CALOBA’s 2017 Mid-Year Event – Chinese Companies in the U.S.: Navigating the Legal Systems (May 3, 2017)

“What are the first advises you would give to a Chinese company wanting to expand to the US?”; “Once in the US, what legal expertise Chinese companies mostly need in their operations?”; “With nationalism on the rise in the US, how do you advocate for your companies or your Chinese clients in the US?”; “What is the trend of Chinese companies expanding to the US? Hi-tech, consumer products, or others?” These were some of the questions discussed by the panelists at CLOBAL’s May 3rd event – “Chinese Companies in the US: Navigating the Legal Systems” held at the Palo Alto office of Alston Bird, LLP, a co-sponsor of the event along with KL Gates, LLP. The event had generated an enthusiastic crowd mixed with young practitioners, interested law students, and people from the business community in the Bay Area.

We have a dream team like panelists who are all prominent attorneys in representing Chinese companies in the US either as their trusted senior in-house legal counsels or as their outside counsels (see panelists list from the event announcer). Each of the panelists had shared his or her view and answered all questions from the moderator based on his or her own experiences and perspectives. A few panelists pointed out that tax and labor employment issues could be remained as two of the most challenging areas in the US legal system which most of the Chinese companies are facing in their operations in the US which need the careful guidance and attention from their US counsels.

Despite the rise of the nationalism sentiment under the current political environment in the US, the panelists all agreed that such sentiment so far has not caused any slow-down of the deal flow and investments from China into the US. Chinese companies are still eager to invest in the US in a variety of industries from hi-tech, consumer products, agriculture, infrastructures, real estate, energy, to health care and hospitalities. However, Chinese companies cannot ignore the shadow casted by the false spy allegations against Professor Xiaoxing Xi and Sherry Chen in recent years as some of the panelists subtly expressed as a sign of precaution. The distrust from many fabrics of the US society and the overall insecurity they have towards an economic powerful and growing China probably could be the ultimate big picture issue that Chinese companies need to be prepared to deal with and navigate through when they decided to expand to the US.