Renmin University of China took the top spot at Sunday's FDI Moot Shenzhen 2023 competition after an intense battle.
The competition serves as China's leg of Foreign Direct Investment Moot, a moot court for law students to improve their study and practice of international investment law and arbitration. It provides aspiring legal practitioners with practical insights into the complexities arising from obligations between host states and foreign investors.
This year a total of 41 university teams from China, including students from Hong Kong and Macao, participated in the Shenzhen competition and the top eight earned qualification for the FDI Moot Globals.
In the final round, Renmin University of China secured the championship, beating Peking University, while Xing Jiabao from Peking won "Best Oralist".
"This competition has honed our ability to think on our feet and has better prepared us to anticipate the challenges that may arise in international investment arbitration," said Wu Qihao, a member of the winning team.
Cao Saixian, director-general of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Shenzhen Municipal People's Government, said: "The FDI Moot Shenzhen plays a significant role in nurturing international legal talent and enabling young Chinese generations to excel on the global stage."
China unveiled its plans to build Shenzhen into a pilot demonstration area of socialism with Chinese characteristics in 2020. As part of efforts in international investment arbitration, the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration introduced FDI Moot Shenzhen in the same year.
Liu Xiaochun, president of SCIA, said the central government has designated the exploration of international investment arbitration mechanisms as a pilot task in the comprehensive reform of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and has supported Shenzhen's leading role in establishing an international investment joint arbitration center.
"This initiative is a measure to accelerate the advancement of institutionalized openness in terms of rules and standards, and to proactively construct a new, high-level open economic system," Liu said, adding moot arbitration competitions will lay this foundation.
Huang Guoyong, director of the International Cooperation and Development Department of the SCIA, said: "With an increasing number of Chinese companies investing overseas, they inevitably encounter legal risks. We hope this competition sparks discussion about resolving international investment disputes."
According to SCIA, over 30 international organizations and arbitration institutions, along with Chinese and foreign law firms, supported this year's event and more than 200 professionals from 46 countries and regions served as arbitrators.
Meg Kinnear, secretary-general of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, said "the event not only nurtures investment arbitration talent in China but also connects experts in the field of investment arbitration worldwide."
Peter Malanczuk, a member of the Academic Advisory Council at University Heidelberg and a council member of SCIA, expressed optimism for the future of FDI Moot Shenzhen, envisioning it as a key component of SCIA's broader strategy to establish an international arbitration hub in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
"Hosting the moot court competition is part of our overarching effort to build a profile in this direction," he said.