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HKIAC opens international arbitration centre in mainland China

Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) has opened its first office in mainland China. The Shanghai office is in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, and is headed by HKIAC's deputy secretary-general Liu Jing, HKIAC said in a statement.24 Nov 2015

Liu has been facilitating HKIAC's support for Chinese users for several years, the centre said.

Shanghai is HKIAC's second overseas office: the centre opened an office in Seoul, South Korea in May 2013.

HKIAC chairperson Teresa Cheng said: "The Shanghai office will be a unique platform to connect Chinese companies and lawyers with world-class arbitration practice. As the most preferred and used arbitral institution outside of Europe, HKIAC is best placed to perform this role”.

The Shanghai office of HKIAC hopes to work with local arbitration commissions in mainland China to promote international best practice. It will provide professional training to local arbitrators and practitioners and hopes to develop a pro-arbitration policy across China.

"Where necessary, the Shanghai office will extend HKIAC’s world-class services to support its hearings on the mainland and provide such other appropriate services as may be permitted under Chinese law," it said.

The Shanghai office will not initially provide case management services and all HKIAC arbitrations will be administered in Hong Kong. Parties should seek legal advice before requesting HKIAC to administer arbitral proceedings seated on the mainland, HKIAC said. Alternatively, parties can choose to arbitrate in Hong Kong, "which has long been recognised as the preferred venue for China-related disputes", the centre said. 

HKIAC has handled 1,100 China-related cases since 2003, it said.

"Parties to HKIAC arbitrations are particularly assured by the enforcement record of HKIAC awards in mainland China.  Between 2010 and 2014, the mainland courts did not refuse to enforce any HKIAC awards," it said.