KPMG launches legal services affiliate in Hong Kong, with Shanghai to follow

18 January 2019

KPMG has officially joined the primary Asian legal services fray with the launch of affiliate SF Lawyers in Hong Kong, with another law firm in Shanghai to follow.

Global professional services firm KPMG has announced its first foray into the epicenter of Asia’s increasingly competitive legal services market with the establishment of SF Lawyers in Hong Kong. Launched in association with KPMG Law in Australia, the firm’s new legal affiliate in Hong Kong effectively marks the conclusion of the first phase of the Big Four’s battle for a market foothold and ultimate quest for ascendancy.

To date, all of Deloitte, PwC and EY have launched similar entities in Singapore, Deloitte most recently with Sabara Law, with the latter pair expanding their personnel and services in Hong Kong of late and Deloitte to launch a 25 lawyer-strong practice in the territory imminently. While KPMG has yet to make its move in Singapore, the launch of SF Law rounds out the Big Four’s presence in the primary Asian markets.

With the Big Four market charge fueled by high-level poaching, such as PwC’s recruitment of high-profile corporate lawyer Rachel Eng from WongPartnership in Singapore, SF Law will reportedly operate with an initial team of four principals – led by Shirley Fu, who rejoins the firm from offshore provider Harneys after an earlier career stint as a tax consultant – with aims to grow the headcount to 20 by the end of this year.

And already, Fu has fired a gentle broadside to SF’s Big Four competitors, with respect to their recruitment from international legal firms. “[Some members of SF Lawyers] actually have been the users of legal services, so they can really understand the clients’ challenges and understand what the client really wants,” she reportedly “Our ultimate aim is to provide integrated legal solutions to clients, not just opinions.”KMPG launches legal services affiliate in Hong Kong, with Shanghai to follow

Fu will be initially joined by Rodney Chen, Leo Tian and David Murray, the latter who will transfer internally form a Head of Legal, Quality & Risk Management (Q&RM) role with KPMG China, where he has been based for the past six and a half years following an earlier six year stint as Senior Legal Counsel for Ernst & Young’s Oceania practice. Meanwhile, KPMG is preparing to expand its legal practice in China.

According to reports, the firm is set to launch a 25-lawyer firm In Shanghai before the year is out, which will include up to five partners and focus on areas such as mergers and acquisitions, commercial services, regulatory compliance and infrastructure, with China’s Belt & Road initiative and the need for legal and consulting services looming large. Presently, KPMG also has affiliated firms Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

On the subject of Singapore, KPMG’s head of legal for China and Hong Kong Lachlan Wolfers has contended that while being closely monitored there are no current immediate plans in place for a launch in the local jurisdiction, although he states that a successful move into Hong Kong and Shanghai will “give a lot of confidence around a proposition in Singapore.” Such a move however, would require the support of KPMG Singapore.

In addition to a focus on M&A, infrastructure projects and LegalTech services, KPMG Asia Pacific and China chairman Honson To said the new Hong Kong firm would “provide clients with global legal solutions, leveraging our legal services practices across 76 jurisdictions.” Altogether, KPMG has some 2,300 lawyers worldwide, with growth of about 40 percent in the Asia Pacific last year and plans to push to 3,000 globally in the coming years.

Related: Alternative legal services provider Axiom appoints Yolanda Chan as General Manager for Asia.


Infosys finalises joint venture in Japan with Hitachi and Panasonic

02 April 2019

Infosys has stepped up its presence in Japan through a joint venture with local firms Hitachi, Panasonic and Pasona, with the new company to focus of procurement solutions.

Originally announced in December, Indian IT services and consulting giant Infosys has finalised the formation of a joint venture in Japan with local multinational names Hitachi, Pansonsic and human capital firm Pasona, with Shinichiro Nagagata appointed as chief executive. The new entity – named HiPUS – will provide end-to-end digital procurement solutions for Japanese corporations.

The venture comes as a result of Infosys picking up an 81 percent stake in Hitachi Procurement Service, a fully owned Hitachi subsidiary formed in 2002 which handles indirect materials purchasing functions for the Hitachi Group, with Panasonic and Pasona brought on board for 2 percent each. HiPUS will remain headquartered in Tokyo, and kick off with an initial headcount of 200-plus people.

Described as a coming together of complementary, iconic companies, the move is a strategic effort on behalf of Infosys to enhance its presence in Japan, and follows a similar agreement with state investment firm Temasek made in Singapore last year – where it is focusing on cloud computing, data analytics, AI and automation. The Japanese market, however, has shaped the firm’s latest country push.Infosys finalises joint venture in Japan with Hitachi and Panasonic“Procurement is a big focus area for manufacturing & hi-tech clients which Japan is known for,” said Infosys president Ravi Kumar. “All large corporations in Japan will go through significant procurement spend, and we believe this joint venture will deliver to the promise of transforming their procurement processes using next-generation digital platforms, as we bring together the combined power of deep procurement expertise, technology, global expertise and local skills.”

According to the firms, the complementary mix includes Infosys’ global expertise in procurement processes, consulting, analytics and digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence and robotic process automation, with Hitachi and Panasonic’s knowledge of their procurement functions and local teams and Pasona’s human capital and local business process management (BPM) networks.

In addition to BPM, HiPUS will introduce BPO (business process outsourcing) services to customers in areas such as procurement and purchasing operations, as well as provide training services in procurement and a broad range of further lines in consulting, reverse auctions and other purchasing schemes – with the aim of generating revenues upwards of $3.5 billion in 2021.

“We are delighted to build this new partnership, combining strengths and unlocking potential of Infosys, Panasonic, and Pasona,” said Masashi Murayama, Hitachi’s Chief Procurement Officer. “The procurement functions role is critical to Hitachi’s success, and this partnership will strengthen Hitachi Procurement’s global competitiveness with new operating models, and high quality delivery at speed enabled by digital technologies.”

Related: Infosys appoints heavyweight Mark Livingston as new head of consulting