China

"Bae, Kim & Lee is a top-notch firm with strong expertise and broad experience in China-related foreign investment."

- Chambers & Partners Asia-Pacific (2020)

Overview

Since its establishment in 1997 as the Korea’s first legal advisory group specializing in China, BKL’s China Practice Group has been providing a one-stop legal service on a wide range of China-related legal matters. In 2004, BKL became the first Korean law firm to open an office in Beijing and a few years later, also opened offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong in 2008 and 2013, respectively, in order to better meet the needs of clients.

Pioneer in assisting Korean companies in their investments in China

The China Practice Group has delivered unparalleled results in advising Korean companies in many landmark China-bound investments involving partnership/joint venture projects, high-profile and complex M&A transactions, pre-IPO placements, negotiation with the Chinese government and fair trade. The transactions BKL has advised since 2018 amount to a deal value of more than USD 7 billion. BKL’s China Practice Group has advised on a significant proportion of the major outbound projects and transactions of Korean companies into China.  

Responding to diverse demands with proactive approach

BKL offers comprehensive legal services to Korean companies in diverse fields of Chinese law such as HR/labor, general corporate, M&A, fair trade, intellectual property, trade, liquidation/exit and dispute resolution. We pride ourselves on our ability to proactively advise clients on ever-changing legal landscape and to seamlessly coordinate with local law firms to provide efficient, cost-effective services. In addition, our ability to advise on sweeping changes in the legal landscape and complex legal issues has been relied upon by major Korean governmental agencies, including the Korean Embassy in China, Korea Chamber of Commerce in China, KOTRA, Korean International Trade Association and Korea Copyright Commission in support of important governmental decisions.   

Partner and defender of Chinese companies in entry into the Korean market

Drawing upon our capabilities and extensive experience of advising cross-border matters, we provide customized legal advice to Chinese companies on diverse Korean laws in connection with foreign investments such as acquisition of Korean companies, listings on the Korea Exchange, investments in real estate and establishment of Korean subsidiaries and joint ventures with Korean partners. We have also defended Chinese clients from wrongful allegations by Korean business partners and delivered successful results in civil, administrative and criminal lawsuits in Korea. In addition, we provide tailored government relations services to Chinese clients in response to the Korean government’s heightened monitoring of Chinese companies based on their expanded presence and increasing investments in Korea. 

Leading China desk in Korea

BKL’s China Practice Group has market-leading depth and expertise of China practice-devoted professionals among law firms in Korea. Chinese clients are also served by legal practitioners in our Beijing and Shanghai office, who bridge the physical distance between the professionals in our Seoul office and the clients. 

Our China Practice Group differentiates itself from other China desks in Korea with our first-hand experience in China-related legal matters. Many of Korean attorneys in our China Practice Group have practiced in China for over 10 years and gained understanding of the Chinese legal and business landscape. Conversely, our Chinese attorneys have previously worked for major Chinese law firms or Korean conglomerates in cross-border matters involving both China and Korea. We utilize such experiences in helping our clients navigate the legal and commercial complexities of cross-border transactions between Korea and China, and we believe our ability to understand the subtle legal and business nuances involving China matters is unmatched by other Korean law firms.

Key Services

[Outbound Services]

For companies investing in China or doing business with Chinese business partners

