Chinese firm Haiwen & Partners has recruited a new partner as it officially launches an office in Hong Kong.

Former Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton associate Max Hua joins as the firm’s fourth partner in Hong Kong. Hua advises corporate finance transactions, including Hong Kong listings and mergers and acquisitions. He joined Cleary in 2011 from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Hua is the latest addition to the newly opened Hong Kong office of Haiwen, a top corporate law firm in China. Haiwen announced plans to open in Hong Kong in January as it spun off capital markets partner Lu Guiping to start his own firm, Lu & Associates, and later enter an association with the Chinese firm .

Lu & Associates launched in February and focuses on corporate transactional work. In addition to Hua and Lu, who is a former Latham & Watkins counsel , partner Wu Zuolong, who joined the firm late last year from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati where he was an associate, advises on private equity-related deals. Haiwen Beijing partner Huang Lixin, a former Herbert Smith alumnus, has relocated to Hong Kong to be part of the firm there. In addition, former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer M&A associate Andrew Wood has started in the office as counsel .

Lu & Associates is now in the process of recruiting associates. The office is designed to have about five partners and 10 additional lawyers.

According to the Law Society of Hong Kong, 22 mainland firms are now in association with local Hong Kong firms. Those include top players Haiwen, Fangda Partners, Han Kun Law Offices, Jingtian & Gongcheng and Shanghai’s Llinks Law Offices. Local regulations require foreign firms to spend at least three years in association with a Hong Kong law firm before taking on their own local law practice. Others, including Zhong Lun Law Firm and JunHe, have merged with their respective associate firms.

Anna Zhang is based in Hong Kong, where she writes about the business of law and legal issues in Asia and Australia. Contact her at On Twitter: @annazhangc.