Firms acting for investors in China should not necessarily push for contracts to be subject to foreign law, with dispute resolution overseas, a session on the challenges of China heard.

A US court judgment for example will not be enforceable in China. Joint venture or oil exploration contracts have to use Chinese law, while Chinese courts may have inherent jurisdiction where issues of insolvency or employment are concerned.

The brevity of Chinese contracts is not necessarily a cause for alarm because of the conciseness of the Chinese language – but key points often need to be negotiated after signature.