Investments in China
Investment structures (via Hong Kong and other regions), investment strategies, etc.
Partnerships, joint venture projects and exit strategy
Establishing corporate governance structure
Government-implemented investment incentives and negotiations with local governments
Regulations under Korean law on cross-border investments, including export restrictions on national core technology, and negotiations with the government
Responding to investment-related disadvantages based on international norms and relevant Chinese laws
Entry into the Chinese market via franchising
M&A
M&As, spinoffs, share transfers and business transfers
Strategies, due diligence investigations, negotiations and contract drafting in connection with M&As of Chinese target companies
Licenses/permits and other administrative and governmental matters
Due diligence investigations on Chinese subsidiaries of overseas M&A target companies and other legal risks associated with cross-border M&As
General corporate
Various foreign investments
Methods and forms of establishing a business (such as subsidiaries) in China
Regulatory and policy matters
Risks and investment opportunities associated with the latest laws and policies
Drafting and reviewing different types of business agreements
Reorganizations (such as mergers, corporate restructuring, relocations and liquidations) of Chinese subsidiaries
Labor / Employment
Employment contracts: proposing and negotiating types of employment, drafting and reviewing employment contracts, etc.
Establishing and enforcing HR policies such as employment policies and ethical codes
Labor issues arising from layoff and downsizing
Labor-management disputes
General labor law advice, research and training
Fair Trade / Compliance
Assessment of potential violation of antitrust laws and recommending improvements
Investigations by competition authorities of cartels, abuse of market dominant position, etc.
Merger filings in China and other countries and other acquisition support
Antitrust lawsuits seeking damages
Training on compliance with antitrust laws and recent cases
Consumer protection, unfair trade practices, etc.
Compliance with various regulations on environment, safety, production, firefighting, fair trade, privacy, prevention of industrial secret leakage, etc.
Dispute Resolution (litigation / international arbitration)
Disputes arising from M&As, partnership projects, investments in China, trades, etc.
Developing resolution strategies and prevention plans
Dispute resolutions including lawsuits and international arbitrations
Representing clients in lawsuits and international arbitrations
Intellectual Property Rights, Entertainment, Privacy, etc.
Investments in Chinese industries such as music, game and healthcare (pharmaceuticals and medical equipment)
Privacy, big data, cybersecurity, internet platform, cloud computing and mobility
Chinese intellectual property rights including trademarks, copyrights, etc.
Divestiture and Exit Strategies
Liquidations of local subsidiaries in China
Restructurings, downsizing and spinoffs of local subsidiaries in China
Capital reductions and dividends
Asset sales and business transfers
[Inbound Services]

For Chinese companies already having a presence in Korea or wishing to enter into Korean market and/or newly start business with Korean counterparts.

Investments in Manufacturing
Acquisitions of manufacturing or production companies
General corporate matters including legal issues of factory revitalization plan, factory relocation, and factory establishment
Business agreements such as OEM agreements and subcontractor agreements
Investments in Real Estate
Real estate regulations such as requirements for developers and contractors and assistance with obtaining licenses and permits
Investments in redevelopment areas and real estate complexes
Real estate agreements such as land purchase agreements and sublease agreements
Investments in Finance and Capital Market
Pre-IPOs, IPOs and secondary listings of Chinese companies
M&As involving finance, insurance and securities companies
Establishment of PEFs and virtual currency exchange platforms
General legal advice concerning asset management companies
Financial lease and commodity futures trading
Regulations of foreign banks and their branches
Investments in Culture and TMT Industry
M&As involving companies engaged in entertainment, on-line game, IT, etc.
Korean game laws and licenses and permits for online and mobile games
Film and animation production agreements
Data privacy, cybersecurity laws
Investments in Healthcare Industry
M&As involving cosmetic surgery clinics, pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, pre-clinical bio tech companies and medical foundations
Medical service contracts
Healthcare disputes
Investments in Aviation Industry
Acquisition of airlines
Daily operation of Korean branches of foreign airlines
Disputes over air transportation
Labor issues involving flight attendants and pilots
Dispute Resolution (local disputes/international litigations)
Disputes over M&As, other forms of investments in Korea, business operations, etc.
Dispute resolution strategies
Civil and criminal actions against infringement of intellectual property rights
Civil (labor), criminal and administrative lawsuits as well as international arbitration
Other Services
Licenses, permits, approvals and regulatory filings such as foreign investment filings and merger filings
Investigations by the Korea Trade Commission on anti-dumping and other trade matters
Investigations by supervisory authorities including the Korea Fair Trade Commission, the Science, ICT, Broadcasting and Communications Committee, the Labor Relations Commission, tax authorities, etc.
Immigration regulations and visa applications for various forms of investments
Applications and other assistance for registration of copyrights, trademarks and patents

