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Since Europe’s GDPR came into force more than two years ago, data privacy and protection have become priorities for regulators and businesses across the Asian region. Between 2019 and 2020, a flurry of data privacy laws was developed, with China, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, Japan and Hong Kong among those offering new guidelines and requirements. And still, more are expected, now bringing with them the prospect off larger fines than before.
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For many, the COVID-19 pandemic served as something of a reset when it came to professional priorities. As flexible working grows increasingly normalised, and some firms begin to make employee wellness a top priority, lawyers are also reconsidering their options moving forward. Recruiters and other industry watchers feel that this could be a time for established lawyers to consider lesser-known firms to call home.
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Less than a decade after it came in from the cold, Myanmar is once more facing the freeze. Since the military forcefully seized power on Feb. 1 over unhappiness with the country’s elections, huge crowds of anti-coup protesters have taken to the streets daily. The crackdown seems to be intensifying, with police opening fire on protesters and threatening further violence.
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Since Thai merger control regulations came into force in December 2018, the country’s competition authorities have begun to step up their enforcement against misconduct. And last year saw the efforts cranked up a notch.
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Officials and members of Hong Kong’s legal profession have been vexed by a recent Financial Times that reported that international corporations working on deals in Asia – or entering into joint ventures with Chinese and other Asian counterparties – were considering excluding Hong Kong from governing law and arbitration clauses in legal contracts over concerns about the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy.
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Anderson Mori & Tomotsune recently broke ground as the first Japan Big Four law firm to allow foreign lawyers to become equity partners. Atsutoshi Maeda, partner at the firm, recently spoke to ALB about why adaptability is critical for law firms in the country, and more broadly in the region.
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With Brexit finally done, the UK and Singapore recently signed a free trade agreement to establish post-Brexit arrangements. Lawyers say the UKSFTA is an important development that will lay the groundwork for more to come.
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Shamar Ennis, a Hong Kong-based partner in the Global Finance and Corporate Group of offshore law firm Walkers, recently relocated from the firm’s Caymans office. She speaks to ALB about her plans for the region, trends we can expect to see this year, and why she’s happy to be back in Hong Kong.
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In November last year, China’s Supreme People’s Court and the Hong Kong Government signed the Supplemental Arrangement Concerning the Mutual Enforcement of Arbitral Awards between the Mainland and Hong Kong SAR. The agreement is widely expected to enhance the enforcement process and serve as an expansion of the 2000 Arrangement Concerning Mutual Enforcement of Arbitral Awards between the Mainland and the HKSAR.
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Virtual bank licences have been something of a work in progress in Singapore over the past few years, and despite the pandemic, this process has remained on track. In June last year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) shortlisted 14 contenders “eligible for next stage of assessment,” and by December, the city-state had approved four digital bank licences.