12 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS CHINA • 亚洲法律杂志-中国版 JULY 2023 COVER STORY developing more comprehensive legal and compliance functions along with the company’s growth stages, which also serve as a typical example for the industry. She explains that during the early financing stage, the company didn’t have many functional departments set up, and her work primarily focused on legal matters. As the biotech company reached a certain stage and sought development in the capital markets, CanSino went public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2019 and on the A-share market in 2020. Zhou’s responsibilities immediately expanded to include internal control functions. With the company’s progress into commercialization, compliance and audit functions were also added. As the company matured, especially during the transition from biotech to biopharma, Zhou’s responsibilities expanded again to include intellectual property management. “We control the entire process of intellectual property, including establishing a dedicated IPR team and integrating the management of patents, trademarks, know-how, trade secrets, and business secrets.” Through this journey of taking on more responsibilities, Zhou has gained a deeper understanding of her capabilities as a legal professional. Today, she confidently says, “you can expand your business according to the company’s needs and your own growth potential; This is entirely achievable, although it also requires a lot of learning along the way.” VISIBLE ROLES With the expansion of functions, Christy Zhou’s key realization is that legal work must be made visible to the business in order to be effective. “As legal professionals, we often work at our desks, making changes to documents and replying to emails. How can we truly integrate these desk-bound tasks with the business?” This has been a question she has been pondering. Zhou has created a motto for her department: ‘precision is care.’ “We include this motto in every internal communication email to gradually change the business’ perception of us. By removing their defensiveness, we can establish a better connection.” Furthermore, Zhou emphasizes that her team must carry out their work with professionalism and attention to detail, actively communicating to make the business “see” their efforts. “For example, we have been publishing a weekly internal legal newsletter for three years, covering various aspects related to the company’s business. Many colleagues have provided positive feedback, finding the content interesting.” In addition, the team takes the initiative to lead legal risk assessments for different types of business within the company. “During the assessment process, we interact with the business departments, and they can clearly see what we are doing. We also proactively provide guidelines to assist with preevaluations before projects begin, ensuring smoother progress later on.” Zhou Benqiang points out that he has also been contemplating the positioning and boundaries of legal work in the past few years, and his perspective aligns with Christy Zhou’s approach. “I have been exploring the integration of legal work with corporate development strategies, business management, and corporate culture. This shift transforms legal from a ‘service department’ to a ‘value-creating department,’ moving from the background to the forefront,” he explains. “After years of efforts, we have achieved significant results. Now, the company’s legal department can create value for the company, just like the marketing and production departments, by participating in the market, securing projects, and generating profits,” he adds. COMPLIANCE CHALLENGES As Zhou Benqiang mentioned, the expansion of responsibilities brings both fulfillment and greater challenges, and this was especially evident in the past year. “The most memorable challenge of the past year was compliance. How to ensure the company achieves rapid development on a compliant track was a major question,” Zhou Benqiang admits. “As Sinohydro Engineering Bureau 8 is an international construction company with business spread across Asia, Africa, and Latin America, involving various fields such as hydropower, thermal power, solar power, municipal engineering, railways, highways, smelting, petrochemicals, and agricultural infrastructure, the legal issues we face are complex.” “Therefore, we need to collaborate with other business departments to jointly explore and study cutting-edge legal issues. Looking back, I can say that we have handled various challenges remarkably well.” For Christy Zhou, the most unforgettable challenge of the past year also occurred in the compliance field, specifically, the “construction of a marketing compliance system.” This, too, was a question posed by the pandemic-era. Originally, biotech companies were “small but beautiful” players in the pharmaceutical industry, progressing in a step-by-step manner. However, the past three years saw the industry thrust into the limelight due to the pandemic, pushing them to go through years of development within a short period. This rapid transformation brought significant challenges in commercialization, marketization, and internal compliance management. Zhou recalls that in 2020, her team had already built a basic marketing compliance system for the company. However, they realized its vulnerability when faced with real-world challenges. Over the past 12 months, with rapid expansion, the system faced numerous challenges from various business departments. Additionally, CanSino explored a new CSO business model beyond selfoperation, adding even more pressure on compliance. “We had to gradually integrate everything,” she says. Fortunately, they successfully weathered this challenging period. Zhou tells ALB that in the next phase, they will focus on “establishing a standardized compliance system for the company, continuously refining the standards to align with business needs, seeking a balance between regulations and development, and ensuring compliance is implemented in specific business projects.”