Christopher Betts primarily focuses on China-related capital markets, M&A transactions and general corporate advice.

Bio

Mr. Betts has advised on numerous “first-of-their-kind” deals, utilizing his many years of experience to develop outside-the-box, effective solutions for clients. He is the first lawyer to have advised on the full spectrum of Hong Kong listings, from the first two companies to list with dual-class share structures, to biotech companies, secondary listings of both Greater China and non-Greater China issuers, Hong Kong depositary receipt listings, spin-offs and debt listings. He also advises companies on rights issues, placings and other fundraising activities, takeovers, and mergers and acquisitions.

Mr. Betts has been named a leading lawyer for capital markets work in Hong Kong and China by Chambers Global, Chambers Asia and IFLR1000. He also was named one of Law360’s 2015 Rising Stars under 40 for capital markets.

Mr. Betts’ experience includes the following:

Capital Markets:

Mr. Betts led the landmark US$5.4 billion IPO of Xiaomi and the subsequent US$4.2 billion IPO of Meituan Dianping (the first, and only two, completed deals with dual-class share structures in Hong Kong). He also advised BeiGene on its US$903 million IPO (Hong Kong’s largest-ever biotechnology IPO to date and the first-ever dual primary listing of a Nasdaq-listed biotechnology company), and in the space of a week in June 2020, advised on the two biggest IPOs in Hong Kong to date in 2020: NetEase’s US$3.1 billion IPO and JD.com’s US$3.9 billion IPO.

Mr. Betts also is particularly well-known in the education industry for having pioneered a number of leading deals in Hong Kong, including:

Education

  • China Maple Leaf Educational Systems Limited in its US$124 million Hong Kong IPO, the first-ever education IPO in Hong Kong;
  • China YuHua Education Corporation Limited in its:
    • US$198 million Hong Kong IPO and subsequent US$120 million capital raising; and
    • HK$ 940 million (US$ 120 million) offering of 3.00% convertible bonds due 2020 and its subsequent offering of US$300 million convertible bonds due 2024.
  • Koolearn Technology Holding Limited (China) in its HK$1.6 billion Hong Kong IPO;
  • Edvantage Group Holdings Limited (China) in its HK$765 million Hong Kong IPO;
  • China Education Group Holdings in its US$430 million Hong Kong IPO;
  • China Chunlai Education Group Co., Ltd. in its US$80 million Hong Kong IPO;
  • the underwriters in the US$408 million Hong Kong IPO of Hope Education Group Co., Ltd.; and
  • the underwriters in the US$107 million Hong Kong IPO of Wisdom Education International Holdings Company Limited (China).

Other fields Mr. Betts has significant experience in include:

Biotechnology and Health Care

  • BeiGene, Ltd. (China) in its:
    • US$903 million Hong Kong IPO. This is Hong Kong’s largest-ever biotechnology IPO to date and is also the first-ever dual primary listing of a Nasdaq-listed biotechnology company; and
    • collaboration agreement with Amgen to jointly develop a pipeline of 20 oncology products, which included the sale by BeiGene of a 20.5% stake to Amgen for US$2.7 billion;
  • the underwriters in the US$589 million Hong Kong IPO of Pharmaron Beijing Company;
  • the underwriters in the US$285 million Hong Kong IPO of CStone Pharmaceuticals;
  • 3SBio Inc. in its US$819 million Hong Kong IPO;
  • the underwriters in the US$135 million Hong Kong IPO of Modern Dental Group Limited;
  • the sole sponsor, sole global coordinator, sole bookrunner and sole lead manager in the US$47 million Hong Kong IPO of Sinco Pharmaceuticals Holdings Limited;
  • Guangdong Kanghua Healthcare Co., Ltd. in its US$114 million Hong Kong IPO;

Technology

  • Xiaomi Corporation (China) in its:
    • US$5.4 billion Hong Kong IPO. This was named as the 2018 Equity Deal of the Year at the 2019 IFLR Asia-Pacific Awards and one of Asian-MENA Counsel magazine’s Deals of the Year for 2018; and
    • US$600 million Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of 3.375% senior notes due 2030;
  • Meituan Dianping (China) in its US$4.2 billion Hong Kong IPO;
  • JD.com, Inc. (China) in its US$3.9 billion secondary listing of new ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. This is the largest global offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange so far in 2020;
  • NetEase, Inc. (China) in its US$3.1 billion secondary listing of new ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange;
  • China Literature Limited in its spin-off from Tencent Holdings Limited (China), via a US$1.06 billion Hong Kong IPO. This deal was named Best IPO for 2017 by FinanceAsia magazine and Equity Deal of the Year for 2017 at the IFLR Asia Awards 2018;
  • Meitu, Inc. in its US$630 million Hong Kong IPO;
  • Cogobuy Group in its US$177 million Hong Kong IPO;
  • Ourgame International Holdings Limited in its US$107 million Hong Kong IPO;

Telecommunications

  • China Telecom in its US$1.51 billion IPO and dual listing on the Hong Kong and New York stock exchanges;
  • China Unicom in its US$4.9 billion IPO and dual listing on the Hong Kong and New York stock exchanges;
  • the US$1.73 billion post-IPO global offering of H shares and American depositary receipts by China Telecom;

Consumer

  • Fast Retailing, the Japan-based operator of the UNIQLO retail clothing brand, in its listing of Hong Kong depositary receipts on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the first listing under the joint policy statement on the listing of overseas companies issued by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Securities and Futures Commission;
  • the spin-off from Far East Consortium and US$153 million Hong Kong IPO of Kosmopolito Hotels;
  • the underwriters in the US$1 billion global IPO and Hong Kong IPO of Air China;
  • the underwriters in the US$203 million Hong Kong IPO of China Mengniu Dairy;

