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TransAsia Lawyers Officially Launches ChinaGoAbroad

07 December 2013

BEIJING – On 3 December 2013, ChinaGoAbroad (CGA) was officially launched in the presence of senior government officials and business leaders.

CGA is a membership community comprising a bilingual information website (www.ChinaGoAbroad.com) and an offline consultancy. It was co-founded in 2012 by leading boutique Chinese law firm TransAsia Lawyers and the China Overseas Development Association (CODA) under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Supporting the Chinese government’s “going abroad” policy, CGA was established to address the lack of authoritative information available to Chinese enterprises about the practical aspects of their investments overseas – in terms of local laws and business practices, sourcing actual investment opportunities, and operating within specific industries. The project also offers access to, and exposure for, leading international service providers. Domestic and international companies and government agencies quickly recognized the value that CGA offers: it attracted over 5,000 members even before its official launch date.

“My dream is to help Chinese enterprises become closer to the rest of the world,” explained Jesse TH Chang, the founder/CEO of CGA. “To achieve this goal, we have built a strong information platform, an interactive database of live investment opportunities, and an innovative, collaborative offline consulting service.”

Mr. Zhang Guobao, President of CODA, was equally enthusiastic, speaking at length during the launch on the importance of having quality online resources for Chinese companies, and adding that “CGA not only offers online value, but even more offline.”

Mr. Li Yong, Vice President of Trade Finance Development, China Minsheng Banking Corporation (China’s largest privately-owned bank), called CGA "a great idea that will contribute to the life of private enterprises".

The launch also included a signing ceremony to initiate a partnership between CGA and the Russian Federation State Special Economic Zones.

Risk Management Workshop

In keeping with its mission to provide practical and authoritative information on doing business abroad, on 4 December 2013, CGA hosted a workshop on “Risk Management for Outbound Investments”.

At the workshop, leading practitioners from among CGA’s members shared their considerable expertise on a variety of fields related to cross-border transactions, including tax, public relations, due diligence and competition analysis. The standing-room only workshop offered Chinese investors and government officials the opportunity to learn from these global experts, and to interact with them directly.

“The evolution of how China executes its acquisitions and investments is of great importance,” stated Doug Ritchie, formerly the head of Rio Tinto’s Energy Group. He elaborated that some changes must be led by the government, such as “educat[ing] foreign governments, policy makers, media and opinion leaders as to the real nature of the relationship between government and SOEs.” At the same time, Chinese businesses must also better their own overseas operations by seeking “appropriately qualified independent advisors undertaking not only the due diligence process, but how the business will be run post-acquisition and through the development process.”

Claudia Wittwer of GlobalCom PR Network addressed the need to develop and implement public relations campaigns in overseas jurisdictions, a key – but often overlooked – factor for successful investments. She stressed that while positive PR significantly helps when entering a new market or launching a project, it can be just as effective in attacking a brand or company, and can stop a promising transaction. Companies must therefore use a comprehensive PR strategy to overcome potential negative perceptions and maintain the image of their brand and products in the local market.

Focusing on a key area of interest for Chinese investors, Gary Wigmore of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP highlighted the many unique risks involved when investing in the U.S. Oil & Gas industry. These include ensuring the receipt of special government approvals, such as from the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Additional presentations were made by Dr. Robert Kuhn, Sunny Chow and Lucy Wang of EY, Violet Ho of Kroll, Gary Lock of Herbert Smith Freehills and Dr. Marc Ivaldi.

In addition to the speakers, many senior representatives of CGA’s international members attended the events to take advantage of the opportunity to interact with each other and executives from Chinese enterprises.

The 300-plus engaged audience members highlight Chinese enterprises desire to gain the knowledge and expertise to succeed abroad, and the need for a platform to connect companies around the world. CGA bridges this gap by providing relevant, practical and up-to-date investment information, along with access to investment opportunities and quality advisors, truly making it “where China meets the world”.

About ChinaGoAbroad

CGA is a membership community focusing on cross-border investments relating to China. Co-founded by TransAsia Lawyers and CODA, its members include prominent Chinese enterprises, leading international service providers and government agencies. The project comprises both an informational website (www.ChinaGoAbroad.com) and offline consultancy.

CGA adopts a holistic approach to facilitating China-related cross-border transactions. Thus in addition to providing information on investing in a variety of countries/regions and industries, CGA includes: a dedicated section for SMEs through a partnership with Minsheng Bank; a Transaction Center which allows members to post investment projects; and an Education & Training providing continuing education and training opportunities for Chinese executives.