The Opportunities to Hong Kong Lawyers from Shanghai World Expo

China’s fast growing economy has attracted the attention of the whole world. According to the prediction of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, China's domestic sales and services market will surpass the United States for the first time in 2020 and will become the world's largest consumer country. Shanghai World Expo 2010 has brought new opportunities to China's economic development. For our Hong Kong lawyers, we must seize this exciting opportunity.

The legal service comes from Shanghai World Expo 2010

Shanghai World Expo 2010 (“Expo”) had its official opening on 1st May, 2010. The Shanghai Expo promised to be the biggest exhibition of global services and products. The organization of the World Expo involves many years of planning and it entailed finance, law, taxation, finance, market, engineering technology, business management, politics etc. All such organization, from the planning stage including site selection, construction and overall program of financing to the survey of project investors; from project construction and review of project financing contract to the review of legitimacy and compliance of each step in process of the project production and operation process, and the removal of the exhibition halls, all required legal professionals to provide high quality and efficient consulting services to ensure the smooth operation of the project.

The Legal Department affiliated to the World Expo Bureau has established three major legal talent databases, which include well-known law firms (lawyers) at home and abroad, well-known judges and arbitrators and legal experts, and these professionals are classified according to the fame of their areas, involving 10 areas of intellectual property rights protection, land removal and rebuilding, stadium construction, land reserve, removal, ticket management, franchising, financial revenue and exhibitions etc.

The World Expo has become a new way for Hong Kong lawyers to compete for the Yangtze River Delta

Hong Kong lawyers can seize on the opportunities provided for the World Expo. On the one hand, we can help our local people to finance the construction of the Expo and the related derivatives industries, and provide legal services to Hong Kong enterprises. On the other hand, we can also personally involve in every aspect of the Expo. Although Hong Kong and the Mainland belong to different legal systems, Hong Kong lawyers’ international experience in some legal areas can be the major advantages when participating in the legal service of the Expo. Currently, there are seldom lawyers skilled in foreign legal services among the 100,000 lawyers in China. Moreover, the development of domestic lawyers is only about 20 years, so their participation in international competition is limited. While Hong Kong lawyers are not only fluent in English, but also have more experience in international legal services, and master more international laws. So Hong Kong lawyers’ advantages are obvious. Therefore, we can use our own advantages, and participate actively in the legal services offered by EXPO.

Recommended mode: establishing association with Mainland law firm

World Expo brings us new thinking and opportunities. How can we share this big cake? Many Hong Kong law firms clearly know the great potential of the Mainland market, but they don’t know how to enter the Mainland legal services market. I am so happy that our law firm already set up our own representative office in Guangzhou in 2004 and had taken our first step to enter Mainland legal services market. Through continuous exploration, our law firm had a formal association with Guang Dong Right Word Law Firm in November 2009. Now our association law firm can provide one-stop legal services of two jurisdictions to our customers. In the joint venture mode, the two association law firms can share resources and complement each other, which helps both to share professional knowledge, including foreign investment, international trade, intellectual property rights and environmental protection etc and improve our service quality. Meanwhile, if Hong Kong customers know that we have associated law firms in Mainland, they will have more confidence of our Hong Kong law firm. So, I think that Hong Kong law firms can develop an associated firm with a Mainland law firm according to their own circumstances to lay a good foundation for entering the Mainland market, and to seize opportunities of the Mainland legal services market.

Junius K.Y. Ho
Vice-president and Chairman of
Mainland Legal Affairs Committee,
Law Society of Hong Kong
Partner of K.C. Ho & Fong