In March 2017, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced the “development of a city cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area,” which is a part of China’s urbanisation strategy. The Chinese government plans to turn the Greater Bay Area into the world’s largest bay area in terms of GDP by 2030, surpassing the economies of the Tokyo, New York and San Francisco bay areas. This is a highly attractive location for lawyers of all levels and in this article our consultant Betty Chen highlights why.

China’s Greater Bay Area will include the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Macao Special Administrative Region, and nine cities in south China’s Guangdong Province, namely Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Dongguan, Huizhou, Zhongshan, Foshan, Zhaoqing and Jiangmen. The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has increasingly been compared with the bay areas of San Francisco, New York and Tokyo.


Why consider Guangzhou and Shenzhen for your career?


1. Both cities are considered two of the most prosperous cities in the south of China. With the development of new technologies as the main driving force, Shenzhen now boasts many internationally famous high-tech companies such as Huawei, Tencent, ZTE and DJI to name but a few.

2. There are not many international law firms operating in these cities, therefore high quality legal talent is rare. This presents greater opportunities for law school graduates upon qualification as it is easier to secure a new role in these locations. The legal markets of Beijing and Shanghai are very competitive and many law school graduates struggle to succeed.

3. More and more of the top PRC law firms are expanding into Guangzhou and Shenzhen. For example; Fangda, King Wood Mallesons, Jun He and Zhonglun all have offices in these locations. This presents even further opportunities for lawyers of all seniority.

4. Shenzhen and Guangzhou based lawyers have more opportunity to communicate and deal directly with local clients. Therefore, lawyers in these locations have more client focussed roles.

5. There are greater career development opportunities. With PRC law firms doing well in these locations it will be easier for senior PRC lawyers to work towards promotion to counsel/partner in the years to come. We predict the same opportunities for senior in-house lawyers who are able to stand out and take leadership roles.

6. There are more opportunities for native speakers in these regional locations. While we have seen the demand across China increase, it is particularly high in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

7. Guangzhou and Shenzhen have a lower cost of living as well as better air quality compared with Beijing and Shanghai.


For more information on the markets across China and specifically in Guangzhou and Shenzhen please contact [email protected].

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