Archive for china lawyer

The Expansion of China’s Deserts

Posted in Chinese Environment with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 11/04/2011 by David Griffith

Courtesy of The Asia Society.

The expansion of China’s deserts is taking a heavy toll on the lives and livelihoods of people all over the world’s most populous country. A new video from Asia Society’s China Green project documents attempts by ordinary citizens, NGOs and the government to counter the growing threat of “desertification.”

Watch now

US-China Relations and the Role of Education

Posted in Chinese Foreign Relations with tags , , on 10/14/2011 by David Griffith
The People's Republic of China (green) and its...

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US-China relations will be an important cornerstone for many sectors in the coming decades. A panel representing business, higher education, and public policy sound off on what today’s students ought to know and be able to do.

Watch this panel discussion, courtesy of the Asia Society.(45 min., 58 sec.)

US-China Relations and the Role of Education.

Yang Lan: The generation that’s remaking China

Posted in Chinese Demographics with tags , , , , , on 10/07/2011 by David Griffith

Another great video from talking about the new generation of men and women who are radically remaking CHINA, hosted by Yang Lan, a journalist and entrepreneur who’s been called “the Oprah of China”.

China: No Longer a Hidden Gem

Posted in Chinese Economy with tags , , , , , , , , , on 09/25/2011 by David Griffith

by Anthony Noto Mergers & Acquisitions

Long gone are the days where globetrotting bankers could view China as a wide open playing field for doing deals, according to a panel at ACG’s Business Conference in Los Angeles yesterday.

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During PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP’s “Doing Smarter Deals in Emerging Markets” discussion at the Beverly Hilton Hotel Wednesday afternoon, the consensus among the panelists was that even though the middle market has arrived in droves throughout China, and their Eastern counterparts are savvier dealmakers, there are still lingering cultural differences that make M&A in the region difficult.

“It’s no longer a hidden gem,” PwC’s Alan Chu told those in attendance regarding China’s evolution. “Capital is not an issue with many of these companies.”

Fellow panelist Hanson Li of Hina Group agreed.

“Companies in China are much more sophisticated and secure,” he said. “Why should they have a low valuation?”

For that, he pointed to China’s ability to grow its wine and spirits industry, as well as capitalize on the sale of women’s garments, referring to E-commerce lingerie company La Miu as “the Victoria’s Secret of China.”

Chu chimed in, calling aerospace the industry to watch for Chinese dealmakers, adding that M&A is more about “collaboration and globalization” between China and U.S. companies rather than the emerging market stereotype of doing deals quickly.

“What defines success in China is people on the ground,” adds panelist Colin McIntyre, a PwC partner, stressing the importance of cultural adaption as opposed to enforcing the Western way of doing things. “The biggest risk is reputational risk.”

Still, just as the two global economies challenge each other on a broader scale, so do middle market deal pros within the region because of the cultural differences that they face. Between language and dialogue differences, clashing accounting practices and the need for building relationships, wrapping deals up in China generally takes longer than anywhere else, they said.

For example, regulatory issues may differ from city to city, Chu said. Coupled with the growing need for Chinese companies to localize their services, and U.S. partners must make themselves privy to the subtle differences between Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.

Another is structural differences, according to Walt Disney Co. senior vice president of global development Eric Muhlheim, who also spoke on the panel.

Disney looked at numerous acquisition targets in China, Muhlheim said, but in keeping with the integrity of the company’s brand, it “chose to go it alone” and grow organically in the region once it realized the structural differences of those competitors were too steep to integrate.

That differs from its acquisition strategy in another emerging market, Sao Paolo, Brazil, he said, where it is more likely for Disney to do deals because of “specialized assets” that Disney wouldn’t be able to get on its own.

During times like that, challenges are met because emerging markets provide such a wide avenue of opportunity. Even though, as McIntyre puts it, “It’s [never] easy to do business there.”

For more information on related topics, visit the following:
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Does democracy stifle economic growth?

Posted in Chinese Economy with tags , , on 09/14/2011 by David Griffith

Economist Yasheng Huang compares China to India, and asks how China’s authoritarian rule contributed to its astonishing economic growth — leading to a big question: Is democracy actually holding India back? Huang’s answer may surprise you.

