The Blackstone Group is set to open a real estate office in Tokyo, Reuters reported Monday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
According to the report, Blackstone plans to shift key staff from other offices to the new Tokyo office, and has hired Daniel Fuji, the head of private equity at Japanese lender Shinsei Bank, to help launch the effort.
Prior to working for Shinei, Fuji was managing director at ICG Japan KK where he specialized in management buyouts and forming venture businesses with blue chip companies. Before that, he was at H&Q Asia where he invested in Internet, financial, media and telecom-related companies in Japan.
A Blackstone representative declined to comment on the report. Blackstone is currently raising a $10 billion global real estate fund.
The new office will focus on Japan’s rapidly growing property market, which has been growing at rates not seen in many years. After watching Japan’s three year economic recovery, property investors are now starting to move in, hoping to take advantage of the country’s still low real estate prices after a 13 year decline shortly before improving economy drives prices up. Earlier this year it was reported that LaSalle has been raising a $2-billion (€1.4 billion) Asia property fund and a $750 million fund for logistics buildings in Japan. The head of ING real estate investment in Asia recently told PERE he is upbeat on opportunities in Japan, where ING has assembled a local team with acquisition experience and local networks to seek assets outside Tokyo.
The new office would join several others that Blackstone has set up across Asia in recent years. Blackstone’s set up an office focused on private equity and real estate transactions in Mumbai in 2005. In January, Blackstone opened a satellite office in Hong Kong to focus on private equity transactions, hiring former Hong Kong treasury secretary Antony Leung to head the office.