This week I am in Beijing meeting with colleagues at Wolters Kluwer China, some of our expert Chinese authors, partners and customers. There are interesting trends in China that are affecting legal practitioners around the world. It is well known that for decades foreign direct investment into China has been increasing. But outbound investment from China to fund projects and acquisitions in other countries is also increasing. In fact, an article from China Daily noted that by 2015 it is foreseeable that the amount of Chinese outbound investment will equal the amount of foreign direct investment into China.
Expanding Chinese foreign investment drives market
The legal system helps investors predict the consequences of their actions. Naturally, it is impossible to have 100% certainty. But it is clear that a knowledge of the law will help investors allocate their investments wisely. For example, one country’s labor laws might be more consistent with an investor’s goal for a particular investment than another. So Chinese legal professionals who advise Chinese clients about their investments need to be able to understand the laws and legal systems of the countries receiving the investments. Many Chinese lawyers have studied abroad and are fluent in English. But with Chinese as their native language, access to foreign legal content translated into Chinese makes advising their clients more efficient. Wolters Kluwer has the global legal content but generally it has been in English. That is going to change.
China’s Commercial Press & Wolters Kluwer team up
China’s first print publisher, Commercial Press, was established in 1897 with the purpose of translating foreign laws into Chinese specifically for this purpose. On August 30, 2010, Wolters Kluwer’s CEO, Nancy McKinstry, Shasha Chang, Wolters Kluwer China’s CEO, and Mr. Yu Dianli, Commercial Press’ President, signed a strategic partnership agreement at the 2010 Beijing International Book Fair. That agreement made possible a another partnership agreement that was signed this week, on November 30, 2010, during my visit to Beijing (you can see the photo here). This agreement provides Commercial Press with translation rights for several labor law and social security law titles from two business units of Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, Aspen Publishers and Kluwer Law International. Commercial Press will translate these titles into Chinese and thereby enable their content to help Chinese legal professionals advise their clients more efficiently. For me this is an historic moment.