Linklaters announced last week that its unusual application for a joint operation office in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone had finally received approval from the local authorities, making it the first magic circle firm that can include Chinese law capability in a one-stop-shop offering.

“Linklaters’ successful joint operations application sends a very positive message to the market,” says Shawn Chen, who leads the China business for London-based SSQ, a legal search firm that helps global firms broker China alliances. “This will give confidence to firms that are preparing an application and those considering applying.”