Representative Cases

LG Display on its establishment of a USD 4 billion LCD JV and a USD 6.6 billion OLED JV in Guangzhou, China
Beijing-Hyundai JV on its automobile Plant 4 (USD 1 billion) and automobile Plant 5 (USD 1 billion) and Sichuan-Hyundai JV on its restructuring project (via acquisition of equity shares and capital increase)
Mirae Asset and SK on their investment in pre-IPO of a China-based electric-vehicle battery company
Outbound Investments to China
Mobile alternative energy company on its new investment in China
SK Energy on its establishment of a JV with Zhejiang Baoying Group for asphalt business
POSCO on its establishment of a JV
Smilegate on its establishment of a JV with Tencent
LG Display on its establishment of a USD 4 billion LCD JV and a USD 6.6 billion OLED JV in Guangzhou, China
LG Electronics and LG Chem on their establishment of JVs for electric-vehicle batteries in Nanjing, China
Beijing-Hyundai JV on its automobile Plant 4 (USD 1 billion) and automobile Plant 5 (USD 1 billion) and Sichuan-Hyundai JV on its restructuring project (via acquisition of equity shares and capital increase)
M&A
Mirae Asset and SK on their investment in pre-IPO of a China-based electric-vehicle battery company
LG Electronics, LG Chem and LG International on their sale of Beijing LG Twin Tower
POSCO on its sale of POSCO-CDPPC and restructuring of its local subsidiaries in Baotou, Dalian, Qingdao, etc. and concurrent merger of 14 companies
Cheil Worldwide on its acquisition of a China-based big data advertising company
SK China on its acquisition of a China-based medical database company
SK on its investment in the pre-IPO of and JV with a China-based agricultural and marine product distribution company
Kolon on its transfer of assets of Kolon Fashion and partnership project in Hong Kong
Fair Trade
Korean semiconductor company on the alleged abuse of a dominant market position in China
LG Household & Health Care, SK Hynix, etc. on compliance requirements of its Chinese subsidiary
Hanjin Shipping on the alleged horizontal cartel in China
Hyundai Motor on the alleged vertical cartel in China
Merger filing in global mergers and M&As of Chinese companies
Dispute Resolution
Hyosung on its dispute and HKIAC arbitration with other shareholders of its Chinese JV
Hyundai Home Shopping Network on its dispute and SIAC arbitration with other shareholders of its Chinese JV; liquidation of its JV and enforcement of an arbitral award in China
Hyundai Heavy Industries on the lawsuit brought before the Higher People’s Court of China against its JV and arbitration administered by the SIAC at the same time
LG Electronics on the dispute relating to its Shenyang JV
Pulmuone on the violation of a JV agreement by its Chinese partners in the first and second arbitrations
General Corporate, Labor/Employment, Intellectual Property Right, etc.
Various Korean companies on Chinese laws (general corporate, HR/labor, etc.)
Korea Labor and Management Development Foundation on HR/labor matters and published a Q&A brochure on post-COVID-19 HR/labor matters
Serves as an external legal advisor for major governmental institutions including the Korean Embassy in China, Korea Chamber of Commerce in China and KOTRA, and published “Easy-to-Understand Chinese Competition Law”, “Occupational Safety Act”, etc.
Serves as an external legal advisor for the Korea Institute of Design Promotion
Hyundai Mobis and LG Display on trademarks and copyrights
[Inbound Cases]
Investments in Manufacture
Wuxi Industry Development Group on its acquisition of the hydraulic equipment business unit of Doosan Mottrol
Tongwei Group on its attempted acquisition of LG’s solar power business unit
Sungrow Power on its investment in a Korea’s solar power generation business
Shanying International on its acquisition of a Korean paper manufacturer
Zhejiang Semir on its exit from a Korean investment company
Shanghai Zhenhua on its acquisition of control over a Korean listed company
Han's Laser on its asset transfer project following split-off
Double Star on its acquisition of Kumho Tire
