As China’s economic recovery is taking place more slowly than expected, international law firms operating in China and Hong Kong are reducing the number of lawyers. Some law firms assess that the current situation in China is more serious than during the 2008 global financial crisis.
According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency on the 27th, Linklaters, a law firm headquartered in London, England, recently fired 20 lawyers in China and Hong Kong. A Linklaters official explained, “This is an appropriate layoff in response to the long-term slump in the Chinese market.” In addition, famous international law firms such as White & Case and Kirkland & Ellis have also drastically reduced the number of lawyers in China and Hong Kong. The Korean Central News Agency analyzed, “We expected that the economy would soon recover as the Chinese authorities abolished the ‘Zero Corona Policy’ at the end of last year, but the reality was different. As many foreign investors left China, law firm work decreased.” Initial public offerings (IPOs), the main business of international law firms, are also on the decline. The amount raised through IPOs in the Hong Kong stock market this year decreased by 9% compared to the same period last year.
The Korean Central News Agency pointed out that the Chinese authorities’ focus on national security, such as restricting the activities of foreigners through the ‘Anti-Espionage Act’ or ‘Foreign Relations Act’ rather than economic growth, is also a factor that is reducing the activities of international law firms. In addition, the scope of information provision is continuously reduced, such as restricting foreigners’ access to economic statistics.
Meanwhile, Chinese business magazine First Finance reported on the 27th that consumers are hardly opening their wallets ahead of the National Day holiday (September 29 to October 6). In particular, sales of mid- to low-priced alcohol for gifts decreased compared to the same period last year when the ‘Zero Corona’ policy was maintained. A liquor seller in Tianjin said, “Usually, sales in the month leading up to the National Day holiday were 6 million yuan (approximately 1.1 billion won), but this year it is about half that.” Sales of clothing and sporting goods were also found to be sluggish.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.