China’s amended Anti-Unfair Competition Law (amended AUCL) comes into force on 1 January 2018. Much has been written about the various iterative drafts released over the 18-month consultation period. But the final amended AUCL omits some of the more radical amendments proposed and in some ways represents a reduced risk to companies provided they transact on commercial and well-documented terms. We set out our analysis below of the anti-bribery provisions. Continue reading


Last month the Communist Party of China held its 19th National Congress. One of the key themes that came out of the Congress was the desire to increase the focus on combatting financial crime and systemic financial risk.

This increased focus follows on the back of the stock market crash in summer 2015 and enforcement actions against those considered responsible for the crash, including investigations into allegations of bribery and stock market manipulation involving senior officials at the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), as well as criminal proceedings against brokerages. Continue reading

Regulators around the world become more vocal regarding the potential risks associated with ICOs

The rapid rise of initial coin offerings (ICOs) this year has prompted heightened scrutiny by regulators globally. On 4 September 2017, seven major regulators governing the finance and technology sectors in China (collectively, the Chinese Regulators), jointly published an announcement prohibiting ICOs in China.

The following day, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) also made a statement on existing regulations which could be applicable to ICOs and explained that digital tokens may be “securities” as defined in the Securities and Futures Ordinance, and accordingly subject to the securities laws of Hong Kong. The SFC also warned investors of the potential risks of ICOs.

The announcement by the Chinese Regulators and the statement by the SFC follow similar clarifications and announcements by regulators in the US, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Dubai, among other jurisdictions, about their respective positions on ICOs. To date, the Chinese Regulators have been the only ones to issue an outright ban. You can read our e-bulletin on the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s position here.

The UK Financial Conduct Authority also issued a consumer warning on 12 September 2017 stating that “ICOs are very high-risk speculative investments” and investors “should only invest in an ICO project if [they] are an experienced investor, confident in the quality of the ICO project itself (eg, business plan, technology, people involved) and prepared to lose [their] entire stake”.

In our recent e-bulletin, we highlight the key points in the announcement by the Chinese Regulators and the statement by the SFC and set out our observations on the future of ICOs. If you wish to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Greater China team (the contact details of which are set out in the bulletin) or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.

China Cyber Security Law: Latest Developments

China's Cyber Security Law (CSL) came into force on 1 June 2017. To read the summary of the key systems required to be implemented and their current status prepared by our teams in China and Sydney, click here.  The bulletin also includes information about draft Measures for the Security Assessment of Export of Personal Information and Important Data, and draft Guidelines for data export security assessment.

Corporate Crime Monthly Update January 2017

Welcome to the January 2017 edition of our corporate crime update – our round up of developments in relation to corruption, money laundering, fraud, sanctions and related matters. Our update now covers a number of jurisdictions. For the full update on each jurisdiction, please click on the name of the jurisdiction below. Below we provide a brief overview of what is covered in each update.

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Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect open for business

Trading through the much anticipated Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect (Shenzhen Connect) commenced on 5 December 2016. It offers international and Hong Kong investors direct access to most companies traded in Mainland China for the first time.  100 small cap stocks listed in Hong Kong are also now available to Mainland investors through Shenzhen Connect.  The launch of Shenzhen Connect follows on from the launch of Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect (Shanghai Connect) in November 2014.

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