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Lawyers and accountants from across APAC Region gather in Shanghai to discuss growth and collaboration

Lawyers and accountants from 11 countries were represented at Alliott Group’s APAC Regional Conference in Shanghai from 17-18 June 2019.

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The annual APAC Regional Conference for Alliott Group, an international alliance of 160 independent law and accounting firms in 65 countries, took place this year from 17-18 June at the Mandarin Oriental in Shanghai. The event provided a meeting point for members from 11 countries within the region, but also for members from other world regions who have an interest in expanding their interactions with members in APAC jurisdictions.

With Alliott Group pursuing an aggressive global growth strategy, and with 11 firms already joining in 2019, the conference brought together the alliance’s regional leadership team to discuss further growth plans specific to the ASEAN, China and East Asia, Indian Subcontinent and Australian legal markets. During the conference, several new and prospective law firm members from India and China were introduced to the group.

Over two days, interactive conference sessions focused on developing greater understanding and collaboration between Alliott Group member firms. Delegates had the opportunity to present the unique skills and capabilities offered by their firms in their jurisdictions, with workshops focusing on how to extend the alliance’s infrastructure and resources to bridge communications across the large and diverse APAC region.

Outside experts from local organizations including NetExpat, Intralink, Elson and AIMS International shared insights into how to target, enter, expand into and win in China’s challenging but lucrative market for goods and services. The topics covered include the pros and cons of different routes to market and distribution strategies, how to protect intellectual property, and how to ensure you get paid and can repatriate profits.

The key opportunities for foreign companies were also highlighted, including the licensing of technology into sectors such as aviation, new energy vehicles, high tech shipping and advanced medical products. Money can be made, delegates were told, “But China is challenging, you will need to persist and the playing field can in some situations still be tilted towards local manufacturers.”

It was also explained that labour costs are rising in China and that restrictions on hiring expatriates remain. And while China’s legal framework is to international standards, delegates were told that managing and protecting their IP should be at the forefront of any foreign business’ concerns.

Local cultural awareness consultant Klaus Schmitt commented that establishing good relations takes time in China and can at times be exhausting. Much communication in China, added Schmitt, takes place at different levels and behind the scenes: “The Chinese might say ‘Next time’ which may actually mean ‘No’.” Other tips included the need to listen carefully and not jump to conclusions too quickly, to develop trust, avoid conflict rather than being hasty, and that successful negotiations require a meeting of equals.

“This was another successful Conference. Our members are engaged in what the alliance can do for our firms and our clients and we share the leadership’s vision of appointing strong, professional firms across all of the APAC region’s key commercial centres. I encourage independent firms that want to win and service international clients with greater confidence and effectiveness to approach me about how to join our international network.” commented Alliott NZ Director Vanessa Williams and Alliott Group APAC Chair based in New Zealand.