Sports-Related Domain Name Disputes in Asia

Posted in Chinese Economy, Chinese Legal Issues, Doing Business in China, Intellectual Property in China with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 07/18/2011 by David Griffith


Courtesy of Internet Business Law Services

Sports personalities and promoters can turn to the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre (ADNDRC) for dispute resolution services regarding domain names that are claimed to infringe registered trademarks. Other remedies available to them include those pursuant to personality rights law in China, or passing off and trademark law in Hong Kong.
The Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre (ADNDRC) was formed as a joint undertaking by the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre and the Korean Internet Address Dispute Resolution Committee. It was subsequently approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to provide dispute resolution services in regard to Asian generic top level domain names (gTLD’s), under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy(UDRP).The ADNDRC may delete or transfer the domain name under paragraph 4 UDRP if the domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark; the domain name holder had no legitimate interest; and the domain name was registered or used in bad faith.

In Telstra Corporation Limited v. Domain-Broker-Labs, Case No.D2000-1789, the complainants, Australia’s leading information services company, entered into a strategic Pan-Asian Alliance with Pacific Century CyberWorks, a leading Asian communications company. They sued for and obtained transfer of the Asian respondent’s domain name, registered shortly after conclusion of the Alliance, on the grounds that the respondent did not carry on any related business, was not commonly known by any similar name, and did not act in good faith.

The panel in that case held that “given the [claimant’s] reputation and goodwill in the TELSTRA PCCW name and the public announcement which… featured…prominently in South East Asia, it is hard to see how the respondent can claim to have registered the name in good faith.… [given] the lack of any adequate explanation or the denial of bad faith….”

In Advance Magazine Publishers v. Shenzhen Hengtaixin Golf Utilities, CIETAC CND-200300007, respondent registered the domain name to provide information services concerning golf. The complainant was the owner of the trademark GOLF DIGEST for print publications in China. Article 11 of the Chinese Trademark Law and Article 49 of the Implementing Regulations of the Trademark Law provide that trademarks referring to the quality, quantity, or other features of goods may not be registered, and there is no right to prohibit others from using these terms normally. The panel ruled that the complainant could not register the trademark for information services on golf and was limited to print publications and similar goods; consequently, there was no right to prevent the respondent’s normal use of the descriptive term in its domain name.

In Alibaba (China) Network Tech., Ltd. v. Jichuang Power Group Co., CIETAC CND-2003000024, the China Internet Network Information Centre (‘CNNIC’), China’s official domain names regulator and administrators of .cn TLD, refused the application of Beijing Zhengpu Science Development Company for the Chinese name ‘Alibaba’ on the grounds that the domain was reserved for a well-known Hong-Kong based online business-to-business marketplace, Corporation. A Beijing Intermediate People’s Court ruled that CNNIC did not have the right to reserve Chinese domain names for well-known companies and ordered them to treat all domain applicants equally.


Are there any other sources of protection for domain names infringing identity rights of sports personalities in China?
Article 99(2) of the General Principles of the Civil Law guarantees legal persons the right to exclusive use of their personal names.  Article 120 provides, that if a legal person’s “name, portrait, reputation or honor is infringed upon, he shall have the right to demand that the infringement be stopped, his reputation rehabilitated, the ill effects eliminated and an apology made; he may also demand compensation for losses.”
How have the above legal protections been applied in practice?
In Shanghai Shenhua Football Club v. Shanghai Teleitong Trade, Gazette of the Supreme Court, vol. 69, no.1 (2001), the defendant used the name of the plaintiff, a Chinese national football champion in an advertisement.  The court held that the defendants were using the plaintiff’s identity to pursue commercial interests and required authorization for doing so.In 2004, a Fujian company registered the domain names of China’s gold medalists in the Athens Olympics,, without their authorization. After a public outcry, the company gave up the domain names.

In the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, China’s General Administration of Sport preregistered most of the names of China’s Olympic athletes, giving away the domain names to the country’s gold medalists as a gift.  The rest of the domain names were returned following an appeal by the CNNIC.


