Hong Kong vs. Singapore – How to Choose a Suitable Arbitration Venue When Signing a Commercial Contract in China

– Legal Tip of the Week
October, 2021

Legal disputes may sometimes arise between you and your business partner in China. 

There are two popular seat options for arbitration when signing a commercial contract with Chinese business partners – Hong Kong or Singapore. 


Is it better for international businesses to resolve legal disputes in Hong Kong or Singapore when doing business in China? 

Though it is a Chinese territory, Hong Kong still maintains its judicial independence by keeping its Courts and Tribunals independent from Mainland China. 

Hong Kong-seated institutional arbitration offers additional advantages in terms of interim measures applied to the mainland courts that are not available for an arbitration seated in Singapore.  

For example, it is easy to get your application for interim measures accepted by a court in Mainland China if your arbitration is being handled at the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC). This same privilege is not extended to arbitration seated in Singapore because the Mainland court will not accept an order for interim measures issued by a tribunal seated in Singapore. 


What does this mean for foreign investors and businesspeople in China? 

Conducting arbitration in Hong Kong can better protect you against the bad faith transfer of assets in Mainland China.  

While you wait for the arbitration result, you can ask the HKIAC for a temporary order (such as an asset freeze to prevent cash from being transferred out) and bring it to the Chinese Court where the defendant is located.  

The Chinese Court will have an obligation to enforce the temporary order as per the Arbitration Interim Measures Arrangement agreed by and between Mainland and Hong Kong and help you prevent the counterparty from hiding or transferring its property before the arbitration award is granted.  

Reduce your legal risk before going to arbitration. Order your Chinese Company Verification report today to ensure your Chinese manufacturer, supplier, distributor, or business partner is legitimate and in good standing.

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Jenny Sun
Trustiics Recommended Lawyer & Partner at T&C Law Firm
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