Dutch firm Houthoff expands international footprint with China-based representative

Former China project manager and new Greater China rep Yang Wan will be based in Shanghai

Dutch firm Houthoff has named Yang Wan as its Greater China representative to further develop its cross-border work with businesses in the region.

Wan has been with Houthoff in Amsterdam since 2014, most recently as its China project manager, based in Amsterdam. 

In her new business development role, Wan will be based out of Shanghai, covering mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. 

Houthoff launched its China practice in 1994 and established a dedicated China team in 2004, primarily helping Chinese companies to do business in the Netherlands, as well as advising on cross-border M&A deals. Wan will be the firm’s first China-based representative, adding to its existing network of representatives in Tokyo, Singapore and Houston.

 Michiel Pannekoek, head of international at Houthoff, said: “Having someone permanently present in a region with such obvious economic power provides us with the opportunity to work even more closely with current and future clients. The advantage of our representatives has proven to be of great value for our clients, even during the pandemic.”

Pannekoek added that Wan’s in-depth knowledge of Greater China and the Dutch market made her the ideal representative for the region.

Alongside its overseas representatives, Houthoff has international offices in Brussels, London and New York. The Amsterdam-based firm also has a domestic office in Rotterdam.

Last July, corporate and M&A head Alexander Kaarls took over from Helena Sprenger as New York head on her retirement. Sprenger had founded the office in 2012 after a long career at Allen & Overy.

Other Western firms, meanwhile, have also been increasing their footprints on the ground in the Greater China region. In February, Wall Street firm Davis Polk hired capital markets lawyer Jason Xu in Beijing from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to strengthen its deal-making capabilities in China. Meanwhile, magic circle firm Allen & Overy’s Shanghai joint venture with Lang Yue hired disputes specialist Melody Wang from Chinese firm Fangda to lead its Chinese litigation practice.

Some Western firms have also been expanding in Hong Kong despite the recent furore around Beijing imposing a new national security law on the special administrative region. In March, Linklaters added two partners to its Hong Kong-based corporate and banking teams – former Kirkland & Ellis M&A lawyer Xiaoxi Lin and former White & Case leveraged finance specialist Alessandro Nolet. That followed Milbank’s raid on Clifford Chance and Linklaters in January for a quartet of Hong Kong-based M&A and private equity partners.

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