International firm Hogan Lovells has agreed a partnership with Chinese firm Fujian Fidelity Law Firm, making use of the Shanghai tree trade zone.

Fidelity, which has seven offices nationwide, has around 170 lawyers and specialises in mergers and acquisitions, insolvency and liquidation, as well as real estate and construction work.

Andrew McGinty and Zhen Feng, partners in Shanghai’s existing Shanghai office, will lead the relationship and promote joint services from the firms. 

Shanghai’s free trade zone was set up in 2013 as part of new rules that allow foreign law firms in China to team up with local firms.

Previously, foreign lawyers were not able to participate directly in China’s legal affairs and foreign firms were allowed to set up only a branch or a representative office.

Under the free trade zone's rules, a foreign firm in the zone can agree a partnership with a Chinese law firm to mutually dispatch lawyers to the other firm.

Last year, international firm Baker & McKenzie became the first to use the zone by teaming up with FenXun Partners.

Steve Immelt, chief executive of Hogan Lovells said: ‘Asia is critical to our global strategy and the Shanghai FTZ offers an exciting opportunity to expand our service offering in the region. We are excited about the prospects of our collaboration with Fidelity.’

Wang Ping, managing partner at Fidelity’s Shanghai office, said establishing an office in the free trade zone was a critical step toward Fidelity becoming a large and significant national firm. ‘We are very honored to be launching an association with Hogan Lovells, as we’ll be able to draw on each other’s strengths to fully realise our potential and to offer our clients a high-quality, professional, and seamless service,' he added.