29 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS CHINA • 亚洲法律杂志-中国版 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM/CHINA In the financial services, however (with the exception of fintech) – we’ve continued to see more litigation than deals, ranging from insolvency litigation, debt recovery, bond issuer defaults and resulting bondholder claims, employment disputes, regulatory disputes in the industry as firms restructure and downsize, and claims by private equity investors against non-performing or failed investments. Since the Hong Kong government announced its all-in efforts to develop the Fintech industry in Hong Kong earlier this year, and especially with the new virtual assets exchange regime that came into force on June 1, we’ve seen a huge uptick in enquiries and work on exchange licensing, as well as requests for advice and legal opinions on setting up Fintech businesses in Hong Kong. We have also advised on licensing uplifts for licensed asset managers interested in taking on a larger exposure to cryptocurrency in their portfolios. At the same time, the aftermath of the spectacular cryptocurrency collapses in 2022 – FTX, BlockFi, Three Arrows, Luna, to name a few – continues to resonate, with our work in crypto insolvencies and claims continuing to be strong. During COVID, we saw a surge in online fraud involving recognized currencies as well as cryptocurrency - we continue to see a steady flow of work in this area as we help multiple victims recover stolen funds. Separately, we’ve also seen an increase in inquiries for funds formations, including under Hong Kong’s Limited Partnership Funds and Open-Ended Fund Company regimes. LIN WEI, managing partner, PC Woo & Zhonglun WD: Our firm is not quite the same as any other Hong Kong law firms since we are an associated firm between the mainland China firm Zhonglun W&D Law Firm and the Hong Kong firm PC Woo & Co. The two firms joined hands to establish our firm - PC Woo & Zhonglun WD LLP, which inherits the vast resources and advantages of both firms to provide comprehensive mainland China and Hong Kong legal services to our clients. We are also one of the first batch of association firms in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The post-pandemic era will release large amounts of cross-border legal services demands from those mainland China clients, who have been waiting for resumption in the past three years. The return of economic activities in Hong Kong, as well as the fact that travel between Hong Kong and the Mainland has fully resumed, have brought a significant amount of opportunities in terms of cross-border investment, financing, and dispute resolution in the Greater Bay Area. This has greatly benefited us as a mainland China-Hong Kong association firm, so we are in the position to offer one-stop premium legal services to our clients. As such, the return of economic and travel activities brought several delegations of clients and our lawyers from our U.S., London, and mainland China offices to come back to Hong Kong in the last few months. These delegations are important for the legal work that we do for our clients. These activities help drive up demand for legal services for all our various practice areas in Hong Kong such as our cross-border corporate work, intellectual property, cross-border dispute resolution, and global wealth and assets management practices. BASIL HWANG, managing partner, Hauzen: Hong Kong’s economy has seen a rebound since the beginning of this year in the sectors hardest-hit by COVID – tourism, F&B, retail, consumer spending. ROUNDTABLE