Dezan Shira & Associates Hosts LEA Conference in Shanghai

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Lion dancers Michael Chris

Dezan Shira & Associates recently hosted the Leading Edge Alliance (LEA) annual meeting in Shanghai, the first time it has been held in Asia. The LEA is the world’s second largest network of tax and accounting firms, with a combined turnover of US$2.6 billion, while Dezan Shira & Associates is the largest member firm in Asia.

Over 400 attendees participated, including Partners and Senior Managers from around the world. While the seminars and events took place at the Hyatt on the Bund over four days of intense tax and international compliance sessions, the conferences annual dinner was hosted by Dezan Shira & Associates’ Chairman Chris Devonshire-Ellis. This took place at the House of Roosevelt on the Bund, a historic building dating back to the 1920s.

Chris dots lion eye

Guests sat down to an eight course dinner, Italian wine, and baijiu, and enjoyed a spectacular array of entertainment including lion dancing, traditional Chinese dance, acrobats, and sand painting, and went on until the small hours. A video of the event can be seen here.

Devonshire-Ellis stated the importance of developing Asia as a market and stressed that China was a major developer within the region, with “the ripples of China’s phenomenal growth story now spreading out across Eurasia”. He stated that Dezan Shira & Associates were on course to show a strong 15 percent growth in revenues throughout Asia in 2016, and noted the growth of LEA had also reached an impressive 10 percent during some difficult trading conditions in the United States and Europe. Profits he said, remained healthy at a 13.5 percent margin. However he warned that future growth would not come purely from Chinese outbound direct investment (ODI) reaching out into established Western markets.

Professional Service_CB icons_2015RELATED: Pre-Investment and Entry Strategy Advisory from Dezan Shira & Associates

To catch these investments, he said, an understanding of the newly emerging trade corridors between China and India, ASEAN, Russia and Central Asia needed to be a priority. He highlighted the recent decision of China’s Ministry of Commerce to call for an expansion of its Silk Road Belt  to include the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and of plans to also integrate it into ASEAN and the
Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Investing in China’s Silk Road ambitions and learning how to participate via reaching out to local firms with on the ground intellect was key, he stated. It was ‘foolish’ to merely expect that China would throw money at the United States and Europe, and that considerable research was needed to understand how to generate intelligence on bilateral and multilateral trade DSA partners Shanghai office staffacross Eurasia. Those succeeding, he suggested, would become future market leaders, with professional services growth coming not just from M&A amongst firms but a sound base in strategic services and geophysical development.

In Asia, he noted particularly strong growth in India, Vietnam and Indonesia, and highlighted the first edition of Indonesia Briefing as an example of the sort of entrepreneurial and adventurous spirit that the region, and the profession, still required.


Asia Briefing Ltd. is a subsidiary of Dezan Shira & Associates. Dezan Shira is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Singapore and the rest of ASEAN. For further information, please email or visit

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