China (PRC)

A Chinese think tank has started trials for a new online automated contract tool that is aimed at helping Chinese parties secure better terms in cross-border trade and M&A deals, particularly in light of the Belt and Road initiative.

The China Going Global Think-tank (CGGT) says that DocQbot is the first cloud-based contract-bot designed to produce bilingual contracts in both Chinese and English for a broad range of China-related cross-border trade and investment transactions.

“Based on our research at the CGGT, we have discovered that too many outbound deals fail,” said Mary Bai, CGGT and docQbot co-founder and CEO. “Part of the reason is that too many of the new wave of Chinese outbound investors are not familiar with how international deals are done or the rules of the game in the target country. At the same time, they are also often reluctant to engage experienced outside M&A advisers in the early stages before they know whether or not they actually have a deal. A lot of the problems encountered by less experienced outbound investors arise in these early stages and many transactions fail simply because the two sides do not speak the same deal language.”

The docQbot templates are designed to help get both sides on the same page so that negotiations can be more productive from the start. In just 10 to 15 minutes, DocQbot is claimed to be able to produce highly customised international quality contract drafts in both Chinese and English.

The platform initially will have 20 base contract templates in both Chinese and English, covering both outbound investment and foreign trade transactions, using HotDocs to create a dynamic online platform that even non-lawyers can use by answering a few business-focused questions as part of an online interactive interview.

DocQbot has tapped Zhong Lun as its lead outside legal adviser to help develop the new platform, and a host of other top law firms around the world have signed up to provide local support in their respective jurisdictions.

The new docQbot platform has already received strong support from key Beijing government officials, who see it as an important tool to help promote more open inbound and outbound cross-border trade and investment, which has taken on even greater importance against the backdrop of continuing US-China trade friction.

Beta trials of the docQbot platform started in mid-August and formal launch of the docQbot platform is slated for the first quarter of 2019.

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