Tian Yuan Law Firm Hong Kong Office, which launched in 2016, continued to expand its Hong Kong capital markets practice through the past year even as the pandemic and Sino-U.S. tensions impacted capital flows.
With over 50 fee earners, Tian Yuan Hong Kong has cemented its reputation as the leading firm for IPO work in Hong Kong. The firm solidified its leading status this year through its work in filing around 20 IPO applications for its clients, says Nan Li, a partner of Tian Yuan Hong Kong.
“We are not only leading in the number of IPOs, but also leading in different industries,” says Li. “One is medical services. For three consecutive years, we worked on the largest deals of the year in this industry, such as Jinxin Fertility Group Ltd. in 2019, Hygeia Healthcare Holdings Co. Ltd. in 2020 and Chaoju Eye Care Holdings Ltd. in 2021.”
Another eye-catching area for the firm is entertainment.
“In the past few years, Tian Yuan Hong Kong served most independent gaming companies,” says Li. “In particular, the Archosaur Games IPO we completed in 2020 is the largest independent gaming company IPO in Hong Kong,” says Ning Liu, a partner of Tian Yuan Hong Kong.
“At the beginning of 2021, we provided services for the Hong Kong listing of Strawbear Entertainment Group, which is a pioneer listing in this industry and opened a wave of subsequent entertainment-related companies filing IPOs in Hong Kong.” Tian Yuan Hong Kong completed 9 mainboard Hong Kong IPOs in 2020 and stood out among PRC law firms with offices in Hong Kong in this regard.
International standards plus Chinese know-how
The firm’s rise is not surprising to those who are familiar with Tian Yuan Law Firm’s strong practice in China Mainland. The collaboration with the Mainland team is one of the strengths of Tian Yuan Hong Kong. “The support of our Mainland Chinese team is crucial, which give us Hong Kong lawyers comprehensive know-how,” Li says.
Also, the collaboration enables Tian Yuan Hong Kong to leverage the resources of a large and strong network of office in China Mainland.
“Given that our lawyers can work from our offices in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, we can serve clients better,” says Liu. As a result of this collaboration, Liu says, Tian Yuan can bring in both Mainland and Hong Kong counsels into one IPO, reassuring clients of the firm’s efficiency in terms of management cost and time
Li says Tian Yuan Hong Kong is prominent in its proactivity in serving the clients quite early on and tackling the problems. Talent is another key strength of Tian Yuan Hong Kong. Almost all of the associates and partners in the firm have experience in international law firms and understand the China market comprehensively, says Li.
This deep pool of knowledge is another benefit of Tian Yuan’s network throughout China Mainland, which enables lawyers from both the Mainland and Hong Kong to interact with and work closely together. “Our services are a combination of international standard and Chinese knowhow,” says Li.
New environment, new chances
The firm’s strategy is increasingly functional as new regulatory environments present Hong Kong as a preferable choice for international issues, says William Ji, a partner at Tian Yuan Hong Kong.
Companies with millions of users generating data might shift their focus to Hong Kong for fundraising as the enactment of the Cyber Security Law and Data Security Law in China has imposed strict requirements on cross-border data storage and processing, says Ji.
“Strict regulations have also impacted companies aiming to go public in the Shanghai STAR market. As the market tightened the attribute of sci-tech innovation, a fair number of companies pulled back their listing applications, and these companies might turn to Hong Kong,”observes Ji.
“Tian Yuan Law Firm has been serving its clients aiming to go public in China Mainland or the U.S. as their domestic counsel; if some of those clients want to switch to Hong Kong for listing, we may have firstmover advantage to be their Hong Kong counsel,” adds Ji.
And with more regulations promulgated and implemented in the offing work, Tian Yuan Hong Kong will try to seize more opportunities.
“We may approach potential clients who have been significantly affected by the regulatory changes and try our best to attract them to Hong Kong,” suggests Ji.
Continued growth in 2022
The goal for 2022, says Liu, is to “grow bigger and stronger”.
“Also, we want to approach more influential deals in the market”. As Tian Yuan Hong Kong continues growing, Li expects the firm to also grow stronger in specific areas and to seize a larger market share in 2022.
For Ji and Tian Yuan Hong Kong’s other partners, the year ahead will offer an opportunity to “differentiate the firm’s advantages” as with more Chinese firms look towards the Hong Kong capital market, and the business may become more homogeneous.