Former Herbert Smith ally Stibbe is launching in Hong Kong, six months after it ended its alliance agreement with the U.K. firm and Germany's Gleiss Lutz.
The Benelux firm's new Hong Kong base will advise on corporate, finance and tax law, and will support Chinese clients with European investments as well as Benelux clients with operations in Asia. It is expected to open at the beginning of September.
Former Stibbe Brussels senior associate Jan Bogaert will run the new office as a local partner alongside Hong Kong-based Dutch lawyer Alexander de Neree tot Babberich, who joins from his own Hong Kong practice De Neree Advocates, which he lanched in 2005.
The firm's announcement is part of an initiative to expand its global presence, which currently comprises head offices in Amsterdam, Brussels and Luxembourg and branches in London, New York and Dubai.
Stibbe Brussels managing partner Jan Peeters commented: "It is part of our international strategy, in view of the increasing importance of the Asian market and Chinese investors who can use Luxembourg and the Netherlands as ports of entry. With the new Hong Kong office, we can establish a local presence and operate in the same timezone as our clients, which is of great importance to us.
"Chinese investments in Europe are often structured through Hong Kong, and subsequently through the Benelux. Stibbe can manage those transactions like no other because of its full-service capacity in this European central region."
Stibbe Amsterdam managing partner Heleen Kersten added: "Our lawyers at the China practice have gained a lot of experience in advising Chinese and Asian clients. In past years we have noticed an increase in business from that region. This is a logical next step for Stibbe."
Last December, Stibbe and its alliance partners Herbert Smith and Gleiss Lutz formally confirmed their alliance termination. Herbert Smith withdrew from the partnership after a failed merger bid with the two firms last November.