Embrace Asia: Retrospective View of the Shanghai Module “Law and Business in China”

Sep 10 2018
by Xiaoyu Liu, Eiger


On August 20, 2018, the Executive M.B.L.-HSG program’s “flying classroom” stopped over in Shanghai - one of the most dynamic cities in the world, opening a new chapter of a journey to Asia this summer. The one-week Shanghai session was held in cooperation with the Fudan University School of Management. Professor Allen Chan and Elliot Papageorgiou, partners at Clyde & Co in Shanghai, were co-chairs.

Group Photo at campus of Fudan University

The Shanghai module, “Law and Business in China”, was opened with a welcome speech given by Prof. Zhiwen Yin, the associate dean of Fudan’s School of Management, and introduced by the chairpersons briefing the course overview and program arrangement.


Welcome speech given by Prof. Zhiwen Yin, Associate Dean, Fudan University

There is an old Chinese saying: You may understand the rise and decline of a dynasty if you take history as a mirror. You can understand one’s own gains and losses if you take other people’s experience as a mirror. (以史为镜,可以知兴衰;以人为镜,可以明得失). During the first day of the program, the lectures “The Chinese Legal System: From Origins to Modern Days”, Dr. Wang Jun illustrated the transformation and development of Chinese legal traditions, the political ideology and the fundamentals of Chinese judicial systems which laid a foundation for us to understand the unique legal and political patterns of China.


Lecture “The Chinese Legal System: From Origins to Modern Days” held by Dr. Wang Jun

The Shanghai module’s lectures covered a wide range of topics in the field of doing business in China, from political to cultural aspects, from economic to legal aspects, from “law in theory” to “law in practical approach“. For example, speaker Nancy Lai, partner at Baker & McKenzie Shanghai, held an introduction to China’s tax system, which gave the class a good understanding of various tax rules from a technical angle, as well as uncertainties that may arise in the current tax environment. The high-profile topic “China IP Protection & Enforcement Strategies in light of ‘Made in China 2025’ & ‘One Belt, One Road’ ” was introduced by our co-chairman Elliot Papageorgiou, who specializes in strategies for optimizing IP portfolios across the Asia Pacific region, as well as cross-border patent, trademark and copyright disputes.

Chairman Allen Chan introduced the speaker and topic

Speaker Michelle Gon, who has extensive experience in handling international transactions in a wide spectrum of practice areas across China, the U.S. and EU countries, held a lecture on “Doing Business in China” with a focus on corporate law and legislation development for foreign investment in China. She also shared with us valuable experience on how to properly utilize relationships with Chinese characteristics (“guanxi”) in business operations in China.  Furthermore, regarding investment aspects, we had lectures such as “Chinese Competition Law and Anti-Monopoly Law in China” by Peter Wang, a lawyer with ample experience in China’s antitrust and litigation practices; “M&A in China and Beyond”, by Dr. Oliver Maaz, attorney-at-law, an experienced China expert who specializes in the structuring (corporate governance) and reorganization of investments; “China Investment Market Snapshot” held by Humbert Pang; “Currency Policies in China” held by Dr. Zhang Xiaorong, an Associate Professor in the Department of Finance of Fudan Management School, and “Labour and Social Security Law” given by Ralph Koppitz. From a compliance aspect, we heard a lecture on “White Collar Crime Prevention, Fraud Investigations, and Crisis Mitigation” held by Andres Gentry. Speaker Jordan Campbell gave us a vivid lecture on “Developing Brands - The Key to Making a Footprint in China & Asia. All the lectures enriched our knowledge and broadened our horizon on doing business in China.


Lecture “Doing business in China” given by Michelle Gon

In view of the fact the Shanghai Session was designed to provide us with a broad introduction to the Chinese economy, law and culture, the candidates were split into five groups to present topics with a focus on “law in practice” and the current state of affairs. The given topics included: China Competition/Anti- monopoly Policy, Intellectual Property Rights, China Tax and Accounting in Practice, China’s Position within International Bodies and Foreign Investment in China. The graded group presentation was designed in a way to allow us to reflect on the experiences made and lessons learned from the pre-reading materials and the lectures throughout the entire week. At the end of the exercise, the co-chairman conducted in-depth reviews and feedback of the performance of all groups, which was very beneficial.

Group presentation: “China Competition / Anti- monopoly Policy - Has China lost its Allure?”

Furthermore, we were very honored to have the opportunity for a visit to the Shanghai Yangpu District Court (court of first instance). During the visit we learned about details regarding case acceptance, the trial process and judgement execution. We were deeply impressed by the highly developed digitization in judicial practice, as well as the court’s modern information processing center. The court museum showed us the history and development of the Yangpu District Court through historic pictures and documentation. We really appreciated this great opportunity to experience close interaction with a local Chinese court.


Visit to the YangPu District Court (court of first instance)

In addition to the lectures and court visit, the program also entailed various extracurricular activities. For example, on the first day of the program there was a lunch reception hosted by Fudan University’s Management School. On Thursday, 23 August, Elliot Papageorgiou invited us for dinner to a restaurant that specializes in Xinjiang cuisine and we enjoyed specialties and wonderful performances. In addition, we were fascinated by Shanghai’s night views, the Bund and the skyscrapers in Lujiazui, continually shining on this amazing city.


Enjoying Xinjian specialties and wonderful performances

This city never sleeps - a view from Shanghai Tower


Exploring the finance center - LuJiazui

Overall, this one-week module in Shanghai not only gave us a preliminary understanding of China's cultural features, economic guidelines and regulatory framework, it also helped us to identify the opportunities and challenges while doing business in China. Our professional and personal networks have been expanded through the lively exchange of information and continuous dialogue with speakers and other candidates with diverse academic and professional backgrounds. Shanghai is a great place where West meets East, a city shaped by the differences as well as coordination between Western and Eastern culture. The time we spent in Shanghai and friends made from here are all great benefits and unforgotten experiences, which we will treasure forever.