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Firms Add Prominent E-Discovery and Forensics Professionals from Deloitte and Alcatel-Lucent;
Introduce New Hardware and Software Tools to Streamline Data Collections and Enhance Analysis

MWE China Law Offices, together with its strategic ally, McDermott Will and Emery, is expanding its industry-leading MWE China Data Center to provide a fuller range of sophisticated legal and forensic technology services.

The groundbreaking Data Center – the first full law firm discovery platform in China – was opened in 2014 as a new extension into data and technology services, continuing MWE China’s innovations in the market.  The unique Data Center is designed, operated and staffed by locally licensed lawyers with a focus on finding and delivering legal value inside of large data sets and helping clients navigate China’s challenging data privacy and security laws.

The MWE China Data Center has recently expanded through new e-discovery and forensic hardware and software tools to meet the emerging data needs of multinational companies in China. Local data protection laws are evolving rapidly and have critical implications for the way companies undertake business deals and commercial matters as well as financial audits, corporate due diligence, litigation, and especially sensitive investigations and government enforcement matters that demand rapid reviews of large amounts of electronically stored information.

As a primary focus, the Data Center is expanding its core team of locally qualified reviewer attorneys to meet the continuously growing market demand for document review and evidence analysis by Chinese lawyers.  In addition to the growth of the core review team, McDermott and MWE China have also hired two highly experienced e-discovery and forensic professionals to further strengthen the leadership and provide deeper technical expertise and experience. Mark Schroeder, who recently joined from his role as Associate Director of Deloitte China, has been named Foreign Consultant. Eric Dai, previously Manager of Legal and Compliance at Alcatel-Lucent as well as Senior Consultant for Forensic Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers, has been named Compliance Advisor.

Mr. Schroeder, who has worked in China since 2002, has deep compliance, policy and FCPA/anti-corruption investigations experience utilizing digital forensics and e-discovery.  He combines his legal and commercial background with more than twenty years of consulting for multinational corporations and Chinese organizations focusing on compliance and business issues. He earned his law degree, Certified Fraud Examiner certification and Hong Kong mediation license while working in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.

Mr. Dai’s practice has focused mainly on regulatory compliance, FCPA/anti-corruption investigations, fraud detection, forensic accounting, e-discovery and white collar crime. At Alcatel-Lucent, he was responsible for identifying potential areas of compliance vulnerabilities and evaluating risks in order to develop and implement corrective action plans, as well as drafting and updating local compliance policies to meet global requirements. At PwC, he provided forensic services to clients – including digital evidence collections, forensic accounting, fraud investigation and fraud prevention – in a wide range of industries.

In addition to these significant new hires, the MWE China Data Center is also continuing the expansion of its technology through new hardware and software tools.  Most significantly, the Data Center has added full data collections capabilities, which now enables the team to complete the entire lifecycle of the projects, from the initial collection through the processing, review, analysis, and onto the final production or report.  In addition to this major advancement, the core technology is also being upgraded and scaled to accommodate larger cases, new visualization and investigative tools are being adopted to more quickly and accurately conduct trend analysis and find key red flags, and new forensic software is now available for deep metadata analysis, deleted file recovery, and improved fraud detection.

These important new additions and improvements will allow the MWE China Data Center to continue leading the market in data-related legal services.  The Firm’s successes in this area over the past few years have included:

  • Guiding a leading technology company through a massive cross-border e-discovery matter that required review, analysis, and production for a U.S. litigation case involving more than one million documents that were collected from more than one hundred custodians in China.
  • Finding, organizing, and analyzing critical digital evidence for a global manufacturer ensnared in one of China’s largest recent government investigations, and proving rapid fact-finding and defense reviews for the subsequent criminal trial.
  • Conducting metadata and forensic analysis to evaluate whistleblower claims against the top local management of a large multinational European company, resulting in crucial findings that led to significant terminations for fraud and embezzlement.
  • Devising and implementing a unique and flexible evidence production protocol to help facilitate the cross-border provision of key electronic documents in one of the largest recent FCPA cases.
  • Investigating multiple claims of FCPA violations by local management and efficiently guiding a leading healthcare company through major subpoenas by the U.S. government for documents and data in China, while still complying with local data privacy and data export restrictions.
  • Advising dozens of clients for critical data privacy, data security, and data transfer concerns for their growing business needs in China.

“Our recent enhancements to the MWE China Data Center are designed to shepherd clients through commercial and corporate work in the PRC, a legal environment unlike any other,” said Jeffrey E. Stone, co-chair of McDermott Will & Emery. “Whether that means more efficient due diligence for M&A deals, more accurate analysis for white-collar and government investigations enforcement actions, or more sophisticated privacy and data protection measures, MWE China can do it all in a way that no other law firm operating in China can.  We are enormously proud of what we’ve been able to build here.”

Unlike other service providers in China that are not law firms, the unique MWE China Data Center is staffed and managed by PRC-qualified attorneys. As a law firm, MWE China has a heightened duty of confidentiality and specific legal ethics rules that require it to protect its clients’ confidential and sensitive information at a level that is over and above its competitors. MWE China Data Center’s role as a trusted legal advisor allows it to seamlessly integrate knowledge and analysis produced during document review into any subsequent legal work led by the broader MWE China team.

