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Copyright © Media Law International 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice


Financial liberalisation is on President

Xi Jinping’s agenda as part of efforts to open markets to foreign investors. The topic taking precedence, however, is China’s Cybersecurity Law.

The legislative development is the first in 12 years to overhaul internet regulation, which enters into force in June 2017.

Censorship and media have long been acquainted in China but lawyers say the extension of control over digital communication is the strictest to date. New rules mean news websites must be overseen by government-approved editorial staff.  

Online news outlets must also obtain licenses while staff are required to have reporting credentials from the central government.

The updated law puts data protection measures in place that mean data collected in China must be stored within the country.

Before transferring large amounts of personal data abroad, media companies must submit to a review by regulators.

Lawyers say privacy and data protection matters will dominate the scope of work during 2018

as media outlets review their procedures to

ensure compliance.

Practitioner also comment on merger and acquisition activity, which they sat has halted as Beijing heightens scrutiny of outbound investment.

Other developments include the rise in value of China’s Tencent which surpassed Facebook in value after it became the first company in China to be worth more than USD 500 billion.



Sports and digital media are Bird & Bird’s core focus areas. Leading sports lawyer Justin Walkey manages the division and represents high profile clients including Jazeera’s beIN Sport. The team advises mobile game publishers and corporate clients on sports-related sponsorships. Data protection is also a key area of focus for the firm, which works with clients from the Asia-Pacific region on related-matters.

Lawyers at Fangda Partners advise on commercial and regulatory aspects of the telecommunications, media and internet markets. The team works with content providers and broadcasters on licensing and outsourcing contracts, e-commerce, advertising, intellectual property and advices on regulatory changes.

Media and Entertainment expert Hylands Law Firm is recognised by peers and clients for its film and television specialisation. Led by founding partner Xiaogang Ma, the team advises on adaptation and creation of script, investment and financing, Sino-foreign co-productions and the import and export of film and television content. Lawyers, including astute practitioner Zhengning Li, also represent music and recoding companies, print publishers and sports industry clients.    

O’Melveny & Myers is a recognised leader for media law. Its sector coverage includes entertainment, sports, internet and emerging technologies. The team acts for high profile television, music and new media companies, strategic investors and individual talent. The practice group is co-managed by Stephen Scharf and Matthew Erramouspe.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison is known for its sector-related corporate and transactional work. Lawyers advise strategic and financial investors on all aspects of the TMT sectors in Asia, including strategic acquisitions and joint ventures. The firm’s clients include, DreamWorks Animation, Tencent and Universal Studios.


Baker McKenzie has been doing business in China for 40 years. With its primary emphasis on intellectual property, the firm is a popular choice for copyright cases across segment including entertainment, sports and technology. Key practitioners include Loke-Khoon Tan, who manages the firm’s IP practice in China and Hong Kong, and Shih Yann Loo who focusses on cross-border litigation and enforcement in both regions.  

Clifford Chance’s cross-border advice dominates its TMT work. Richard Blewett and Terence Foo lead a practice well regarded by peers for its advice on anti-trust and competition law. Practitioners specialise in sector-related public-to-private transactions, mergers and overseas acquisitions.

Simmons & Simmons has a dedicated TMT practice specialising in corporate and commercial matters. The firm has a diverse portfolio that includes leading online, e-commerce and entertainment companies. Head of division David Wang has extensive experience representing multinational companies, including software companies and venture capital investors in China and the US.   

Wan Hui Da Law Firm is among the region’s leaders for copyright, enforcement and litigation. Present since 1992, the firm has a high profile client base that includes multinational companies. Founding partner Gang Bai is reputed for his litigation skills and works closely with enforcement specialist Liang Su.


Covington & Burling is appointed by Hollywood studios and leading independent production studios. Key practitioner Jason Goldberg works with the wider team advising television companies, sports organisations, funds and investors, individual actors and directors. The practice is also known for advice on complex regulatory matters.

Deacons primarily focusses on intellectual property advice to media and entertainment clients. The firm is appointed by multinational companies that include Hollywood studios, production houses and distributors, music publishers and advertisers. Working with key practitioner Charmaine Koo, lawyers assisted Hong Kong’s largest television network, advised Twentieth Century Fox on high-profile film projects in China and advised on the establishment of a distribution company.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges acts for media and entertainment clients on corporate and transactional cases ranging from spin-offs and IPOs to financings and restructurings. The team has extensive experience advising overseas clients on complex contractual and licensing disputes.


Grandall Legal Group concentrates on intellectual property advice with key areas of work including unfair competition, licensing, investment and financing of rights. Lawyers also assist with overseas mergers and acquisitions and act for companies establishing a presence abroad. Other service areas include telecommunications, IT and e-commerce.

King & Wood Mallesons has a global focus on entertainment, data protection and privacy. The media group advises on complex regulatory requirements, transactions and disputes. Other areas of focus include digital advertising, technology and sector-related tax.

Liu, Shen & Associates specialises in intellectual property. Founded in 1993, the practice has an established copyright division with long-standing emphasis on protection and enforcement. Michelle Ma manages the firm’s media group, which also handles litigation and dispute resolution.  

Ranking and editorials


Bird & Bird

Fangda Partners

Hylands Law Firm

O'Melveny & Myers

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison


Baker McKenzie

Clifford Chance

Hogan Lovells  

Morrison & Foerster

Simmons & Simmons

Wan Hui Da Law Firm


Covington & Burling


Haiwen & Partners

Herbert Smith Freehills

Pinsent Masons

Weil, Gotshal & Manges

Zhong Lun Law Firm


Grandall Law Firm


Kangxin Partners

King & Wood Mallesons

Liu, Shen & Associates

Vivien Chan & Co.


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