Our roots trace back to 1994 when the Hong Kong office of Stephenson Harwood opened its first China representative office in Guangzhou. Twenty years later, in 2014, an independent Chinese law firm named Wei Tu was established by former colleagues. Stephenson Harwood formed an association with this firm which goes by the name of “Stephenson Harwood - Wei Tu (China) Association”.
  • Profile
  • Experience
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This association allows us to offer a ‘one stop service’ for Hong Kong, English and PRC law advice (with the PRC advice provided by Wei Tu). We are therefore in a unique position in being able to offer clients a genuinely seamless and complementary service in the PRC.

With both international and local expertise within the Stephenson Harwood – Wei Tu (China) Association*, we have an insight into how business is done in the region. The core services include: dispute resolution, corporate, banking and finance, employment and intellectual property.

* Wei Tu (a PRC law firm registered in Guangzhou) and Stephenson Harwood (a law firm registered in Hong Kong) are in a CEPA association under the name “Stephenson Harwood - Wei Tu (China) Association”. CEPA (Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement) is a free trade agreement concluded between Mainland China and Hong Kong. Under CEPA, Hong Kong based law firms are permitted to operate in association with Mainland Chinese law firms to provide comprehensive legal services in Mainland China governed by Chinese and non-Chinese laws.

Dispute resolution

Acted for clients in arbitration before CIETAC, Guangzhou Arbitration Commission, Shanghai Arbitration Commission and South China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Comission in relation to sales of goods contract disputes.

Acted for Chinese clients in arbitration before LCIA, relating to a series of sales of goods contracts.

Advised on the conduct of arbitration before LMAA for the purpose of securing recognition and the enforcement of foreign arbitration awards in China.

Successfully defended a US-listed multinational technology company against its distributors in China in trial proceedings which span over eight years.

Advised and represented shipowners in disputes arising in respect of charter party. Also dealt with cargo lien, cargo disposal, security arrangement, bills of lading cross claims, conflict of laws and PRC court litigations.

Advised and represented cargo owners in disputes arising in respect of bills of lading and wrongful cargo lien/detention. Also dealt with ship arrest, security arrangement, claims for damage due to wrongful cargo lien/detention and PRC court litigations.

Represented a Chinese heavy industrial company in filing a re-trial case before the Supreme Court. This dispute was successfully settled.

Acted for shipping companies and P&I Clubs before PRC maritime courts, appeal courts and the Supreme Court of PRC in connection with disputes arising from bills of lading, charter parties, ship arrest and evidence preservation actions.


Represented a number of foreign investors to set up JVs and WFOEs in China, including negotiating with various PRC governmental authorities.

Advised a leading global coffee machine manufacturer on the purchase of land from a state-owned company in Shenzhen. The transaction was approximately RMB 100 million. We conducted due diligence, negotiated with the government and state-owned company and went through the complicated process of bidding, auctioning and listing.

Represented a US airplane appliance producer in the acquisition of further interests in its joint venture with a Chinese state owned company. The acquisition was completed by public bidding through China Beijing Equity Exchange.

Provided legal services to a US listed consumer goods corporation regarding setting up a plant in Guangzhou Economic Development Zone. The US$600 million project was divided into three phases for development and construction. Our services included drafting the investment agreement with the local government, negotiating with the local government concerning the agreement and various incentive policies.

Providing overall legal services for an Italian company in the liquidation of their wholly-owned subsidiary established in Guangdong province. Additional assistance was given to the client as they established a new subsidiary in Zhejiang province.

Assisted a Hong Kong listed company in relation to the liquidation of one of its factories- which had around 1000 staff- in a Guangdong province.

Banking and finance

Advised one of the leading Chinese banks on a trade finance issue.

Advised a Norwegian bank on issues relating to ship finance and refund guarantee.

Advised a South African bank on issues relating to a repurchase contract, in connection with its insurance claim in South Africa.

Acted for a major PRC bank in restructuring its secured shipping loan facility covered by Sinosure lease policy.

Advised and assisted a Swedish shipowning company on the acquisition of two chemical tankers in China.

Acted as PRC counsel for CDB Leasing on the restructuring of bareboat chartering arrangements for five bulk carriers.


Represented and provided legal advice for a large multinational company as they laid off 510 employees and closed down 23 branches. In addition to working out detailed strategy and plans, we also oversaw the implementation of the layoff plan in order to minimize the legal risks. The layoff and closures were successfully completed without incurring any additional risks and costs.

Represented a French multinational as they laid off 160 employees, assisting the client in devising a layoff plan which included coordination with a different government agency.

Acted as defence for a multinational company in labour dispute cases which saw 17 employees file labour arbitration against the client. We also assisted in negotiation with the employees.

Advised and represented a reputable multi-national company in disputes relating to employee embezzlement of company property, dealing with company internal investigation and filing criminal investigation report.

Advised and represented OEM factories in disputes relating to employee retirement compensation in PRC labour arbitration and court litigations.

Advising multiple clients on issues relating to employee injury on the job.

Advised a European manufacturer in implementing mass layoffs in its PRC subsidiary.

Represented various foreign invested enterprises before labour arbitration tribunals and PRC courts in relation to various labour disputes.

Intellectual property

Represented a large multinational brewer filing a high profile trademark protection case in front of Guangzhou Intellectual Property People’s court.

Represented an American seed company expanding its business in China through an IP transaction with a Chinese listed company.

Carried out activities relating to protection of intellectual property rights in China on behalf of an Italian company. This involved preventing infringement acts of trademark and patent at Canton Fair and other big exhibitions as well as reaching settlement agreements with more than 20 infringers and also administrative and judicial actions for rights protection against infringers who continued infringement.

Represented a multinational consulting firm filing a copyright infringement case before the court against a competitor in the market. This resulted in a favourable judgment after two instance trial.

Acted for an Italian company filing a lawsuit before PRC court which related to a trademark license agreement. This resulted in a favourable judgment.

Acted for a European company filing an arbitration before CIETAC which related to a trademark transfer agreement. The client was also given assistance settling the dispute.

Zoe Zhou

Zoe Zhou Managing partner at Wei Tu Law Firm

T: +86 20 8388 0590
M: +86 137 6085 6526 Email Zoe | vCard Office: Guangzhou


Wei Tu Law Firm
903 - 904, R&F Center, No. 10 Hua Xia Road
Zhujiang New Town, Tianhe District
Guangzhou, People's Republic of China 510623
T: +86 20 8388 0590 │Email us

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© Stephenson Harwood LLP 2016. Any reference to Stephenson Harwood in this document means Stephenson Harwood LLP and/or its affiliated undertakings. Any reference to a partner is used to refer to a member of Stephenson Harwood LLP.