Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland companies help gain better knowledge of Chinese opportunities at event hosted by ALG

Mark Thompson, partner, ALG; Tiernan McKeown, solicitor, ALG; Chinese lawyers Chris Zhang and Teresa Yang; Sarah Dugdale, associate, ALG and Jonny Hacking, associate, ALG
Mark Thompson, partner, ALG; Tiernan McKeown, solicitor, ALG; Chinese lawyers Chris Zhang and Teresa Yang; Sarah Dugdale, associate, ALG and Jonny Hacking, associate, ALG

By Staff Reporter

Corporate law firm A&L Goodbody (ALG) recently hosted a seminar for Northern Irish firms doing business in China or considering entering the Chinese market for the first time.

Guests at the 'Understanding China's Economic Drivers and Practices' event heard from two lawyers from Shanghai and Shenzhen who are currently on the firm's Chinese Lawyer Programme.

The event followed a 'Doing Business in China' workshop, hosted by NI Chamber of Commerce and Industry in partnership with ALG as one of the Chamber's International Champions, together with Grant Thornton and Queen's University, Belfast.

ALG associate Sarah Dugdale said: "China is long-established as a prime market for Northern Irish exporters. In order to succeed in the Chinese market, firms are required to align themselves with the many cultural, economic and legislative nuances there.

"This event at our Belfast office was about helping local firms to understand the many considerations that come with doing business in China and the real-time factors that continue to influence the business environment there, such as its current investment plans and policies." In 2011, ALG established a Chinese Lawyer Programme in conjunction with a number of the top independent business law firms, corporates and universities in China.

To date, more than 70 Chinese lawyers have spent up to six months with the firm. ALG said they service clients and gain frontline exposure to ALG's domestic and international client base as well as Irish State agencies involved in inbound and outbound investment. The lawyers also have the opportunity to work in-house with these clients or government agencies.

ALG lawyers have similarly gained experience working on secondment in the offices of Chinese law firms for periods of up to four months.

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The programme is the first of its kind in Ireland and remains unique in the Irish market, according to the firm.

ALG partner Mark Thompson added: "Our Chinese lawyers provided invaluable practical advice on everything from market entry for early exporters through to growing market share in China and negotiating the complex investment and policy regime there.

"We have a deep understanding of China's legal and business environment, underpinned by our practical experience and knowledge of doing business in China.

"We support Chinese companies looking at business or investment opportunities in Ireland, north and south, as well as assisting local clients in relation to their business interests in China."

The Chinese Lawyer Programme gives A&L Goodbody "unique access" to the top law firms, universities and state-owned enterprises in China.

The firm act for a number of leading Chinese companies, including China Eastern Airlines, China Aircraft Leasing Company, ICBC and China Development Bank.

It also acted for University College Dublin on the establishment of a joint venture university with Beijing University of Technology.

  • Established by Alfred & Lewis Goodbody in 1901, the company currently has 800 employees led by 105 partners. The firm has offices in Dublin, London, New York, San Francisco and Palo Alto in addition to its Belfast building.

Belfast Telegraph

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