Livia reflects on her week in Shanghai and the “Law and Business in China” Module

Sep 24 2019


By Livia Graf


The flight was long and the plane was full. The anxiety took hold of me by going to a country, which I would have never imagined visiting - the most populous country in the world – China. Executive M.B.L. - HSG gave me the opportunity to realise a dream of discovering a new culture combined with a topic that has always interested me - Law and Business in China. When I arrived everything I imagined was real. Lots of people, lots of lights, people who despite not speaking English, always tried their best to get the communication going smoothly. The experience of studying in China was absolutely enriching in every way!


The venue where the  classes had taken place was at Fudan University School of Management, the first higher education institution to establish the educational system of Business Administration, the century-old Fudan University launched its business discipline as early as in 1917, and later set up School of Business in 1929. But the management education was suspended in 1952, when the waves of restructuring hit all the universities and colleges nationwide. After China started to implement the reform and opening-up policy, Fudan University took the lead to resume the management education, and started to enroll undergraduates for Management discipline in 1977. The University later set up the Department of Management Science in 1979 and finally re-established School of Management in 1985.


On the first day we had the pleasure to be introduced to the theoretical content in a Chinese and globally related context by Professor Allen Chan (Managing Director at LGT Investment Management (Asia) Ltd., Hong Kong and Senior Financial Consultant to the President of the Fudan University) and Elliot Papageorgiou, (Partner, Clyde & Co), followed by Li Chen, who started the course with a comprehensive overview of the political, economic, social and legal history and recent development of China, with a focus on the roots as well as internal and external influences of the Chinese Legal System, which is defined by the government as a “socialist legal system.” Despite the official definition, however, China’s legal system is based primarily on the model of Civil Law. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China is the highest law within China. 

Mr. Chan kindly invited the class to experiencing the traditional Chinese and Shanghai cuisine as a lunch break surprisein a typical restaurant with full of taste diversity and a charming atmosphere. After this magnificent experience, we finished the day learning about branding and marketing in China with Professor Campbell Jordan, founder of Verve International. It unequivocally demonstrated that a successful business plan in China requires a much stronger brand and risk awareness than anywhere else in the world.

The second day, started with our chairman Elliot awaiting us together with Hardy Zhou (Partner at Baker & McKenzie in Shanghai) and Nancy Lai (Partner at Baker & McKenzie in Shanghai) for a lecture of “Accounting and Taxation” and “Intellectual Property”, having the chairman as the tutor. A vivid introduction into the tax and legal implications of investments in China and the specialties of cross-border transactions. During the afternoon we got to know in depth how Intellectual Property works in China. In the evening I went to a restaurant in the “French Concession”, a distinctive district of Shanghai reminiscent of the French settlements agreed on in the 1850s by the French Consul of Shanghai.

Wednesday morning started with a topic of particular interest to me - Labour and Social Security Law, lectured by Professor Ralph Koppitz (Chief Representative of the Taylor Wessing Shanghai office) with comprehensive and stringent rules covering everything from hiring to termination, an employment relationship to creating new mechanisms in addition to these statutory mechanisms. For instance, the conditions under which the employer may unilaterally terminate the labour relationship are stipulated by law. Even if no relevant provisions are stipulated in the labour contract, the employer may unilaterally terminate the labour relationship according to the law. On the contrary, if the conditions for termination in the labour contract are inconsistent with the law, the relevant contractual provisions are invalid. The afternoon was concluded with a lecture by Sunny Yip (Director of Forensic & Risk Advisory Services, FTI Consulting) on White Collar Crime Prevention, Fraud Investigation, and Crisis Mitigation.

The Thursday morning lecture on “M&A in China and beyond” and Chinese Corporate Law by Mrs. Michele Gon, who provided us with the insight of the tremendous progress that the Chinese government has been putting legislation in place to govern private commercial activities, including a series of laws and implementing rules applicable to the different types of FIEs, promulgating legislation specific to M&A activities, most notably in this regard, the Ministry of Commerce (“MOC”), the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (“SAIC”), the State Administration of Taxation, and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange issued the Provisional Regulation on Foreign Investors Merging with or Acquiring Domestic Enterprises (the “M&A Regulation”). The M&A Regulation represents an important development for China M&A and introduces a number of important breakthroughs.

In the evening we went for dinner at a typical Chinese restaurant with live performance, followed by the boat trip with breathtaking views of the lit up 24 hour city.


On the last day, we started ourOn the last day, we started our last lecture of this module with Zhang Xiaorong (Associate Professor of the Department of Finance, Fudan School of Management) with the topic “Currency policies” in China. Before the lunch break, Tina took us to the most amazing experience of my life career – the visit of Chinese court. It was sophisticated, efficient and most modern system I have ever seen. After lunch we split into working groups, which were defined before the start of the module to prepare their particular presentations to be held in the afternoon, on either of the pre-defined subjects: “China Competition Policy”, “Civil Litigation in the Chinese Legal System”, “Chinese Tax & Accounting”, “China’s Position within international Bodies”, “Foreign Investment in China” and “Intellectual Property in China” and everyone accomplished the given tasks very well.

I would like to thank the university and all the people involved, for the opportunity to learn and to explore and once more emphasize that the experience of studying in China was absolutely enriching in every way!