Urumqi Law Firm Expands

Color me shocked that Coming Anarchy’s favorite regional Chinese capital has a law firm going international, and into the wilds of Central Asia of all places.

Urumqi legal market evolving as cross-border trade flows

In preparation for the flourishing of cross-border trade, Xinjiang Gonglian, a law firm based in Urumqi, the capital of China’s northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, is now busy preparing for a branch office in Bishkek, the capital city of neighbouring Kyrgyzstan. The new office is expected to open in May 2009. Gonglian will be the first PRC law firm established in Kyrgyzstan.

In the past few years, the legal market has been growing rapidly in Urumqi, the most inland city in the world. By the end of 2008, Urumqi had more than 600 lawyers in 57 firms, a dramatic increase compared to the 1980s, when there were only 20 lawyers…

In 2008 alone, Xinjiang’s total import and export levels hit a historical high, exceeding US$22bn. Regarded as the bridgehead for trade ties with Central Asia, Xinjiang’s trade dominates the mid- and west-China regions, and ranks number 11 in trade among all China’s provinces.

The autonomous region borders eight countries – Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India – and trade ties have been established with more than 100 countries and regions. There are approximately 6,000 trading companies in Xinjiang, most of which are headquartered in Urumqi…

“International companies are starting to show their interest in Xinjiang, and many companies from Japan, Germany, Italy, South Korea and the US hope to use Xinjiang as a springboard for entering central Asia,” said Zhang Jianwu. “But for us, as a local inland firm, we’ll try to use our geographic and language advantages to shine in the regional market, rather than trying to expand to south or east China where the legal market is more competitive.”

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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4 Responses to Urumqi Law Firm Expands

  1. ElamBend says:

    Warren Zevon knew something of “this.”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5puAN1PGQw

    The song title accurately describes the role of lawyers in countries where the rule of law is sometimes tenuous and the possibility that the $-it will hit the fan is strong.

  2. Darin says:

    Well they certainly look respectable based on their awesome website.
    http://www.gonglian.net/

  3. Roy Berman says:

    It actually makes perfect sense considering Xinjiang’s role in regional commerce.

  4. ElamBend says:

    I’ve seen in the US that regional development is usually lead by the local law firms and banks. When the big guys come in, the heavy lifting has already been done. This is a good thing for central Asia.