Mayer Brown appoints Hannah Ha as Asia chair

As a representative of the US law firm's regional effort, Hannah Ha shares her thoughts on the deal activity we can expect from Hong Kong and China in months to come.

This month, US-headquartered law firm, Mayer Brown, announced the ascent of Hong Kong-based partner, Hannah Ha, to chair its Asia board.

The appointment marks Ha’s contribution to the firm, where she has worked for the past 17 and a half years and has served as partner within its corporate and securities practice, since 2006. The announcement coincides with the company’s 160th anniversary in the special administrative region (SAR) and follows Ha’s recent addition to its eight-member global management committee.

As a member of the firm's regional board, Ha succeeds Duncan Abate, who remains a partner within the law firm’s Asian Employment and Benefits practice.

Discussing the trends she observes across Hong Kong and China-based dealmaking, Ha told FinanceAsia, “While investors in Hong Kong are still adopting a cautious approach, the common sentiment is that the IPO market will recover in the second half of this year – particularly in the life sciences and technology sectors.”

“The pipeline is there, but it is just a question of getting the timing right.”

Although Asia’s capital markets are yet to display fervent rebound, Ha is hopeful that China will lead the bounce back.

“Globally, M&A activity is down by around 40% compared to the same period in 2022,” she said, noting a reflection in Asia’s local markets. 

“All eyes remain on China and the hope that cross-border transactions will return to a pre-pandemic level, although perhaps with a shift in emphasis from a sector and market perspective.”

Ha sees most transactional opportunity for the region across the Chemicals, Energy and Technology Media and Telecoms (TMT) sectors, with particular potential to be witnessed the renewables space.
These areas, she explained, indicate “broader trends relating to alternative energy sources and digital transformation.”

Probed further on whether the region’s IPO landscape is likely to change following Hong Kong’s recent introduction of its Chapter 18C regime, Ha responded, “We are yet to see a tangible impact upon market activity, but it will undoubtedly facilitate the much hoped for recovery in the second half of this year where it seems that technology companies will be prominent.”

“I’m fully supportive of the introduction of Chapter 18C and I think it has been a very sensible move by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX).”

In her new managerial capacity, Ha will work closely alongside the firm’s regional senior partner, Terence Tung. In addition to her new responsibilities, she will continue her work as a China-Appointed Attesting Officer and a Notary Public in Hong Kong.

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