Navigating a maze
The Open University of Hong Kong offers an online master's programme in Chinese business law for businessmen wanting to navigate the legal maze on the mainland.
Dr Chung Siu-leung, director of the university's e-learning centre, says the programme provides students with the flexibility to learn at their own pace. 'Lectures are online and in real-time, allowing students and lecturers to interact effectively without having to go to another place,' he says.
Chung adds that the course is not intended as training for lawyers, but designed to impart knowledge in Chinese business law. 'The focus is less on ordinances than on case studies. We want to help students gain a solid understanding of business law on the mainland,' he says, adding that the programme covers issues related to contract law, the finance sector and trading.
According to Chung, most students are company managers and accountants with business interests on the mainland. Applicants are expected to have a recognised degree in law or a business-related discipline.
It normally takes 18 months to two years to complete the programme. Class size is no more than 25 students.
Harry Or, who works as a general manager at a mainland ceramics factory, says: 'The course has helped me work smarter. Topics such as Chinese contract law, Chinese intellectual property law and comparative law are useful because they cover the most important areas in business.'
He recommends the programme to business people and company managers working on the mainland. 'Many Hong Kong [people] are applying their knowledge in Common Law to their mainland business. This is a mistake.'