2020 Year in Review

The last 12 months have seen an unprecedented number of events around the world. Primary, the ongoing pandemic disrupted contemporary life and caused major economic consequences for businesses across the globe. With governments around the world, implementing measures to stabilise the economy and minimise redundancy, Horizons leveraged a global network of experts to assist clients. In China alone, the Horizons team recovered an estimated 855,224,357 EURO for foreign entities – which is approximately 3 million EURO per company.

For Horizons and its direct country partners, the year was filled with new developments and strengthened teamwork. Through the unprecedented challenges, Horizons sharpened expertise and forged new foundations, below is a review of 2020 for Horizons.

1. Implementing the Foreign Investment Law of the People’s Republic of China (“FIL”)

The FIL became effective from 1 January 2020 and marked a new era for foreign investment in China. With the FIL uniting all foreign direct investment under one regulatory framework, established foreign companies in China have a 5-year transition period from 1 January 2020 to comply with the FIL and related regulations and rules. Horizons has been keeping abreast of local implementations of the FIL and working with clients to implement the changes smoothly within the foreign subsidiaries, as well as ensuring all employees are aware of changes. Specifically, for equity joint ventures, since all foreign entities are governed by the Company Law of the People’s Republic of China, corporate governance is subject to changes before the five year-transition. (For more information on the FIL, please see the article)  

2. Horizons Crisis Services

As many companies faced both immediate and long-term COVID-19 challenges, Horizons established a specialised package ‘crisis services’ to assist companies. The crisis services were based on four pillars to stabilise enterprises during the pandemic and included

  • Knowing employer obligations for protecting employees in the workplace
  • Moving to stabilise cash flow, logistics and staff shortages
  • Protecting your foreign-invested business now and post COVID-19
  • Leveraging earmarked financial loans for the long term

Working with  direct country partners, Horizons successfully provided corporate solutions for foreign companies in China to weather the storm. Specifically, our clients in China are thriving due to the safety procedures established in the resumption of work and securing tax incentives. With a predicted two predict growth rate for 2020 and 7.9 per cent in 2021, in contrast to the economic contracts in other APAC countries by the World Bank Asia Pacific, many foreign entities in China end 2020 with profitability. Our teams actively supported as a pro bono activity 283 Small and Medium Enterprises to resume operations according to the law and with the minimum cost.

3. Launching webinars

In the pandemic, social-distancing and lockdowns accelerated the use of technology. At Horizons, we made a concerted effort to strengthen digital marketing and social presence. The potential of new technologies was not overlooked, as we launched several webinar series with cross-industry partners or chambers of commerce. On average, each webinar drew over 50 attendees, and our topic covered both China inbound and outbound investment to several jurisdictions where we operate directly. The webinars attracted not only existing contacts but also increased corporate image and recognition. For 2021, the Horizons team have already planned several webinars, so do check the Horizons LinkedIn page for updates)

4. Pro-bono visa online consultation

From 28 March 2020, foreign nationals holding valid and residence permits were temporarily forbidden to enter China in the face of COVID-19. As a result, many foreign nationals were temporarily caught aboard or required information to temporarily extend their visa in China. Horizons’ consultants during the past months offered pro bono online consultation sessions for individuals with visa enquires. Overall, we provide consultation to over 900 individuals, guiding them through the local and national measures for foreign nationals.

5. China International Import Expo

Horizons was invited to participate in the third China International Import Expo (“CIIE”) as an exhibitor. Despite the ongoing pandemic, the CIIE attracted nearly 400,000 professional visitors, 72.2 billion worth of intended deals were signed, and around 100 events were held. For Horizons and its direct country partners, the CIIE resulted in stronger cross-industry partnerships and recognition as a leading cross-border corporate advisory. Noticeably, Horizons’ understanding of corporate challenges in inbound and outbound investment in China generated significant interest. Many welcomed Horizons’ focus on providing practical and ‘real world’ corporate solutions as an innovative approach amidst a sea of corporate jargon. (For more information about CIIE 2020, please see the article)

6. Global Recognition    

In the latter half of 2020, Horizons accumulated three awards from two prestigious publishers.

  • Corporate Advisory Firm of the Year, 2020 by Corporate Livewire.
  • Best International Corporate Advisory, 2020 by APAC Insider
  • Leading Specialist in Transnational Corporate Transactions 2020 by APAC Insider

The awards reflect the firm’s solid achievement during a volatile year. With almost 40-year experience in serving clients to establish successful frameworks in corporate structures, merger and acquisitions, legal, global taxation, as well daily corporate life cycle, Horizons have accumulated resources, know-how and finesse to help businesses worldwide. Horizons thanks both APAC Insider and Corporate Livewire for such recognition and believe the awards are an excellent end to 2020 and beginning to 2021.

2020 has significantly disrupted industries across the globe. The economic impacts of the ongoing pandemic will impact 2021. For Horizons, 2020 has been a year of opportunity and development; the team has grasped the challenges and steered through the stormy seas. Our service approach of ‘one team, one focal point, one purpose’ remains more imperative within the current climate, as the Horizons team, with our global network of experts, remain committed to safeguarding clients comprehensively on local, national and international level.