BUSINESS EXCELLENCE (LARGE COMPANY) MERIT ; Allens Arthur Robinson, Hong Kong GREATER CHINA IS a major focus area for Allens Arthur Robinson, Hong Kong, and growth in the region has far exceeded the firm's optimistic expectations. 'The number of lawyers we have in Greater China has tripled since 2002, and the practice there has achieved strong growth in revenue and profits in this period,' said Matthew Barnard, a partner at Allens Arthur Robinson, Hong Kong. The company has 45 lawyers in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing alone. It has more than 70 throughout Asia, almost 9 per cent of the company's total number. 'More importantly, from the viewpoint of our strategic positioning, we are being asked to assist on a greater number of much larger transactions and litigation/regulatory matters for Australian and global clients, including several Fortune 500 companies,' Mr Barnard said. 'Although the firm enjoys a strong position in the Australian market, we cannot - and do not - take anything for granted. We have to prove that we have the right skills and experience for every matter for every client. 'There are plenty of good law firms in Hong Kong and China, and we are competing against most of the top law firms in the world. We have to work hard to demonstrate to our clients and prospective clients that we are the right choice for them and win their confidence and trust. 'Where we seek to differentiate ourselves is in service delivery, understanding our clients' businesses and never losing sight of our clients' business objectives,' Mr Barnard said. 'The performance of the firm in the past year demonstrates that these qualities are being recognised. 'We believe the role we play on some of the region's landmark projects helps raise the profile of Australian organisations and demonstrates their ability to work and compete with international peers effectively in the region. Our participation in the AustCham-China Business Awards supports this.' The company's recent achievements earned it a certificate of excellence in the Business Excellence Award (Large company) at the AustCham Business Awards. Australia was one of the first western nations to recognise China, establishing diplomatic ties in 1973. 'It has been a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship,' Mr Barnard said.