Ince strikes cooperation deal with national Chinese firm as regional revenue jumps

Listed law firm teams up with W&H Law Firm; half-year results show Greater China revenue up by 15%

Beijing ESB Professional; Shutterstock

Listed UK law firm Ince has entered into what it is dubbing a ‘strategic cooperation’ agreement with 2,000-lawyer strong Chinese practice W&H Law Firm.

In a move described by Ince Group chief executive Adrian Biles as a “significant chapter in the growth of the business” the two firms say they have formalised an ongoing relationship that has seen them ‘work together on numerous occasions’.

Founded in 1995, W&H lays claim to be a top 10 Chinese law firm by size with 30 offices, four of them overseas: in Tokyo, Sydney, Silicon Valley and Hanoi.

The arrangement promises to provide W&H’s Chinese clients doing business abroad with more formalised access to Ince’s international lawyers. Meanwhile, the London-based firm can leverage its new Chinese ally’s domestic network, which includes offices in the key cities of Beijing and Shanghai, where Ince also has bases, alongside its Hong Kong branch.

The two sides say they already have a track record working together on cross-border deals and disputes as well as cases concerning projects in Greater China.

Paul Ho, Ince head of Greater China, said: “During the past few years in China, I have been assessing local legal firms to identify the right fit for Ince to enter into a strategic cooperation with.”

Zhang Xiaowei, founder and chairman of W&H, said he was excited the two firms were building on their “already excellent working relationships”. 

Last week, Ince unveiled its first half 2021 results to 30 September with year-on-year revenue up 6% in what investor relations advisers Capital Access described as a ‘robust’ performance bringing the firm ‘achingly close to its pre-crisis £100m revenue target’.

Greater China revenue for the first half was up 15% to £10.8m with international offices now accounting for 43% of the firm’s revenue, according to the Capital Access report, which was published yesterday (8 December). It argued the group's shares looked 'materially undervalued' given that management’s mid-term goal of a 10% PBT margin looked 'eminently achievable'.

In September, Ince opened its sixth European office, in Limassol, at the same time that it unveiled details of a Covid-19 cost-cutting programme that saw 50 lawyers and support staff laid off.

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