CLIENT SERVICES

Internet & Telecommunications

Overview

Across the globe, few areas of business have grown more vigorous and dynamic than the Internet sector and the mobile networks that drive so many aspects of our lives.

As the technological infrastructure used to host and carry out Internet and telecoms activities has been gradually transformed and further commercialized, government regulators have promulgated an expanse of novel, complicated (and often imperfect) legal frameworks aimed at addressing this industry’s issues. In the China market more than elsewhere, such laws and regulations have brought a uniquely rigid operating license landscape as well as a spate of related compliance concerns intersecting with some of the most sensitive priorities of the PRC government.

DaHui boasts a pre-eminent Internet and telecoms practice. Assisting clients in navigating this complex legal landscape is at the core of who we are as a law firm, and some of our most celebrated attorneys are first and foremost experts in this industry. In fact, several of our partners were among the first generation of lawyers in China to identify and develop their careers based on the boundless potential under the long-evolving regulatory framework that ultimately gave rise to China’s globally competitive Internet and telecoms businesses. As such, our deeply embedded attorneys have been “plugged in” to every development in this space over the past two decades, often playing a direct role in shaping the way that business goals are accomplished. Our experience enables us to provide context and clarity where, not infrequently, legal develops may engender confusion or often unnecessary alarm in the media or even markets.

We have carved out a reputation as a “go to” law firm for some of the world’s leading Internet companies in structuring entities, operations and offerings to serve the China market. Whether that means mitigating the risks of serving Chinese users from offshore or designing localizations capable of directly providing online services from onshore, many companies that offer some of the most recognizable online services in the world have specifically engaged DaHui to spearhead their China strategies, and our key to success in these matters is to provide pragmatic, commercially-minded legal advice: we understand that clients are not interested in being buried in long citations of (often inchoate) PRC legislation; instead, our work is tailored to lawfully accomplishing business goals in the China market, with actionable solutions that can be implemented to achieve such goals.

Both the most innovative Internet startups and established titans in the online business space are increasingly required to weave their operations around China’s uniquely rigid telecoms operating license regime, as well as new government initiatives regulating variable interest entities, blockchain technologies, the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and more. While formal legislation on these issues may be relatively slow-moving, the actual interpretations and regulatory enforcement practices of key regulators like the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and Cybersecurity Administration of China (CAC) are both agile and dynamic, even in the absence of published announcements or policy revisions.

While challenging, the regulatory framework continues to evolve and thus open doors to unmet opportunities: companies that place an emphasis on “doing things right” in China’s Internet and telecoms space stand to reap rewards where less vigilant competitors have become casualties of the changing environment. DaHui’s legal and technical fluency has made us a top choice of clients operating complex businesses in this industry, including clients directly involved in providing the web infrastructure that drives today’s Internet. Our practical advice in the face of intricate regulatory uncertainties and our ability to provide creative, risk-based approaches to doing business in China often allow our clients to perform frontier business and earn first-mover advantages in some of the most restricted areas of the Chinese Internet and telecoms industry.

Above all, DaHui’s Internet and telecoms team is comprised of problem solvers. Our competency in this space is routinely applied across-the-board to all matters we handle, from detecting latent risks in M&A deals involving Internet companies (and structuring solutions accordingly), through identifying operating license needs and overall compliance/hosting strategies in market entry matters, developing the plans and creating the vehicles for localizing online services and crafting comprehensive IP protection plans, to developing persuasive, technically sophisticated dispute resolution strategies. Wherever our clients’ legal needs intersect with Internet and telecoms issues, our team is ready and equipped to address every challenge.

Relevant Experience

21Vianet

Represented NASDAQ-listed 21Vianet (VNET), a leading carrier-neutral Internet data center services provider in China, in its over USD 60 million PIPE financing from Temasek, Kingsoft and Xiaomi.

Airbnb

Advised Airbnb China on restrictions and requirements on obtaining and maintaining licenses for its local business in strictly regulated sectors in China.

Alibaba Group

Provided numerous distinct businesses of Alibaba Group with IP due diligence, analyses and advice for its strategic investments, joint ventures and cooperation projects.

Alibaba Pics / Youku

Advised Alibaba Pics, the film offshoot of the world's largest e-commerce company, and sister company Youku, the prime Chinese video-hosting service, on hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars' worth of investments in film and entertainment companies, including Nice Film, PMF Pictures, Galaxy, New Power and Haima Qingfan.

ByteDance

Represented ByteDance, the Chinese multinational Internet technology company with a range of content platforms, in numerous lawsuits to protect its trademarks, patents, domain names, etc., including a strategic, precedent-setting litigation to recognize its key trademark “Douyin” (Chinese version of “TikTok”) as a well-known trademark.

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