Foreign Law Firms Set up 103 Offices in China

The Chinese Ministry of Justice on Thursday granted approval for 11 foreign law firms to establish branch agencies in China, bringing the total number of foreign law offices in China to 103.

Another 28 branches of Hong Kong law firms have been opened in China's mainland over the years, according to the ministry.

China first opened its legal service market to overseas legal professionals in July 1992. Most of their branches are centered in Beijing, Shanghai and other coastal cities.

Also this year, the Law Offices of Perliss and Gross from the US state of California will open an office in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province in southwest China.

"I see the opportunities in inland areas of China will be enormous, and I am glad we are the first to be there," said Sanford H. Perliss, an attorney with the law firm.

Of the 11 law firms newly given permission to set up shops in China, five are from the United States, while others come from the Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates.

Zhang Fusen, minister of justice, said at the certificate issuing ceremony that he expects foreign law firms in China will serve as "bridges" and "windows" for China in attracting foreign investment, especially in the country's vast western areas.

He also encouraged more cooperation between Chinese and foreign legal professionals.

People's Daily Online ---