Chinese foreign direct investment is expected to double between now and 2020. And the United States is the number one recipient of that foreign investment. Within these figures lies tremendous opportunity for US lawyers to build a client base around this growing Chinese investment into the United States. “Chinese investment in the US last year doubled to a record US$14 billion, up from less than US$1 billion in 2008.

Already this year, US$6 billion in deals have been signed, including Lenovo Group’s US$2.9 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility’s smartphone business, according to consultancy Rhodium Group. 

Most of last year’s 82 transactions involved private Chinese companies…In 2013, Chinese companies started operations in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

More than 70,000 Americans now work for Chinese employers, eight times the 2007 number. In Lafayette, Indiana, [Chinese company] Nanshan – based in Longkou, Shandong province – created 105 jobs at its aluminium extrusions plant with a total of 200 expected by the end of next year.”

These statistics and observations appeared today in the South China Morning Post[SCMP] and were shared by Richard Smith, Australia-based legal business developer, on the LinkedIn group Asia Law Portal.

And as the SCMP further highlighted: “More Chinese companies are expected to go overseas following the planned elimination of mandatory central government approvals. By 2020…Chinese direct investment abroad [is expected] to [grow from] US$1 trillion to US$2 trillion, up from about US$500 billion. Already, China is the third-largest overseas investor, trailing the US and Japan, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD].”

The opportunity for lawyers

The opportunity for lawyers is a clear one. With Chinese foreign direct investment poised to double in the next 6 years, and in that the prime focus of this investment is the United States – entrepreneurial US lawyers would be very wise to focus on securing work around this investment. Some already have – and with very significant success. 

A case in point among others is the lawyers at Harris & Moure pllc in Seattle, who actively blog at China Law Blog. And there are more. But any US business-oriented law firm can begin a successful effort to win new business around China’s investment into the US. Whether you’re an individual practitioner, small or mid-size law firm — or an AmLaw 200 firm. Any practitioner, practice group or firm of any size – can choose to become a gateway to the American market. Or if more ambitious, medium-sized and larger law firms can establish an overseas business development representative office in China. These are among a number of options, which if adopted and implemented effectively, will with certainty lead to a new legal client base around Chinese investment into the US.

Interested in improving your law firm’s business development efforts?  Contact John Grimley, Editor & Publisher of Asia Law Portal, for a discussion:

Posted by John Grimley

John Grimley edits and publishes Asia Law Portal and is the author of A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets. He specializes in providing writing, editing, research and strategy services to the corporate and professional services sectors. Between 2002 and 2008, he established and directed the European representative business development office of US AmLaw 100 law and public policy firm Patton Boggs LLP. At the inception of his career, he served as a writer to the President of the United States in the White House. A licensed American lawyer, he holds a Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law.

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