Osborne Clarke (OC) has secured a launch in mainland China via a tie-up with Shanghai firm Zhang Yu & Partners.
Zhang Yu has been launched by Guohua Zhang and Steve Yu, who will be partners at the new firm. They are being supported by six lawyers specialising in IT, data and employment law.
Zhang was most recently a consultant on secondment with Koh Vass & Co, OC’s partner firm in Hong Kong. He was also previously a partner at Bird & Bird.
Yu, meanwhile, joins from US law firm Armstrong Teasdale, where he was Shanghai managing partner.
The new firm will initially focus on the digital business and consumer sectors, as well as advising OC’s existing clients on mainland China issues. The firm plans to recruit further partners, lawyers and business support staff over the course of the year.
OC has targeted Asia for expansion in recent years, securing an association with OC Queen Street in Singapore last year, an association with Koh Vass in Hong Kong in 2015 and a relationship with Indian firm BTG Legal in 2014.
OC international CEO Simon Beswick said: “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.”
The news comes after it emerged that a team of almost 20 Linklaters lawyers are breaking off to set up a new firm in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. Three partners and 16 lawyers are leaving the magic circle firm’s China offices to set up the new independent firm, which will operate alongside Linklaters on a ‘best friends’ basis.