“Virtually every business, from startups to multinationals, has come to depend on electronic storage to achieve greater levels of efficiency, information management, profitability and competitive advantage,” said John Z.L. Huang, Managing Partner of MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai. “We are dedicated to working with our clients to establish appropriate and secure asset management, protection and disposal strategies that can be easily implemented at every point in the information chain. We also help clients prevent potential data leakage during data or hardware disposal, enabling them to avoid the financial penalties, lost business opportunities, reputational damage and other consequences that can be the result of lost or stolen information.”

“MWE’s China Data Center is among the most advanced, resource-rich destinations for helping international companies navigate China’s complex data security regime in a variety of contexts,” adds Leon C.G. Liu, who is responsible for overseeing the work of the Center. “Our Data Center provides uniquely advantageous insights for transactions, due diligence, investigations and prosecutions, regulatory reviews and normal course of business with employees and stakeholders in this country.”

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Japan’s jobless rate seen up in January due to COVID-19 emergency measures – Reuters poll



Japan's jobless rate seen up in January due to COVID-19 emergency measures - Reuters poll 1

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s jobless rate is expected to have edged up in January as service industry businesses suffered renewed restrictions on movement to fight spread of the coronavirus in some areas, including Tokyo, a Reuters poll of economists showed on Friday.

While industrial production activity picked up in Japan, emergency curbs rolled out last month such as asking restaurants to close early and suspending the national travel campaign hurt the jobs market, analysts said.

The nation’s unemployment rate likely rose 3.0% in January, up from 2.9% in December, the poll of 15 economists found.

The jobs-to-applicants ratio, a gauge of the availability of jobs, was seen at 1.06 in January, unchanged from December, but stayed near September’s seven-year low of 1.03, the poll showed.

“As the impact from the coronavirus pandemic prolongs, it is hard for firms, especially the service sector, to expect their business profits to improve,” said Yusuke Shimoda, senior economist at Japan Research Institute.

“So, their willingness to hire employees appear to be subdued and it is difficult to see the jobs market recovering soon.”

Some analysts also said the government’s steps to support employment and existing labour shortages will likely prevent the jobless rate from worsening sharply.

The government will announce the labour market data at 8:30 a.m. Japan time on Tuesday (2330 GMT Monday).

Analysts expect the economy to contract in the current quarter due to the emergency measures to counter the spread of the disease.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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China’s economy could grow 8-9% this year from low base in 2020 – central bank adviser



China's economy could grow 8-9% this year from low base in 2020 - central bank adviser 2

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s gross domestic product (GDP) could expand 8-9% in 2021 as it continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, Liu Shijin, a policy adviser to the People’s Bank of China, said on Friday.

This speed of recovery would not mean China has returned to a “high-growth” period, said Liu, as it would be from a low base in 2020, when China’s economy grew 2.3%.

Analysts from HSBC this week forecast that China would grow 8.5% this year, leading the global economic recovery from the pandemic.

If 2020 and 2021’s average GDP growth is around 5%, this would be a “not bad” outcome, said Liu, speaking at an online conference.

China is set to release a government work report on March 5 which typically includes a GDP growth target for the year.

Last year’s report did not include one due to uncertainties caused by the coronavirus. Reuters previously reported that 2021’s report will also not set a target.

(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Muyu Xu; Editing by Sam Holmes and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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Japan’s January factory output rises for first time in three months, retail sales drop



Japan's January factory output rises for first time in three months, retail sales drop 3

By Daniel Leussink

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s industrial output rose for the first time in three months in January thanks to a pickup in global demand, in a welcome sign for an economy still looking to shake off the drag of the coronavirus pandemic.

But retail sales, a key gauge of consumer spending, posted their second straight month of declines in January as emergency measures taken in response to the pandemic hit consumption.

Official data released on Friday showed factory output advanced 4.2% in January, boosted by sharp rises in production of electronic parts and general-purpose machinery, as well as a smaller increase in car output.

“Manufacturers will continue to increase output over the near term as long as there won’t be any big shock,” said Taro Saito, executive research fellow at NLI Research Institute.

While economic growth will likely be negative in the first quarter, the strength in manufacturing would offset the negative impact of a state of emergency at home, which is mainly affecting the services sector, he said.

The rise in output, which followed a 1.0% fall the previous month, was largely in line with a 4.0% gain forecast in a Reuters poll of economists. Manufacturers surveyed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) expect output to grow 2.1% in February, followed by a 6.1% decline in March.

The government kept its assessment of industrial production unchanged, saying it was picking up.

Factory output fell in November and December as a rebound in car production ended on sagging global demand, but since then strong demand for tech-making equipment and electronic goods has helped turn the tide.

Still, some analysts worry that Japan’s economic recovery will remain hobbled by weaker conditions at home and as lockdown measures taken around the world to contain the COVID-19 crisis, particularly in Europe, weigh.

The government also released data on Friday showing retail sales fell 2.4% in January compared with the same month a year earlier, in a sign households tightened their purse strings as the coronavirus staged a resurgence.

The fall, which was in line with a 2.6% drop seen by economists in a Reuters poll, was largely due to sharp contractions in general merchandise and fabrics apparel spending. It followed a 0.2% fall in December.

Compared to a month earlier, retail sales in January fell 0.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis for the third straight month of declines. But the pace of decline was slower than in the previous two months.

“We think consumer spending will only fall around 1% quarter-on-quarter this quarter,” said Tom Learmouth, Japan economist at Capital Economics.

“We expect it to rise fairly strongly over the coming quarters as the recovery resumes and is soon given a shot in the arm by vaccines,” he added.

(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Sam Holmes and Richard Pullin)

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