In February, Davis Polk & Wardwell added partner Jason Xu to its Beijing office. A rising star who joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Xu has advised recent Hong Kong listings such as China Resources Mixc’s and Sino-Ocean Service Holding’s initial public offerings. But the significance of his arrival goes beyond his expertise and track record. He’s the first lateral corporate partner to join Davis Polk’s China offices in a decade.

A shift is taking place in the market. The Hong Kong IPO space, where global firms have spent the past few years scaling back, is expanding again. But is this the right time?