16 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS CHINA • 亚洲法律杂志-中国版 JULY 2023 WEST CHINA FIRMS & RISING LAWYERS As we enter the second half of 2023, ALB continues to monitor the regional legal markets in China, with a particular focus on West China. West China encompasses ten provincial-level administrative divisions, namely Sichuan, Chongqing, Yunnan, Guizhou, Tibet, Ningxia, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Shaanxi, and Gansu. While the overall level of economic development in the west may still lag behind the eastern and central regions, these provinces and cities have their unique characteristics and exhibit promising economic performance. In 2022, Sichuan province maintained its 6th ranking in terms of GDP among all provinces in the country. Moreover, except for Sichuan and Guizhou, the GDP growth of the remaining eight western provinces surpassed the national level of 4.5% in the first quarter of 2023. This includes provinces and autonomous regions with smaller economic aggregates such as Tibet, Ningxia, Xinjiang, Qinghai, and Gansu. Among cities, Chongqing’s GDP surpassed that of Guangzhou in 2022, securing the fourth place nationwide. In Yicai’s list of 15 new first-tier cities announced this year, Chengdu took the top spot, followed by Chongqing in second place, and Xi’an and Kunming ranking sixth and 13th, respectively. The western region benefits from natural advantages, such as abundant energy resources, as well as policy and strategic support, including the “Belt and Road Initiative” and the “China Western Development” strategy. Industrial transformation and upgrading are driving economic development in the western region. For instance, Yunnan Province has seen a clustering of lithium battery companies, with CATL establishing a presence in Kunming and Eve Energy Co., Ltd. and Exencell launching their lithium battery projects in Qujing and Dali, respectively. Shanshan Technology also commenced operations for its lithium battery project in Anning, Kunming, at the end of June. As economic vitality continues to flourish, the demand for legal services in West China is expected to increase significantly, making it one of the regions with the greatest potential in China’s REGIONAL RANKING Despite a relatively late start, the legal services industry in West China has been showing strong growth momentum thanks to the region’s rich natural resources, favourable national policies and dedication by the legal community. For the second year in a row, ALB highlights top firms and young lawyers in this market, and invites some of the winners to share how they have found the right directions to persevere or innovate amid rapid changes in the western region. 西部地区的法律服务业起步相对较晚,但凭借该区域丰厚的自然资源 优势、国家政策的推动以及诸多法律人才的长期耕耘,这片土地已具备 天时、地利、人和,法律服务业增势迅猛。ALB连续第二年观察这一市场 中杰出的律所及年轻律师,并邀请部分上榜者讲述了如何找准方向, 在西部地区的快速变迁中坚守或创新。 西和部律地师区新律星所 RANKING BY ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS, TEXT BY VICTOR WU 排名:《亚洲法律杂志》,作者:吴嘉林 Image: Plasteed/