International firm Herbert Smith Freehills has partnered with a Shanghai-based firm, in a display of ‘long-term commitment to China’.

Herbert Smith has joined forces with Kewei Law in order to integrate Chinese legal advice with international legal services. The joint operation, which will be known as Herbert Smith Freehills Kewei, will focus initially on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, disputes, competition, capital markets and financial services.

The joint operation has been approved by Shanghai’s Bureau of Justice and will be based in Shanghai’s free trade zone. Herbert Smith is one of only six international firms to be allowed to integrate local legal advice in this way.

Justin D’Agostino, executive partner for Asia, said: ‘Our 30-year China practice is strong with plenty of room to grow. This new licence will transform our business on the mainland, and signals our long-term commitment to China.’

Greater China managing partner May Tai said: ‘Adding Kewei to our highly rated mainland practice completes our offering in Greater China, and clients have responded very positively.’

Earlier this year, Ashurst announced that it had set up a joint operation office with Chinese firm Guantao in Shanghai’s free trade zone. Bird & Bird and Linklaters have also struck deals with Chinese businesses.

Kewei was established in 1995 and has a strong focus on technology.