August is Managing Partner of specialist Chinese law firm, Lusheng Law Firm, a strategic partner of Rouse in Beijing. He has extensive experience of all types of IP enforcement in China and is frequently ranked as one of China’s leading IP lawyers.
August grew up in a small town in South China’s rural Hunan province, surrounded by mountains, lakes and bamboo forests. Beijing was a world away – and for many, it remained so, even when Deng Xiaoping’s open door policy was implemented in the years following Mao Zedong’s death. At the time, competition for university places was fierce, with only about 7% of high school students having any chance of getting a University place. But August considers himself lucky to have been born when he was – his generation at least had the opportunity, and he made the most of it.
At primary school, he hadn’t been a particularly keen student, but by the time he got to high school his parents and others had started pointing out that going to University would give him the chance of a better life – and for the first time he started to think about his future. He knew little about the world at that stage, and virtually nothing about career possibilities, but one of his teachers took an interest and guided him towards the Law. He is very grateful to her. He obviously had the ability, but he also worked hard and ultimately was one of only four out of his class of 40 to go on to University. Most of his school friends and all his family remain in Hunan province, including his three older sisters who had just missed out on the opportunity that was available to him. The world he lives in now couldn’t be further from the world he grew up in, but he manages to fit very comfortably into both, going back to Taojiang County to visit family and friends whenever he can.
Attending Southwest University for Political Science & Law in Chongqing in Western China was his first real adventure - and while there he developed the ambition to go to Beijing, something that, at the time, you needed the very best academic results to achieve. Out of more than 600 students at Southwest, only 15, including August, managed it. On graduation, he got a job with a Government Agency in Beijing, drafting Regulations, and he remained there for eight years. Initially he was totally absorbed in the work, but after some time began to look further afield and, in particular, to start thinking about studying abroad. He applied for, and obtained, a Chevening Scholarship – an award offered by the UK government to study for a master’s degree in the UK.
Going to study at the University of Essex in Colchester was his second big adventure and he made the most of it. After graduating, he had the opportunity of returning to his Government Agency job, but by now he had been exposed to Intellectual Property and could see its potential, so he began investigating law firms in Beijing that might offer a future in the field of IP. Although Rouse had not long been established at the time, he decided that the service it offered, and the general philosophy of the firm, was particularly interesting and likely to produce opportunities for growth and development, both professional and personal. He accepted a job with the firm, initially doing only enforcement work. It wasn’t long, however, before that began to expand into all areas of IP and the local law firm, Lusheng, was established. This obviously presented August with huge opportunities for both professional and personal development.
In the early days, some of the foreign lawyers were going skiing in the snowfields that were being developed not far from Beijing, mostly on man-made snow. Although there is evidence of skiing having existed in China many thousands of years ago, only very recently has it become a popular sport. It was certainly not something that August had ever thought of doing, but one day his foreign colleagues asked him to join them and, ever up for a challenge, he accepted the invitation. At the beginning, he found it incredibly difficult, but he persevered and gradually started to improve and enjoy it more and more. It was the beginning of a new passion and now he skis regularly, both in the local ski fields and further afield in Northern China and Japan. He loves the challenge, but it’s also the sensation of freedom, the feeling of almost flying, and the fact that it is so completely removed from ordinary, everyday life.
Another passion he has developed in recent years is hiking, which he usually does with a group, ‘Sanfu Outdoor’, both in the area around Beijing and in south China. More recently, however, the group has been on some more challenging expeditions in Nepal, climbing from Nayapul of Pokhara to Poonhill, and rafting in the Trishuli River.
August and his wife have two daughters, Beibei and Xiaoyang, both of whom will have international experience. Beibei chose to study Philosophy at Nottingham University in England and is now working in Sydney, and Xiaoyang has just been accepted to study Economics at Brandeis University in America. Over the years the family has enjoyed travelling together to different countries, including Australia, the United States and Canada, usually renting a car and exploring to get a feel of the place.
August says he is adaptable by nature. He certainly moves very easily between worlds and, importantly, seems to have a lot of fun doing it. A number of recent studies suggest that sustained happiness leads to a longer life – if that is so, August is likely to have plenty of time to continue enjoying all the challenges, both professional and personal, that come his way.