King & Wood Mallesons has elected a new China chairman. Hong Kong partner Zhang Yi
King & Wood Mallesons has elected a new China chairman. Hong Kong partner Zhang Yi ()

King & Wood Mallesons has elected former Hong Kong office co-chief Zhang Yi as new China chairman.

Zhang succeeds the firm’s global chair, Wang Junfeng, who will continue his global leadership role and become an honorary chairman of the firm’s China partnership.

Zhang has co-led KWM’s Hong Kong office alongside corporate partner Hayden Flinn since January 2015. In his new role, he will also work alongside China managing partner Wang Ling.

The appointment of Zhang, who is in his early 40s, is notable as he is relatively young to have taken up such a senior leadership role at an elite Chinese law firm.

King & Wood Mallesons said in a statement that his appointment reflects the firm’s effort to continue to be innovative. “By selecting robust and outstanding young partners for the firm’s management, [King & Wood Mallesons will be able to] respond to market changes innovatively, and boost the steady, long-term and sustainable development of the firm,” it said.

Zhang joined legacy King & Wood in 1996, one year after graduating from the University of International Business and Economics School of Law—one of the country’s top law schools. He became a partner in 1999, and three years later was appointed managing partner of the firm’s Shanghai office. At the time, Zhang, who was in his early 30s, also became one of the youngest members of the firm’s management committee.

Since 2010, Zhang has split his time between Shanghai and Hong Kong and has become more involved in the firm’s global plans. He was a core member of the China team during negotiations that would eventually create the Sino-Australian union King & Wood Mallesons. In 2013, Zhang spearheaded the firm’s effort to combine with SJ Berwin. The legacy U.K. firm would later become King & Wood Mallesons’ European and Middle East arm and was ultimately put under administration following continuous departures and heavy debt.

As China chairman, Zhang will be responsible for the firm’s globalization strategy. The external-facing role complements Wang Ling’s internal-facing responsibilities as China managing partner, which include managing the firm’s China partnership.

The appointment follows King & Wood Mallesons China’s announcement that it is taking full control of the 33-partner Europe and the Middle East arm of the firm.

Zhang was elected at the firm’s annual partners meeting, held in Beijing earlier this month. More than 360 partners from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Europe, the Middle East and the United States, as well as managing partners from the Australia partnership, attended the two-day conference.

King & Wood Mallesons has elected former Hong Kong office co-chief Zhang Yi as new China chairman.

Zhang succeeds the firm’s global chair, Wang Junfeng, who will continue his global leadership role and become an honorary chairman of the firm’s China partnership.

Zhang has co-led KWM’s Hong Kong office alongside corporate partner Hayden Flinn since January 2015. In his new role, he will also work alongside China managing partner Wang Ling.

The appointment of Zhang, who is in his early 40s, is notable as he is relatively young to have taken up such a senior leadership role at an elite Chinese law firm.

King & Wood Mallesons said in a statement that his appointment reflects the firm’s effort to continue to be innovative. “By selecting robust and outstanding young partners for the firm’s management, [ King & Wood Mallesons will be able to] respond to market changes innovatively, and boost the steady, long-term and sustainable development of the firm,” it said.

Zhang joined legacy King & Wood in 1996, one year after graduating from the University of International Business and Economics School of Law—one of the country’s top law schools. He became a partner in 1999, and three years later was appointed managing partner of the firm’s Shanghai office. At the time, Zhang, who was in his early 30s, also became one of the youngest members of the firm’s management committee.

Since 2010, Zhang has split his time between Shanghai and Hong Kong and has become more involved in the firm’s global plans. He was a core member of the China team during negotiations that would eventually create the Sino-Australian union King & Wood Mallesons . In 2013, Zhang spearheaded the firm’s effort to combine with SJ Berwin . The legacy U.K. firm would later become King & Wood Mallesons ‘ European and Middle East arm and was ultimately put under administration following continuous departures and heavy debt.

As China chairman, Zhang will be responsible for the firm’s globalization strategy. The external-facing role complements Wang Ling’s internal-facing responsibilities as China managing partner, which include managing the firm’s China partnership.

The appointment follows King & Wood Mallesons China’s announcement that it is taking full control of the 33-partner Europe and the Middle East arm of the firm.

Zhang was elected at the firm’s annual partners meeting, held in Beijing earlier this month. More than 360 partners from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Europe, the Middle East and the United States, as well as managing partners from the Australia partnership, attended the two-day conference.