02 Jan 2024

Rajah & Tann Expands Practice in China with Appointment of Veteran Lawyer, Amid Upgraded Trade Pact with Singapore

Rajah & Tann Singapore (R&T) has appointed Hew Kian Heong, a veteran China-based lawyer as international arbitration partner in a move to expand its practice in China amid the country’s recent signing of an upgraded trade pact with Singapore. 

Recognised as a leading lawyer in international construction and infrastructure disputes in China, Mr Hew brings with him more than 30 years of global experience. He has advised and represented major Chinese and international corporations on arbitrations, litigations and mediations in China, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Stockholm, Geneva, and London, and on projects stretching from Asia to South America. 

Mr Hew’s appointment is part of a larger plan by R&T to expand its presence in China as it celebrates the 20th anniversary of its Shanghai office. It also comes at a time when China and Singapore have taken their bilateral ties a notch higher with the recent signing of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. 

Under the latest changes, Singapore will be able to secure greater market access to China’s services sectors and Singapore investors and service suppliers will also enjoy more liberal and transparent rules that level the playing field for them to invest in and trade with China. 

Singapore and China will also put in place a mutual 30-day visa-free travel programme for their citizens from early next year. 

Patrick Ang, Managing Partner of R&T, said: “China will be an increasingly important market for Rajah & Tann and we have plans to deepen and broaden our presence there. 

“We are excited to have Kian Heong join the Rajah & Tann family. With his experience and expertise in representing Chinese state-owned enterprises in infrastructure projects and disputes outside China, and his practical knowledge of how to navigate a large and complex market like China, he will be a tremendous asset to our clients in and outside China.” 

Mr Hew will join R&T as a partner from 1 Jan 2024 and will be based in the firm’s China office. Before joining R&T, he was co-global practice leader of construction and infrastructure disputes at a large foreign international law firm based in Shanghai. Fluent in English, Mandarin and Cantonese, he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree from the National University of Singapore, and is qualified to practise in Singapore, Hong Kong, England & Wales. 

Mr Hew regularly lectures on PRC and international contract forms and construction law issues at seminars organised by the government, academic institutions and associations. He was appointed a Visiting Professor to the School of Civil Engineering at Tsinghua University in 2021 and regularly lectures on construction and arbitration law at the school.  

Mr Hew is a member of the China International Economic & Trade Arbitration Commission’s Panel of Arbitrators and has conducted CIETAC arbitrations both as counsel and arbitrator. He is also a member of the panel of arbitrators of the Beijing Arbitration Commission, the Shanghai International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission and Chinese Arbitration Association. He sits on the legal panel of China Association of International Engineering. 

Mr Hew said: “As a proud Singaporean, I am very excited to return to the fold of a Singapore law firm and doing my part for the Singapore legal fraternity. Being a leader in international arbitration, Rajah & Tann is well positioned to help Chinese clients resolve their cross-border disputes in the region and elsewhere.” 

R&T’s International Arbitration Practice is an award-winning practice that is amongst the largest and most successful in the world. Since 2008, R&T has been recognised as one of the top 100 arbitration practices in the world according to the Global Arbitration Review 100. The firm’s multi-disciplinary China Practice is also a winner of the Shipping category at the China Business Law Awards 2023 and was the winner of the Restructuring & Insolvency and Tax categories of the same awards in 2022.

About Rajah & Tann Asia – https://www.rajahtannasia.com/

Rajah & Tann Asia brings together leading law firms and lawyers in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam, with each offering the highest standards of service to locally-based clients while collectively having the capability to handle the most complex regional and cross-border transactions and to provide excellent legal counsel seamlessly across the region. With 970 fee earners, all working towards one shared goal, we are lawyers who know Asia and who give our clients home advantage.