Magic circle firm Allen & Overy has partnered with a practice based in Shanghai, saying the Chinese market is a ‘global strategic priority’.

The Shanghai Bureau of Justice has approved joint operations between Allen & Overy and Shanghai Lang Yue Law Firm. The practice will be known as Allen & Overy Lang Yue (FTZ) Joint Operation Office and will operate in Shanghai’s free trade zone.

The joint enterprise will provide clients with domestic and international legal services covering M&A, private equity, venture capital investments, capital markets, regulatory advisory and compliance.

Under current Chinese rules, only lawyers who qualify in China are entitled to give formal legal opinion in the country, which inhibits the presence of foreign practitioners. However, a growing number of international firms are partnering with domestic practices. Herbert Smith Freehills, KPMG Law, Ashurst, Bird & Bird and Linklaters have all struck deals with Chinese businesses.

Victor Ho, Allen & Overy's Beijing & Shanghai managing partner, said: 'Allen & Overy has been on the ground in China for over 30 years and growing our China practice remains one of our global strategic priorities. Our joint operation with Lang Yue, a firm we have successfully worked with on a significant number of client matters, will take our China offering to the next level.

‘The joint operation will give our considerable roster of international and the People’s Republic of China clients an even deeper and broader set of capabilities to support their activities in China and globally.’