Don Williams

Don Williams "specialises in private equity and venture capital matters, regularly advising funds on technology-related M&A deals. One example is the assistance he provided Grab with a Series G financing."

Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2019

With over 15 years' experience of advising clients in China, having relocated from Silicon Valley to Shanghai in 2005 (to open the office of a leading Silicon Valley law firm), Don is well regarded and highly experienced in representing private and public companies on a broad spectrum of complex transactional mandates, including cross-border mergers and acquisitions, minority investments and other strategic business transactions. Don has vast experience including advising TMT companies throughout their entire lifecycle from startup to mature public company (VC/PE financing, day to day corporate needs, M&A and capital markets transactions) as well as these companies’ ecosystem, including VC/PE funds and investment banks.

Over the years, Don has a great depth of experience across many industries and served as the primary counsel in numerous high-profile and cross-border transactions. His clients include Acorn, Alibaba, Alipay, Ant Financial Services, Autodesk, BCD Semiconductor, Bridge Pharmaceuticals, Cisco Systems, Cyte Therapeutics, FunPlus Games, Grab, Hanson Robotics, Kuaidi Dache, Newport Corporation, PharmaLegacy, Polycom, RealD, SeaWorld, Sigma Designs, Smarter Micro, and SMIC.

Clients particularly appreciate Don’s hands-on approach to manage complex deals and his responsiveness, experience, and ability to solve tricky problems and dynamics (Chambers Greater China, 2023).

Don has represented venture capital and private equity funds, including Advanced Technology Ventures, Aramco Ventures, BASF Venture Capital GmbH, Chengwei Ventures, DFJ Dragon Ventures, Fidelity/Eight Roads, GGV, Global Founders Capital, GSR Ventures, IFC, JAFCO, KPCB China, Ping An, Sequoia Capital, Qiming Ventures, Rocket Internet and Softbank China Venture Capital, in connection with portfolio investments and other transactions as well as investment banks in connection with public offerings.

Don has been recognized as one of the top China-based private equity/venture capital lawyers by Chambers Asia-Pacific for 15 consecutive years (2009 through 2023). Don has also been recognized as “Leading Individual” by Legal 500 in 2023 and was named a "China Top 15 M&A Lawyer" by Asian Legal Business in 2019.

Don has been active as a committee chair with The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai for well over a decade and is a member of the Ethics Council of The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.


Awards and recognitions


Private Equity: Buyouts & Venture Capital Investment (International Firms) in Greater China, Leading Individual
Chambers Asia Pacific


Private Equity, China, Leading Individual
Legal 500 Asia Pacific


China Top 15 M&A Lawyer
Asian Legal Business

Education and admissions


J.D., Harvard Law School, cum laude, 1993

B.A., Stanford University, with honors and distinction, 1989

Bar admissions and qualifications


Representative experience

Acted for Alibaba in more than 75 projects, primarily PE/VC and M&A transactions in China, the United States, and elsewhere around the world.*

Represented Grab Holdings, Inc., Southeast Asia's leading ride-sharing company, in its US$2.5bn Series G financing, led by DiDi and Softbank.*

Represented Alibaba in its acquisition of CNZZ and various other companies.*

Represented Kuaidi Dache (快的打车) in its acquisition of Da Huang Feng (大黄蜂).*

Represented Focus Media in its acquisition of CGEN.*

Represented Autodesk in its acquisition of Discreet Logic, Buzzsaw, and other companies.*

Represented Xicor in its acquisition by Intersil.*

Represented Zeevo in its acquisition by Broadcom.*

*Matter handled prior to joining Hogan Lovells.

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