approval
  • Financial Services and Insurance
  • Banking and Finance
  • Capital Market law
  • Capital raising
  • Funds, including advice on and the establishment of property funds
  • Private clients, including estate planning, succession and disputes
  • Employment law, including immigration law
  • Superannuation and Pensions
  • Intellectual Property law, including trademarks, unfair competition and copyright law
  • IT law, including technology contracts
  • Property, Planning, Construction and infrastructure projects
  • Environmental law and Sustainability
  • Leasing

Experience

We frequently act for overseas clients acquiring companies in Australia. In particular, we are able to advise on:

  • establishing the most appropriate legal structures for businesses;
  • international tax issues and tax structuring advice;
  • corporate restructures, mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and divestments;
  • employment obligations and agreements;
  • compliance obligations of companies under the Australian Competition Law;
  • obtaining appropriate visas, immigration compliance, permanent residency and citizenship issues;
  • commercial agreements including franchise, distribution, supply and service agreements;
  • protection and licensing of intellectual property;
  • commercial agreements including franchise, distribution, supply and service agreements;
  • protection and licensing of intellectual property;
  • commercial and residential property transactions; and
  • whether any Australian regulatory compliance and approvals are required for a particular transaction and if so, obtaining those approvals.

We have assisted companies from Australia and China with expanding their businesses and developing business connections in each other’s countries, such as:

  • Worked on behalf of Shaunglin Automotive Parts Manufacturing Co on purchasing Australian and Chinese operations from Geely Holdings Group worth USD $500 million.
  • Acting as General Counsel for an international payments-based fintech start-up, including advising on some of the largest fintech fundraising rounds in Australia at the time from international investors such as MasterCard, TenCent Holdings, and Sequoia Capital China.
  • Assisting Chinese clients with business migration issues and applications for business visas.
  • Assisting a large Chinese developer in its series of acquisition of commercial properties in excess of AUD$500 million.
  • Negotiating an AUD$20 million acquisition by a high profile Chinese celebrity of a minority shareholding in an Australian organics business including drafting downstream Chinese distribution and marketing agreements.
  • Acting for clients in relation to international trademark applications designating China, including filing applications, liaising with Chinese associates, and advising clients on registrability and infringement issues.
  • Negotiated a multi-million dollar joint venturing investment by Intense Solar China into an Australian solar energy equipment R&D and manufacturing company, including negotiations of IP licenses, distribution and shareholder arrangements.
  • Acting for Dahua in its purchase of A$300 million acquisition of greenfields sites for development, together with the ongoing settlements of lots in the 64 hectares Dahua Tarneit ‘Orchard’ Community Development.
  • Negotiated an $80 million investment by major Chinese State-Owned Dairy Enterprise in investing in and joint venturing with an Australia dairy producer to build an infant formula manufacturing plant in regional Victoria and a five-year annual off-take agreement for infant formula into China worth in excess of AUD$1 billion.
  • Assisting Zheng He Securities, a Chinese based ASX Listed Company with its application for an Australian Financial Services Licence.
  • Assisting with the purchase of $60 million of Australian agricultural land for Dashang Group in New South Wales for cattle breeding.
  • Assisted with the negotiation of joint venture arrangements between ChinaAMC (a subsidiary of CITIC) and Azure in relation to the launch of an Australian-based China securities fund.
  • Acting in the sale of Loscam, an Australian based shipping pallet business, to China Merchants Group.
  • Acting for Chinese State-Owned Enterprise Wengfu (Group) Co. Ltd in its proposed acquisition of an Australian fertiliser distribution business.
  • Acting for a Chinese private real estate company in respect of its listing on the Australian Securities Exchange and the Deutsche Börse in Germany.
  • Assisting Chinese investors with the purchase and development of numerous housing projects in Melbourne.
  • Assisting a Chinese family business with acquiring a portfolio of buildings in the Melbourne CBD.

Key Contact

Eugene Chen
Partner & Head of China Practice
    Fluent in Chinese | Mandarin - conversational

Eugene specialises in capital raising, funds management, financial services licensing and anti-money laundering law.

More about Eugene
    Fluent in Mandarin

Sining is a commercial litigation lawyer who is experienced in dealing with English/Chinese bilingual negotiations and litigation cases. Sining leads commercial litigation matters for Hall & Wilcox’s China Practice.

More about Sining

Our team

Oliver Jankowsky
Partner & Head of International Practice
  • Fluent in German - Native speaker

Oliver is a corporate partner, whose practice focuses on mergers & acquisitions, corporate advisory, divestments, foreign investments and start-up capital raising.

More about Oliver
  • Fluent in Cantonese - Conversational | Mandarin - conversational

Joey has over ten years’ experience practising property law and Joey’s primary focus is commercial property with particular expertise in assisting local and foreign developers with development property acquisitions, due diligence, contract negotiations, ‘off the plan’ developments and foreign investments.

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