Upstream to open govt relations office in Beijing

BEIJING: Upstream is poised to become one of the first government relations businesses to open in mainland China, with a Beijing office launching in the new year.

It has hired Li Li, a former government relations adviser for telecoms company Nortel in China, to lead the operation and build a team of around half a dozen. Li's brief is to provide government and media relations and trade policy advice to financial services and telecoms companies.

Although several PR and public affairs firms have offices in Hong Kong, few have yet ventured into mainland China. Upstream MD Suzy Awford said clients at Upstream's Washington DC practice prompted the move, seeking advice in their efforts to break into China.

'Beijing might be just the starting point because regional government plays an important role in China,' she added.

The Beijing office will also look to advise Chinese companies wanting to boost their understanding of policy-making and regulation in Western markets.

Li will work with Upstream's teams in London, Brussels and Washington as well as parent legal firm DLA Piper's 14 lawyers across China. They were hired in October after the collapse of international law firm Coudert Brothers.

Li has most recently been editor of business newspaper China Securities Daily.

Last month Awford replaced Steve John, who quit to become UK & Ireland director of government relations for Pepsico (PRWeek,
2 September).

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