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The Evolvement of China’s TMT practice and its Chambers Coverage

The acronym TMT (Technology, Media, and Telecoms) is an artefact of the 1990s, and developments in all three of these areas have long since overtaken it. Learn more about it with Chambers Greater China Region.

Published on 17 January 2023
Written by John Graham
John Graham

Chambers TMT Tables

Chambers first introduced a TMT table in this China-related research back in 2011 covering what was then a handful of lawyers who specialised in the technology and telecoms sectors, mainly with an offering focused on the investment and financing needs of clients in these sectors. As these industries have continued to grow in China, so too have the related legal markets as reflected by the growth in Chambers’ ranking tables. 

New Ranking Table for Media and Entertainment Lawyers

Until 2019, the TMT rankings were a single table which, although in theory meant to cover all three parts of the acronym, in practice was dominated by transaction-focused lawyers in the technology and telecoms sector.

Lawyers who had built practices in media and entertainment law felt implicitly excluded. Starting in 2019, we gave more attention to the media and entertainment sector in China with the inclusion of lawyers prominent in this area.

In 2020, Chambers created a separate ranking table for media and entertainment lawyers which in 2021 was then further expanded to include a firm table. 

Growth in Technology, Media, and Telecoms industries in China

In the last two years, the technology, media, and telecoms industries in China have continued to grow and evolve.

What began as a trade dispute between the United States and China quickly became a tech competition, and the technology and telecommunications sectors in China have grown and changed significantly with the introduction of new legislations by the National People’s Congress.

The introduction of the Cybersecurity Law which took effect 1st June 2017, the Data Security Law which took effect on 1st September 2021, and the Personal Information Protection Law which took effect 1st November 2021 have all made data protection and cybersecurity compliance major concerns for both domestic and multinational companies in China.

This has resulted in a commensurate explosion in the legal market for advising on such matters, and with the formal launch of the Greater China Guide in 2022, Chambers has created a separate Data Protection & Privacy table under the main TMT ranking table to reflect this ballooning area of law. 

Data Protection and Privacy ranking tables

Further refinements still have to be made. Not only did earlier iterations of the TMT rankings place a heavy emphasis on technology and telecoms to the exclusion of media and entertainment, but most ranked law firms and lawyers focused mainly on transactional work.

Taking care not to make the TMT table a duplicate of the Private Equity & Venture Capital table is an important factor in our drive to expand and refine the China TMT rankings. It began with the creation of a separate table for media and entertainment and continues with the creation of a separate table dedicated to data protection and data privacy lawyers.

Going forward, Chambers intends to further differentiate between technology and telecoms work which is more regulatory and advisory focused, and equity financing for tech companies and investors, a distinct but still important part of what TMT sector clients need.

The said intended changes have been reflected in our Greater China Region Guide 2023 release, with TMT (PRC Firms) section now incorporating four child tables:  

• TMT: Data Protection & Privacy 
• TMT: Equity Financing 
• TMT: Media & Entertainment 
• TMT: Technology & Telecommunications

The changes are to be reflected in our Greater China Region Guide 2023 release.


Chambers Greater China Region

The Chambers Greater China Region guide provides market leading reviews, analysis and rankings of the top law firms and lawyers across the region. The guide launches tomorrow, register your attendance now.