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23 February 2021

Davis Polk expands in Beijing with equity capital markets partner hire from Freshfields

Wall Street firm cites growing demand for elite Hong Kong law advice as Jason Xu climbs on board

By Ben Edwards

Beijing ESB Professional; Shutterstock

Davis Polk has hired capital markets specialist Jason Xu in Beijing from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as it seeks to strengthen its deal-making capabilities in China.

Xu joins the firm as a corporate partner, having spent roughly 14 years at Freshfields where he worked in both its Hong Kong and London offices before his most recent posting to Beijing where he was deputy head of equity capital markets [ECM] in China.

Neil Barr, Davis Polk’s managing partner, said: “[Xu] will join our outstanding team of lawyers in China. Demand for elite Hong Kong law advice continues to grow, and Jason adds important bench strength that will further enable us to deliver the highest level of service to our clients in the region.” 

Xu’s practice focuses on all ECM matters, including Hong Kong-based IPOs, rights issues and follow-on offerings. He also advises on domestic and cross-border public and private M&A and related regulatory issues across a broad range of industries including tech, pharma, financials, industrials and real estate.

Howard Zhang, head of Davis Polk’s Beijing office, said: “Jason will be a tremendous addition to our team in Beijing. His impressive experience in Hong Kong corporate matters will be of great value to our clients.” 

Recent deals he has worked on include advising China International Capital Corporation on its $2.5bn acquisition of China Investment Securities and advising Zhongwang International on its $2.3bn acquisition of Aleris Corporation in the US.

Li He, co-head of Davis Polk’s Greater China practice, said: “Jason is a dynamic and exceptionally skilled lawyer, and one of the preeminent corporate practitioners in China. He will be an excellent complement to our market-leading team and will anchor the future of our Beijing presence.” 

Davis Polk was one of the first Wall Street law firms to open in Hong Kong – back in 1993 – and the office is its largest outside the US, boasting nine partners, 10 counsel and more than 70 associates. The smaller Beijing office launched in 2007.

Other international firms have also been stepping up their coverage in China. Earlier this month, Allen & Overy’s Shanghai joint venture with Lang Yue hired disputes specialist Melody Wang from Chinese firm Fangda to head up its Chinese litigation practice.

And last month Milbank unveiled a quartet of partner-level lateral hires in Hong Kong from Clifford Chance and Linklaters as it sought to build out its M&A, private equity and leveraged finance business.

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