By Peter Frankl.
In 2018 PwC and EY expanded legal capability in Hong Kong.
At the end of last year there were reports that Deloitte Legal would be launching a 25-lawyer Hong Kong law practice early this year.
The most recent news is about KPMG which announced last week that it opened an affiliated law firm in Hong Kong.
KPMG has established a new law firm in Hong Kong known as SF Lawyers which will commence operations with four senior hires and two senior associates joining initially or over the next few months, and with plans for around 20 lawyers in the first year.
SF Lawyers will be operating in association with KPMG Law in Australia, which is led by Stuart Fuller, the former Global Managing Partner of King & Wood Mallesons. Fuller recently moved to KPMG where he occupies the role of Asia Pacific Regional Leader for Legal Services.
According to the South China Morning Post “KPMG had few options apart from establishing an independent law firm, owing to regulations in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland.”
Why is this activity occurring in Hong Kong now?
The Greater Bay Area
The Greater Bay Area is shaping up to be the most important new economic zone in the Asia region if not the world. It is an area comprised of around 70 million people.
Beijing has given the green light to a blueprint for a technology-driven economic powerhouse in southern China. The Greater Bay Area plan aims to link Hong Kong, Macau, and nine cities in the Guangdong Province — including the megacities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou — into a giant science and IT hub comparable to the combined size of San Francisco and Tokyo’s bay areas by 2035 – ABC News reported recently.
“A generation ago, young and agile Hong Kong entrepreneurs seized the moment when the Pearl River Delta opened for business. Now, an even bigger opportunity is unfolding that has the potential to lift up lives and prospects for future generations across the Greater Bay Area, argues Victor Fung
The Big 4 are clearly positioning themselves for these developments.