Is the law the same in Hong Kong?
The Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance protects private individuals from invasions of privacy by the government and public authorities, but not by private persons or organizations.  Sports personalities have to rely on the UDRP, reinforced by passing off and trade mark law, in order to obtain protection against infringement for their identities.

The End of Cheap Labor in China

Posted in Chinese Economy, Chinese International Trade with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 07/05/2011 by David Griffith


Courtesy of TIME.

On May 25, U.S. businessman Charles Hubbs made the short trek to Hong Kong  from his office just outside Guangzhou, a city in Guangdong province in  southeastern China that is known for good reason as the manufacturing workshop  of the world. For the 64-year-old native of Louisiana, it was a trip that may  have marked the beginning of the end of his successful 22-year run as a  China-based exporter of medical supplies.

Hubbs was going to listen to a pitch from the American ambassador in  Cambodia, Carol Rodley, and the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in  Phnom Penh. Their aim was simple: to get foreign investors, particularly those  already with operations in China, to consider setting up shop in Cambodia. Hubbs  was all ears. To hear him tell it, the price of labor is on the brink of making  his firm, Guangzhou Fortunique, which supplies some of the U.S.’s biggest health  care companies, uncompetitive. “We’ve seen our wage costs in China go up nearly  50% in the last two years alone,” he says. “It’s harder to keep workers on now,  and it’s more expensive to attract new ones. It’s gotten to the point where I’m  actively looking for alternatives. I think I’ll be out of here entirely in a  couple of years.”(See “As China Economy Grows, So Does Labor  Unrest.”)

He is not alone. In what is supposed to be a land of unlimited cheap labor — a nation of 1.3 billion people, whose extraordinary 20-year economic rise has  been built first and foremost on the backs of low-priced workers — the game has  changed. In the past decade, according to Helen Qiao, chief economist for  Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong, real wages for manufacturing workers in China have  grown nearly 12% per year. That’s the result of an economy that’s been growing  by double digits annually for two decades, fueled domestically by a frenzied  infrastructure and housing build-out — one that, for now anyway, continues apace — combined with what was for a time an almost unquenchable thirst for Chinese  exports in the developed world. Add to that the fact that in the five largest  manufacturing provinces, the Chinese government — worried about an ever widening  gap between rich and poor — has raised the minimum wage 14% to 21% in the past  year. To Harley Seyedin, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in South  China, the conclusion is inescapable: “The era of cheap labor in China is  over.”

Mind you, that doesn’t mean that labor costs in China, even in the most  expensive parts of the country like Guangdong province, are higher than in most  other places, particularly in the developed world. They aren’t. The average  manufacturing wage in China is still only about $3.10 an hour, (compared with  $22.30 in the U.S.), though in the eastern part of the country, it’s up to 50%  more than that. The hourly cost advantage, while still significant, is shrinking  rapidly. For the vast majority of companies, whether small, medium-size or huge  multinationals, the decision about where to produce a product is always driven  by multiple factors, of which the cost of labor is but one. “For lots of  companies over the past two decades, the disparity was such that labor costs  often drove the decision,” says economist Daniel Rosen, the China director and  principal of the Rhodium Group, a a New York City–based consulting firm. “Now,  increasingly, that’s no longer the case.”(See portraits of Chinese workers.)

The ripple effects of this new reality are enormous, and they flow globally.  Start with China itself. The push for higher wages, constrained for so many  years, sparked a series of high-profile labor protests last year. (Worker  discontent was also reflected by 14 suicides at Foxconn, the large manufacturer  that produces goods like the iPad.) But higher wages have also improved things  in China’s western region, where the government has long tried to encourage  investment. In the past year, many multinational and Chinese companies have  expanded or relocated inland, where labor is still cheap.

From China’s perspective, that’s exactly the sort of trade-off it seeks. As  Andy Rothman, chief China macro strategist at CLSA Securities in Shanghai, says,  “People in Sichuan or Henan or wherever can stay closer to home and find a  good-paying job” instead of having to flood east each year to live in a company  dormitory far away from their families. “How is this a bad thing?”

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