Banking, Insurance and Financial Services

  • China Renaissance Holdings Limited (China) in its US$350 million Hong Kong IPO;
  • VCREDIT Holdings Limited in its US$163 million Hong Kong IPO;
  • ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co., Ltd. in its US$1.525 billion Hong Kong IPO, which was the world’s first “insuretech” public offering and the largest technology IPO in Hong Kong in 2017;
  • the US$9.2 billion global rights issue by China Construction Bank, the largest-ever rights issue by an Asian issuer;
  • Yixin Group Limited in its spin-off from Bitauto Holdings Limited (China) via a US$870 million Hong Kong IPO;
  • Far East Horizon in its US$757 million Hong Kong IPO and subsequent US$371 million placing of new shares;
  • econtext Asia Limited in its US$66 million Hong Kong IPO and spin-off from Tokyo-listed Digital Garage, Inc.;

Real Estate

  • E-House (China) Enterprise Holdings Ltd. in its US$591 million Hong Kong IPO;
  • the underwriters in the US$122 million Hong Kong IPO of Beijing Capital Land Limited;

Industrials

  • JP Morgan on the listing of Hong Kong depositary receipts on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange by Vale S.A., the first-ever Hong Kong depositary receipt listing and awarded Equity Deal of the Year by IFLR;
  • the underwriters in the US$503 million Hong Kong IPO of Sinotrans Limited;
  • the underwriters in the US$69 million Hong Kong IPO of China Hengshi Foundation Company Limited;
  • the underwriters in the US$90 million Hong Kong IPO of China Metal Resources Utilization Limited;
  • the underwriters in the US$147 million Hong Kong IPO of China Hanking Group;
  • the underwriters in the US$135 million Hong Kong IPO of Tianjin Port Development Limited, a spin-off from Tianjin Development;

Mergers and Acquisitions:

  • Yixin Group in the possible mandatory general offer by a Tencent-led consortium to acquire all of the issued share capital not currently owned by it triggered by the “chain principle” under the Hong Kong Takeovers Code;
  • Auchan Retail S.A. in Alibaba’s US$2.88 billion investment in Auchan’s Hong Kong-listed subsidiary Sun Art Retail Group Ltd, and a strategic alliance between Auchan, Alibaba and Ruentex Group. This transaction was named M&A Deal of the Year at the 2018 China Law & Practice Awards;
  • Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. in its proposed, but terminated, unsolicited acquisition of Yingde Gases Group Company Limited (Hong Kong);
  • Tencent Holdings Limited, as part of an investor group including Huayi Brothers and other investors, in its US$69 million acquisition of a 51% interest in China Jiuhao Health Industry Corporation Limited;
  • China YuHua Education Corporation Limited in its US$218 million acquisition of Hunan International Economics University from Laureate Education;
  • China YuHua Education Corporation Limited in its US$212 million acquisition of Shandong Yingcai University;
  • Koolearn Technology Holding Limited in its acquisition of the remaining 49% equity interest in Dongfang Youbo for approximately RMB 94 million (US$13.4 million);
  • Ourgame International on the spin-off of its Allied Esports and World Poker Tour businesses by way of disposal to Nasdaq-listed Black Ridge Acquisition Corp (BRAC) at a valuation of up to US$203 million, pursuant to which BRAC became a subsidiary of Ourgame;
  • Morgan Stanley, UBS and CICC as financial advisors in the US$8.2 billion acquisition of additional fixed line networks by China Telecom from China Telecommunications Corporation;
  • China Telecom in its US$10 billion acquisition of fixed line networks from China Telecommunications Corporation;
  • the controlling shareholders of Ourgame International Holdings Limited, a leading online card games and board games operator, in the US$178 million sale of a 29% stake to Beijing iRena Culture Co., Ltd.;
  • Digital Garage, Inc. (Japan), an online media company, in connection with the sale of shares in its subsidiary econtext Asia Limited (Hong Kong), a provider of secure online payment services, to three Japanese credit card-issuing companies;
  • Ning Hao and Xu Zheng, Chinese film directors, in their US$88 million joint acquisition with a third investor of a controlling stake in 21 Holdings Limited (Hong Kong), a provider of property agency services;
  • Recruit Holdings Co., Limited, the largest HR-related services company in Japan, in the acquisition by its subsidiary, RGF Hong Kong Ltd., of the remaining shares of Bo Le Associates Group Limited, Asia’s largest executive search company;
  • Yixin Capital Limited, a subsidiary of Bitauto Holdings Limited, in a US$587 million strategic investment by Bitauto, Tencent Holdings Limited, China Orient Asset Management Co., Ltd. and Wei Wang; and
  • Capital Environment Holdings Limited in its US$230 million acquisition of a 51% stake in BCG NZ Investment Holdings Limited, which owns and operates the largest waste management business in New Zealand.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Betts was a partner in the Hong Kong office of a major international law firm and, before that, was associate general counsel for McKinsey & Company, advising on a broad range of legal and risk management issues across the Asia Pacific region. He began his career in the Hong Kong office of another major international law firm in 2000 and has spent over 20 years in China/Hong Kong. Mr. Betts speaks fluent Mandarin and is a professionally accredited translator of Chinese.

Credentials

Education

  • LL.B.(Hons), Melbourne Law School, 1999
  • B.A. (Chinese), University of Melbourne, 1999

Admissions

  • Hong Kong

Languages

  • Mandarin

Christopher W. Betts