The Shanghai skyline

The Italian law firm Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappelli & Partners has launched an office in Shanghai—its second in Asia.

The 440-lawyer firm has been advising on China-related work since the 2011 launch of its China desk, which focuses on cross-border transactions between China and Italy. Gianni Origoni opened its first Asian office in Hong Kong in 2014, and a year later formed an alliance with Beijing-based Han Kun Law Offices.

Hong Kong office managing partner Stefano Beghi will head the new Shanghai office and also remain managing partner in Hong Kong. He will continue to spend most of his time in Hong Kong. Beghi specializes in mergers and acquisitions, corporate and commercial law, and real estate. Before moving to Hong Kong in 2014, he co-headed the firm’s India desk and led the China practice group. Beghi was also previously managing partner of the firm’s office in the northern Italian city of Padua.

The firm has recruited two corporate and M&A associates to be based in Shanghai: Vittorio Franzese and Sara Monti.

Franzese joined from Shanghai-based legal and tax consulting firm GWA Greatway Advisory, which he joined in 2017. Before that, he was a Beijing associate at Squire Patton Boggs, where he practiced corporate and intellectual property law.

Monti joined from the Beijing office of the Italian firm Pirola Pennuto Zei & Associati. Before moving to China with Pirola Pennuto in 2015, she practiced with the Milan-based IP boutique Vanzetti e Associati.

With the addition of Shanghai, Rome-based Gianni Origoni now has 11 offices globally, including five in Italy and one each in New York, London, Brussels, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi.

Gianni Origoni co-managing partner Antonio Auricchio said in a statement that the firm’s expansion in China aimed to capture work as more Chinese investors are buying Italian companies. “[We want] to support [our] clients and harvest the opportunities arising from the internationalization process being undertaken by many Chinese companies,” Auricchio said.

Chinese investors have been eyeing Italian fashion and luxury brands in recent years. In 2017, Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital agreed to acquire a 30 percent stake in Duemmei, the owner of the fashion brand Mr&Mrs Italy. In December 2017, Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd. had discussions to take a majority stake in luxury-lingerie maker La Perla before the talks failed over a disagreement over moving manufacturing to China.

Gianni Origoni joins other major Italian firms in Shanghai, including Milan-based Chiomenti and Nctm Studio Legale, and Rome-based Picozzi & Morigi. Nctm has been a partner in the international referral network of the Chinese firm Yingke since 2015.