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International law firm Ashurst and leading PRC law firm Guantao announce the launch of a Joint Operation Office (JOO) in China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, which came into effect on 18 January 2018. The JOO is one of only four approved by the PRC authorities to date.

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Managing partner of Ashurst, Paul Jenkins, said:
 
"This is an exciting development and demonstrates our full commitment to further growth in the Greater China region. The JOO offers one-stop service to both firms' clients that combines international expertise with full PRC law capability. Guantao's extensive PRC network will complement our global coverage in offering a seamless client service, strengthening our market position to capitalise domestic and international business opportunities."
 
Liguo Cui, Guantao's managing partner, commented:
 
"Ashurst has impressive global coverage and, having advised on some of the most high profile landmark transactions in the region, the firm has an exceptionally strong offering and reputation. It combines technical excellence and exceptional client service, which are also core aspects of our business. We are confident that the JOO will bring us continued success in the domestic and international legal markets."
 
Founded in February 1994, Guantao is a leading law firm in China which has been recognised by the Ministry of Justice of China as a Ministerial-level Elite Law Firm.  It has undergone rapid expansion following recent mergers with Zhongmao Law Firm and Shenda Partners. Ashurst and Guantao formed a strategic alliance in 2008 and have been co-operating closely since then. Guantao has over 150 partners, 600 qualified lawyers in 15 offices in China, as well as offices in Sydney, New York and Toronto. It is highly regarded by Chambers & Partners, Legal 500, IFLR1000, and Asian Legal Business in areas including capital markets, corporate and M&A, restructuring & insolvency, projects, infrastructure and energy, and international trade.
 
Established in 1822, Ashurst is a leading international law firm with world class capability and a prestigious global client base. With 25 offices in 15 countries, the firm's in-depth understanding of its clients and commitment to providing exceptional standards of service has seen it become a trusted adviser to local and global corporates, financial institutions and governments on all areas of commercial law. The firm has a reputation for successfully managing large and complex multi-jurisdictional transactions, disputes and projects and delivering outstanding outcomes for clients. The firm frequently acts on complex cross-border transactions such as Itochu and CP Group’s US$10.4 billion acquisition of 20% of CITIC Limited, which is the largest acquisition of China SOE by a foreign investor to date. Ashurst Shanghai is celebrating its 20th anniversary in China and the firm has seen robust growth in Asia in the last twelve months. Ashurst formed a Formal Law Alliance with Singapore law firm ADTLaw in May 2017. Its Greater China finance practice has recently been bolstered by hire of restructuring and insolvency partner Damien Whitehead, and banking and finance partners Eric Tan and Daniel Lau.

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