“I’m not only bilingual, I’m also bi-legal. I grew up in China, and I’m trained in the legal systems of both China and the United States. Clients appreciate that I’m a highly skilled attorney with a broad base of knowledge who always puts their interests ahead of my own or those of the firm—they know I truly want what is best for them. They say that I’m reliable, very responsible, and I approach each interaction with honesty and integrity.”
Noted corporate and real estate attorney, Viking Tao chairs the firm’s China Practice Group, representing Chinese and international clients in their investments in the United States. Viking has more than 15 years of experience advising overseas companies domestically in commercial real estate development and investments, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, partnership and joint venture negotiations, and commercial disputes. Viking handles matters in a wide array of sectors, including real estate, e-commerce, biotech, manufacturing, hospitality, oil and gas, and consumer products.
Bringing fluency in both Mandarin and Cantonese to the legal arena, Viking counsels Chinese companies that are establishing their presence in the United States, forging alliances with U.S. businesses, or embarking on strategic expansions, such as asset and stock acquisitions. Viking finds it highly gratifying to help Chinese companies gain a foothold in the United States because no matter how successful these organizations are in China, the U.S. is a brand new and very different environment that requires an informed approach. She enjoys drawing on her background and extensive knowledge base to guide clients in their new ventures and to help them identify potential pitfalls and issues they should consider. She also advises American companies in connection with their investments in China and business negotiations with Chinese companies.
With a client list that includes leading American and Chinese developers and funds as well as small- and medium-sized developers, investors and lenders, Viking counsels clients in connection with the acquisition, financing, development, leasing, management and disposition of commercial real estate. Projects involve subdivisions, apartment complexes, shopping centers, hotels, assisted living facilities, office buildings, warehouses, and mixed-use facilities, ranging in size from several million to multibillion dollars.
Prior to joining the firm, Viking served several years as in-house counsel at the Bank of China’s U.S. operations in New York City during the bank’s $9.7 billion IPO. This valuable experience enhances her ability to serve clients as she brings the insight she gained in this capacity to her practice. Viking places an emphasis on communicating clearly and frequently with her clients and she always keeps them updated at every step along the way.
Away from the Office
Viking and her husband are the parents of a young son and enjoy traveling together when time permits. One summer when she was in college, Viking rode 1,300 miles of the Silk Road in northwest China.
Real Estate Transactions:
- Represented a real estate developer in $350,000,000 construction and mezzanine loans for the development of an approximately 33-acre retail, office, hotel and residential multi-use project in Texas.
- Represented a private equity’s real estate division in establishing a $35,000,000 credit facility and the closing of multiple project loans in several states.
- Represented a real estate investment group in the acquisition and financing of a portfolio of hotels (each hotel’s purchase price ranging between $15,000,000 and $25,000,000) located in Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont and Virginia, and the subsequent dispositions thereof.
- Represented a real estate investor in the sale of a shopping center and the defeasance of a $24,000,000 mortgage loan.
- Represented minority members in handling disputes with the majority member and manager of a residential development project in New York.
- Represented an oil and gas company in its settlement with other working interest owners with respect to certain oil and gas assets in California and Turkey.
- Represented various real estate developers in their negotiations of equity and debt financing and property management agreements with private equity groups.
- Represented an international energy company in a multi-party acquisition with an aggregate value of approximately $150,000,000 involving eight foreign jurisdictions.
- Represented an international energy company in its acquisition of multiple companies with oil and gas assets in Morocco, Bulgaria and Turkey.
- Represented a client in its acquisition of a poultry-processing company for $28,000,000.
- Represented a national retailer in a series of secured and unsecured loans in the aggregate amount of $144,000,000 to its subsidiary.
- Represented a healthcare recruiting company and its subsidiaries in the refinancing with two lenders in the amounts of $7,500,000 and $8,900,000, respectively, and the concurrent private placement of common stock and warrants for an aggregate amount of $1,000,000.
- Represented a client in its acquisition of an assisted living brand company.
- Represented multiple clients in establishing their employee long-term incentive benefit plans.
- Advising clients on various general corporate matters, including choice of legal form, formation and organization of corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships, corporate governance, the rights, powers and duties of shareholders, members, partners, managers, directors and officers, and negotiation and preparation of employment agreements, consulting agreements, and services agreements.
US-China Cross-Border Transactions:
- Representing a Chinese manufacturer in establishing a $150,000,000 manufacturing facility in Tennessee
- Representing a Chinese real estate developer in its acquisition of a $27,000,000 retail shopping center in Minnesota
- Represented an international group with Chinese capital in developing multiple assisted living facilities throughout the U.S.
