I mean this title does sound pretty obvious doesn’t it?
But this was definitely not always the case. Way back in early 2006, I can remember tentatively writing a post with the same title as this one — China is Booming: Go There for Growth and getting emails and calls from people saying that China would never be more than a low cost manufacturing center and from reporters all but demanding what information I had to support my bold claim.
And I can remember not having much hard information at all. For at that time, pretty much all of the work my firm’s China lawyers were doing was for companies doing business with China for its low costs. Few believed anyone other than a Coca Cola or a McDonalds could profit from China and it was believed that profits for even the largest companies would take years if not decades to realize.
Fast forward to today where our legal work is roughly evenly divided into the following thirds:
1. Helping foreign companies with the legal issues that stem from China manufacturing. And even the legal side of that has changed dramatically. See China Manufacturing: Cha-Cha-Changing….
2. Helping foreign companies profit from doing business in China. That still involves a lot of WFOE formations and Joint Venture, but starting only a few years ago, it now involves at least as many licensing and distribution and e-commerce deals.
3. Helping foreign and Chinese companies navigate deals in foreign countries.
And in all three areas, our work increasingly involves the highest of high tech: biotechnology, autonomous driving, fintech, artificial intelligence, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, battery tech, and the Internet of Things, none of which were on most people’s radar back in 2006. Heck, back then, viewing China as anything more than a cheap place to make socks or rubber duckies was truly not all that common.
Things change and things have changed. What are you seeing out there?