20 Years in China: From Corporate Lawyer to Bar-owning Entrepreneur

A unique opportunity to learn about living, working and operating effectively in China from long term resident, highly regarded lawyer and successful entrepreneur Jeremy Sargent OBE.

This talk is brought to you by the Business Confucius Institute at the University of Leeds in collaboration with Manchester Confucius Institute. Before COVID-19 we were planning to bring Jeremy to Leeds and Manchester for in-person events, but now he is still in New Zealand and we’re joining forces to bring you the talk online!

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Jeremy’s keen interest in China began many decades ago when he was fortunate to be one of the first overseas tourists to visit Guangzhou in 1978, shortly after China began to open up to the outside world. In 1990, Jeremy graduated from the University of Leeds with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chinese.

A decade later, Jeremy returned to Guangzhou as a newly-qualified lawyer to assist a major London-based international law firm open its first office in Mainland China. Jeremy was instrumental in building up the firm’s China practice, assisting clients from across the world with many of the legal aspects of establishing and operating business in China.

In 2007, after much soul searching, Jeremy jumped ship and established JSA, a legal consulting practice in Guangzhou and Shanghai. JSA’s clients ranged from individuals dabbling in the China market to several Fortune 100 companies and JSA projects took Jeremy and his team far and wide across many parts of China.

In 2010, Jeremy opened his first bar, The Happy Monk, near the Garden Hotel in Guangzhou. Over the years, The Happy Monk has grown to become an award-winning brand in the hospitality industry in Guangzhou. The Happy Monk now has a team of almost 200 full-time employees and operates five busy downtown locations.

Jeremy is passionate about the development of his team and is a firm believer in the value of coaching and mentorship. Jeremy advocates on-going learning and has just completed an Executive MBA under a joint programme offered by Columbia University Business School, London Business School and Hong Kong University Business School.

Jeremy is currently Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce Guangdong, a member of the Beachhead Advisory Board of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Honorary Legal Advisor to the British Consulate-General Guangzhou.

Jeremy has been recognized for his work in China. In 2011 Jeremy was awarded an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition to his services on behalf of British businesses and legal services in China.

When not working or studying, Jeremy enjoys travel, history, nature, hiking, sports, debating and the company of friends.

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