What will 2015 look like for some of Asia’s largest economies and their legal industries? Law firms from around the region offer some answers. In this article in the latest Forum magazine, we look at what 2015 holds in terms of legal and regulatory developments in some of Asia’s largest economies, as well as how the legal industry is expected to develop. For this, we reached out to prominent law firms in China, Hong King, Singapore, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia and Korea.
The year 2014 saw the Chinese government focus on the promotion of the rule of law, and Wang Ling, managing partner of King & Wood Mallesons, says that she anticipates that “at a very high level, this will influence the development of the rule of law in China.” Additionally, her firm expects to see an increase in compliance-related issues, including anti-corruption, employment and intellectual property (IP). “The internationalisation of the RMB and the pilot programmes of the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone as well as those of the Tianjin, Guangdong and Fujian FTZs are throwing up fresh challenges for the legal services market in China,” she says.
Even as Hong Kong reeled under the impact of the Occupy Central movement in 2014, there was much reason to cheer, particularly in the capital markets space. “Corporate financing was active in 2014, with keen demands for cross-border loans and acquisition financing. The surge of the fund-raising markets continued, with 115 IPOs making Hong Kong Stock Exchange the second-largest fund-raising centre globally,” says Stephen Hung, a partner with Li & Partners. “This in turn will bring more work to the banking and corporate departments of law firms.”
The euphoria from the election of Narendra Modi is expected to continue into 2015, with “far greater confidence for the economy, expressed at the stock exchanges,” says Shardul Shroff, managing partner of Amarchand & Mangaldas. “The new government has demonstrated a decisive reforms-oriented vision, and we expect… the ‘third-generation reforms’ will continue in 2015. The reworking of the Land Acquisition Act… will be seen in 2015 and this will encourage greater investment into India.”
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