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Friven Yeoh


Friven Yeoh is the managing partner of O’Melveny’s Hong Kong office, a Registered Foreign Lawyer in O’Melveny’s Singapore office and a member of the International Dispute and Arbitration Practice Group

Friven’s practice involves both adversarial and transactional work. In his adversarial practice, Friven has experience in the resolution of Chinese-foreign business disputes and has represented clients in international arbitrations conducted under various institutional and ad hoc arbitration rules including those of the ICC, HKIAC, CIETAC, SIAC, JCAA, SCC, UNCITRAL and CAS. He has also represented clients in a variety of commercial litigation and regulatory investigations involving product risk and liability, energy, corporate affairs and financial services matters. Friven also serves as an arbitrator in international arbitration. Friven's adversarial experience includes:
  • Representing a US conglomerate in three consolidated UNCITRAL ad hoc arbitrations in Hong Kong in relation to a joint-venture dispute against its Chinese joint venture partner arising from the purchase of a substantial power control system facility in Shanghai.
  • Acting for a multinational consulting firm in an ICC arbitration seated in Zurich involving a multi-million claim against a leading European conglomerate in connection with the design and construction of a high-speed rail link in China.
  • Acting in a London-seated ICC arbitration for an Indonesian multimedia listed company in connection with a shareholders’ dispute.
  • Acting in an ICC arbitration in Hong Kong for the shareholders of a telecommunications conglomerate in a US$50m dispute arising from the sale and purchase of shares to a major European company.
  • Advising several elite athletes in an arbitration before the Court of Arbitration of Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland in connection with alleged violations of anti-doping regulations.
  • Defending a PRC listed company in a US$100m Hong Kong arbitration conducted under the HKIAC Rules arising from a joint-venture dispute in connection with the set-up and management of a luxury department store in Beijing.
  • Representing a global beauty products company in connection with an M&A dispute in a US$50m HKIAC arbitration arising from the purchase of a Chinese skin care products company.
  • Defending a BVI corporation and its current PRC individual shareholders in a US$80m HKIAC arbitration concerning the implementation of a complex stock repurchase agreement to buy out the equity stake of the BVI corporation’s former shareholders.
  • Representing an Isle of Man entity of the energy division of a leading Malaysian investment holding company in an SIAC arbitration concerning the alleged breach of certain representations and warranties arising from the sale of a company operating an oilfield in the PRC to Hong Kong investment company.
  • Advising one of the world’s largest sportswear manufacturing companies and its Korean shareholder in a shareholder dispute with a Chinese sportswear company in relation to a joint venture in China. 
  • Advising one of the world’s largest sportswear manufacturing companies and its Korean shareholder in a potential shareholder dispute with a Chinese sportswear company in relation to a joint venture in China.
  • Advising a multinational energy company in a US$500m claim in a Stockholm arbitration conducted under SCC rules, arising from the breach of a petroleum exploration and production contract.
  • Acting for a multinational computer manufacturer in the defence of a US$70m claim in Hong Kong under the UNCITRAL arbitration rules arising from a software manufacturing and services agreement.
  • Advising a major information technology company in a CIETAC claim against a joint venture partner of several service centers in China.
  • Defending a U.S. leisure goods conglomerate in an SIAC arbitration against allegations of breach of a worldwide exclusive distribution agreement.
  • Pursuing a US$80m claim on behalf of a major European energy company against a significant Chinese state owned company in an ad hoc arbitration in Singapore in respect of breaches under a share transfer arrangement.
  • Representing a Japanese consumer product company in a multi-million dollar Hong Kong arbitration in respect of misrepresentation and breach of warranty arising from a stock purchase agreement.
  • Advising several major European and Japanese financial institutions in relation to investigations carried out by the UK Financial Services Authority and the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.
  • Advising a major European multinational company in relation to its crisis management strategy arising from the arrest and criminal prosecution by Chinese authorities of several senior executives of its PRC operations for alleged tax evasion and theft of trade secrets.
  • Advising a major consumer products manufacturer in defending product liability claims in several EU states and in Asia, and formulating a global defence strategy.

In his transactional practice, Friven is involved in advising clients on China-related mergers and acquisitions, direct investments, regulatory compliance, antitrust, and corporate governance issues. He recently: 
  • Advised a major European retailer in setting up retail operations in the greater China region.
  • Acted for a U.S. energy company in the negotiations of nuclear fuel supply and technology transfer arrangements.
  • Advised a U.S. multinational on an aluminum fabrication joint venture.
  • Advised a U.S. printing and media company in the acquisition of printing operations in Hong Kong and the PRC.
  • Assisted a European multinational company in the review of its global compliance strategy.

Professional Activities

Member, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, LCIA Young International Arbitration Group, China Arbitration Forum, Hong Kong Law Society, Law Society of England and Wales, Law Institute of Victoria
Recognition, Chambers Global and Chambers Asia, Leading Individual (Asia-Pacific, International Arbitration; Hong Kong, Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration); Asia Pacific Legal 500, Recommended (Dispute Resolution, Hong Kong); Listed by Euromoney’s Expert Guides as an “Expert in Commercial Arbitration”
Author, “Enforcement of Dispute Outcomes in China” in Duelling with Dragons: Managing Business Disputes in Today’s China (Kluwer Law, 2007); “Chapter 12 - Recognition and Enforcements of Awards”, The Hong Kong Arbitration Ordinance Commentary and Annotations (Sweet & Maxwell, 2011)
Co-Author, “Choosing an Arbitral Institution in Cross-border Commercial Arbitration,” PLC Cross-border Dispute Resolution Handbook 2006/07; “Hong Kong and Mainland China Proposal on Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments: An Alternative Means of Resolving Sino-foreign Business Disputes?” Mealey’s International Arbitration Report, Vol. 21, No. 6 (June 2006); “New Supreme People’s Court Interpretation on Mainland China’s Arbitration Law,” Mealey’s International Arbitration Report, Vol. 21, No. 9 (September 2006); “China: Development and Trends,” Asia-Pacific Arbitration Review 2007; "The People's Courts and Arbitration - A Snapshot of Recent Judicial Attitudes on Arbitrability and Enforcement," Journal of International Arbitration, Vol. 24, No. 6 (December 2007); “Recognition and Enforcement of Awards under the New York Convention - The China and Hong Kong Perspectives,” Journal of International Arbitration, Vol. 25, No. 6 (December 2008); Country chapter (China) for PLC Dispute Resolution Handbook 2010/2011; “Reflections on Gao Haiyan - of ‘Arb-Med’, ‘Waivers’, and Cultural Contextualisation of Public Policy Arguments”, Journal of International Arbitration, Vol. 29, No. 3 (2012); “Avoiding Hybrid Arbitration Clauses in Commercial Agreements”, Corporate Disputes, Oct-Dec 2013; "Chapter 1 - Arbitrating China Business Disputes", Dispute Resolution in China, 2nd Edition (JurisNet, 2015)  
Appointment, Advisory Board, Journal of International Arbitration; HKIAC List of Arbitrators; KLRCA Panel of Arbitrators; BJAC Panel of Arbitrators
Languages, English; Mandarin Chinese; Cantonese

London School of Economics, LL.M., 2001

University of Melbourne, B. Com, LL.B., 1996

Hong Kong; England and Wales; Victoria, Australia