- Represented a Chinese company in its $92,000,000 bid to acquire a promotional products company based in California.
- Represented a Shanghai-based real estate developer in its $30,000,000 acquisition of the stock of a public oil and gas company based in Houston, Texas.
- Represented a Chinese company in its acquisition of railroad tie technology and manufacturing facilities out of Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy proceedings.
- Successfully defended a Chinese construction elevator manufacturer in two product liability lawsuits, one in Texas and the other in Missouri.
- Successfully represented a major Chinese bank in settling an adversary proceeding in bankruptcy at an early stage with zero sum payment.
- Representing an American group in establishing a health care project in China.
- Acting as U.S. counsel to a New York-based group in raising funds from Chinese investors to invest in real estate projects in the U.S.
- Represented an American private equity group in deal structuring and due diligence on the Chinese operations of an American target company.
- Represented a private American energy company in raising $17,500,000 from Chinese investors to jointly acquire 85,000 acres of federal oil and gas leases in Nevada.
- Represented a New York and Toronto dual-listed energy company in its negotiation of a farm-out agreement with a Hong Kong listed company for oil and gas assets in Bulgaria.
- Represented an American company in its negotiation of a strategic alliance agreement with a Chinese wind turbine manufacturer.
- Represented an American investor in his investment in a U.S. private equity fund focusing on the telecommunications, IT and energy industries in China.
- Represented an American apparel company in setting up a WFOE in Shanghai.
- Co-author, “Chinese Institutions’ Definitive Guide to USA Commercial Real Estate,” China Financial & Economic Publishing House (2017)
- Quoted in “Texas governor tours China,” China Daily USA (September 11, 2014)
- Quoted in “US will host international investment summit in DC,” China Daily USA (October 25, 2013)
- Quoted in “Chinese firms up stake in US,” China Daily USA (May 1, 2013)
- Quoted in “Chinese firms are content: survey,” China Daily USA (February 22, 2013)
- Quoted in “Wanda readies AMC cinemas for close-up,” China Daily USA (January 20, 2013)
- Quoted in “Game changers,” China Daily USA (December 7, 2012)
- Interviewed for “Investment from China in US reaches record high,” China Daily USA (October 20, 2012)
- Featured in “Negotiating the culture, not just the deal,” Dallas Business Journal (September 7-13, 2012)
- Quoted in “More Chinese FDI set to pour into US,” China Daily USA (July 13-15, 2012)
- Speaker, “US Commercial Real Estate Investment: Legal Hot Topics,” 2018 America-China Real Estate Summit, Houston, Texas (April 6, 2018)
- Speaker, “Yuan Tsunami – How to Ride the Chinese Investment Wave,” multiple presentations in Dallas & Houston, Texas (2013 & 2014)
- Speaker, “Chinese Investment in the US: New Trends in 2012,” China Institute’s China Briefcase Series, New York, New York (May 17, 2012)
- Speaker, “Chinese Companies’ Investments in the US – a Legal Perspective,” The University of Texas at Arlington, presentation to a group of executives from Chinese state-owned companies, Arlington, Texas (February 15, 2012)
- Speaker, “Legal Issues faced by Chinese Companies in Overseas Mergers and Acquisitions,” The University of Texas at Dallas, presentation to a group of executives from China, Richardson, Texas (October 26, 2011)
- Panelist, “Structuring and Negotiating Transactions with Chinese Companies,” MyCFOnetwork, presentation to CFOs and other financial professionals, Dallas, Texas (September 29, 2011)
- Speaker, “How to Represent or Negotiate with Chinese Companies,” Law Firm Alliance, teleconference presentation to a group of international business attorneys (July 14, 2011)
- Panel Leader, “China Update 2008 – China’s Evolving and Emerging Laws,” Harvard China Review Annual Conference, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (March 29, 2008)
- Panelist, “Doing Business with China”, KRCL seminars, Dallas and Houston, Texas (2007)
- Panel Leader, “Rules of the Game – China’s Legal System,” Harvard China Review Annual Conference, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (April 7, 2007)
- Organized a seminar in New York City on China’s newly-enacted Enterprise Bankruptcy Law two weeks after its enactment, which was reported by the Financial Times; facilitated a Chinese drafting committee member’s visit and exchange of views with several bankruptcy judges at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, New York, New York (September 14, 2006)
- Former board member of the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce (Director: 2010-2015; Vice Chair: 2013-2015)
- General Counsel of the U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce of Dallas (2011-Present)
- Dallas Bar Association: Mergers and Acquisitions, Real Property Law and International Law Sections
- Dallas Asian American Bar Association
- Dallas Bar Association’s Women Empowered to Lead (class of 2019)