GAR 100 - 15th Edition

Fangda Partners

Fangda Partners

Professional notice

One of the most trusted names in the Chinese arbitration market

People in Who’s Who Legal1
People in Future Leaders2
Pending cases as counsel37
Value of pending counsel workUS$1.44 billion
Treaty cases as counsel0
Third-party funded cases0
Current arbitrator appointments9 (3 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator3

Founded in 1993, Fangda Partners was one of the first law firms established under mainland China’s contemporary legal system.

The firm has been advising foreign investors in China on disputes since the early days, but the international arbitration practice came to the fore after the opening of the Beijing office in 2004 and the addition of US-trained practitioners with deeper international experience. The combination of common law (Hong Kong and English) and PRC law arbitration and litigation capability is still a relatively rare offering in the Greater China market.

In addition to handling CIETAC work, Fangda Partners frequently teams up with leading foreign firms for ad hoc and institutional arbitrations under the major rules, and provides expertise on Chinese law in overseas proceedings. It is one of the few Chinese firms to have independently and successfully represented Chinese and foreign clients in international arbitrations in both Hong Kong and Singapore.

Prominent members of the practice are Daniel Huang, who has handled dozens of foreign investment cases, and Ming Kang, whose career as an arbitrator has seen him adjudicate more than 1,000 foreign related Chinese arbitration and international commercial arbitration cases.

Other names to know are US-trained lawyer Helen Shi and Olga Boltenko, who joined in Hong Kong in 2018 with investment disputes experience.

Network

The firm has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and, most recently, Guangzhou. Since 2012, it has offered litigation and international arbitration capabilities in Hong Kong through an association with Peter Yuen & Associates – headed by a former Freshfields partner and including bilingual lawyers qualified in Hong Kong, English and Singaporean law.

In 2018, Fangda merged with Peter Yuen & Associates to develop the same unified international arbitration brand across Greater China and the international market.

Who uses it?

Clients include China National Offshore Oil Company, Citibank, Deloitte, GE, HSBC, IDG Group, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Texas Pacific Group.

The firm was instructed by US energy company ConocoPhillips to settle a US$230 million environmental claim brought by the Chinese government arising from an oil spill in the Yellow Sea – by far the largest such claim in China to date.

Track record

Fangda helped a European real estate investment fund win a US$31 million award in 2015 after a six-year dispute over a transfer of property. The same year, the firm helped a client win 90 per cent of its claim in a leasing dispute at the Shanghai International Arbitration Centre, and achieved a favourable settlement in a dispute over a US$300 million real estate development in Beijing that did not get the approval of Chinese security services.

In 2013, the firm acted for a large Chinese state-owned construction company in a London-seated case against the road authority of an African state. The parties settled their dispute, which was worth over US$100 million. It also says it gained a landslide win, plus costs, for a Spanish client in a Hong Kong-seated UNCITRAL arbitration with two Chinese entities.

Looking further back, the firm famously advised leading Chinese beverage company Wahaha in a CIETAC arbitration with French dairy company Danone. It also acted for a Chinese business celebrity in a US$100 million Hong Kong-seated ICC arbitration against an international mobile service network – achieving a settlement in favour of the client.

Recent events

China retained the firm as one of its 15-member panel tasked with advising the state on investment treaty matters; the firm had already been included on a previous version of the panel unveiled in 2018.

The firm is advising China Development Bank in a US$73 million claim against a Russian borrower before CIETAC; it is also pursuing court proceedings against the counterparty’s Chinese related entities, which served as counter-guarantors.

Fangda hired a new partner, William Yang Weiguo, in Beijing. It also promoted a half-dozen partners: Gao Na and Diane Peng in Beijing; Chen Guanbing, Chen Hanjie and Patrick Xiao in Shanghai; and Howard Chan in Hong Kong. It expanded its counsel team by promoting Victoria Heng and Will Li in Beijing and Luo Qian and John Tao in Shanghai.

Client comment

Mandar Jayawant of Mongolia Fund, who used Fangda in an arbitration relating to a dispute in Mongolia, says the firm provided “excellent honest advice as to costs”. He commends Matthew Townsend for his efforts in defending his company’s interests.

Offices:

Website: www.fangdalaw.com

Founded in 1993, Fangda Partners is a full-service law firm advising on PRC and Hong Kong laws.

Our Dispute Resolution group comprises nearly 50 partners and more than 220 counsels and associates in our offices in Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Our team is one of the largest and the most diverse dispute resolution practices in the Greater China legal market. Our team members operate in Chinese (simplified and traditional), English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, and other languages. They are admitted – in addition to China and Hong Kong – in a number of other jurisdictions, including England and Wales, New York, and Russia.

We represent clients in trials at courts in Mainland China and Hong Kong, before administrative tribunals and in arbitrations, as well as in other dispute resolution proceedings, including mediation and conciliation. Where necessary,

our team members co-counsel with international teams on cross-jurisdictional matters, including treaty arbitrations, recovery matters, and international arbitration proceedings.

Our clients include major Chinese companies, both state-owned and privately-owned, as well as large multinationals often from the US but also from the EU and other global markets. Our clients trust our teams with their critical trials and

arbitrations, investigations, regulatory proceedings, and investment protection matters.

Our dispute resolution lawyers work in integrated teams with our transactional lawyers in specialist groups, drawing on Fangda’s longstanding expertise in corporate, finance, trade, and investment law. We have in-depth knowledge of

numerous industries, including banking, energy, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, media, pharmaceutical, real estate, retail, technology, mining and natural resources, and telecommunications.

For more details, including biographies, please visit our website: www.fangdalaw.com.

We have handled some of the largest and most high-profile cases in recent years, earning a reputation as a go-to firm to assist clients to resolve their disputes. Our strengths have been widely recognized, including recently:

  • Dispute Resolution (PRC Firms) - Band 1
    Chambers Greater China (2022)
  • Dispute Resolution: Arbitration (PRC Firms) - Tier 1
    The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2022)
  • Dispute Resolution: Litigation (PRC Firms) - Tier 1
    The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2022)
  • Dispute Resolution - Outstanding
    Asialaw Profiles (2022)
  • Intellectual Property: Litigation (PRC Firms) - Band 1
    Chambers Greater China (2022)
  • Restructuring/Insolvency (PRC Firms) – Band 1
    Chambers Greater China (2022)
  • Corporate Investigations/Anti-Corruption (PRC Firms) - Band 1
    Chambers Greater China (2022)

Get unlimited access to all Global Arbitration Review content