Dosilicon on its acquisition of Fidelix
Investments in Real Estate
R&F Group on its purchase of land and all subcontracts regarding an integrated resort
HERO SKY on its acquisition of new shares in Sambu Construction
Wanda Group on its investment in a re-development project
Beijing Bright Minds on its investment in an integrated resort development project
Sanmu Group on its acquisition of shares in Korean Heung Yu Development
Investments in Finance and Capital Market
KRX-listed foreign company on its amendment of the articles of incorporation in response to the introduction of the electronic securities system by CKH Food & Health Limited
Anbang Insurance Group on the requirements as a major shareholder of a Korean life insurance company
Union Pay on its investment in Korea
Zhongrong International Trust on its issuance of bonds worth USD 100 million
Fubon Life Insurance on its acquisition of Hyundai Life Insurance
Yuanta Group on its acquisition of Tong Yang Securities
Investments in Culture and TMT Industry
ByteDance on its acquisition of a Korean IT company
Huayi Brothers Media on its sale of shares in its subsidiary listed on the KRX
Cheetah Mobile on its investment in a Korean game company
Galaxy Valley on its acquisition of a Korean company
Alibaba Culture Media on the IP due diligence project for the acquisition of ZellyGo copyright
VIPKID on its launch of an online English learning program for kids in Korea
Meituan Dianping on the operation of an online e-commerce platform in Korea
China Sports Capital on its investment in an E-sports business in Korea
Focus Media on its acquisition of the elevator digital signage business unit of LG U+
Ctrip on its acquisition of a Korean travel agency
Spearhead on its acquisition of a Korean entertainment company and on IP disputes
JD Capital on its attempted acquisition of a Korean life insurance company
1 Verge on its investment in the Korean culture industry
Tencent on its acquisition of shares in Kakao and Party Games
Investments in Healthcare
Modern Health on healthcare, tax, etc. for its entry into the Korean market
YINTAI Group on its acquisition of a Korean cosmetic surgery clinic
DIH on its acquisition of Cretem, a Korean medical device manufacturer
Shandong Luye Pharma on its entry into the Korean obstetrics & gynecology business
Aesthetic Technology on its acquisition of new and old shares in a KRX-listed company
Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical on its acquisition of a Korean medical device manufacturer
Investments in Aviation Industry
Eastern Airlines on the case involving bribery and breach of fiduciary duty
Air China on the review of terms of service and other general matters
Spring Airlines on its strategic investment in T’Way Air
China Air, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines on the alleged violation of the E-Commerce Act and imposition of certain measures by the Korea Fair Trade Commission
Disputes/Litigations
Zhejiang Century Huatong Group regarding alleged copyright infringement by its Korean subsidiary
China Eastern Airlines regarding invalidation of employment contracts of its Korean branch
Greenland Group regarding invalidation of a permit to establish an international hospital and foreign medical institution in Korea
Anbang Insurance Group on the administrative lawsuit against the Financial Supervisory Service
Shanghai Tobacco Group in civil and criminal lawsuits regarding the sale of counterfeit Chinese cigarettes in Korea
Others
S&C Engine Group on matters concerning maintenance and closure of a listed company and investigations by the Korea Exchange and the Financial Supervisory Service
Chinese company on an investigation of alleged dumping of Chinese paper products (uncoated, coated and glassine paper)
Chinese company on an investigation of alleged dumping of Chinese ceramic tiles
Chinese company on an investigation of alleged dumping of Chinese sheet glass
Chinese companies such as People.cn, R&F Group, Double Star and ByteDance on their establishment of Korean subsidiaries