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Blackstone names first CEO for $4.5bn China logistics platform

With logistics being the firm's highest conviction in China, the sector represents 62% of its total assets under management in the country.

Private equity real estate giant Blackstone has hired the first chief executive officer for its China logistics platform DragonCor, which has almost tripled in size over the past three years.

Peter Hwang, former Asia managing director at data management company Iron Mountain, has been appointed as the chief executive officer of DragonCor. In his new role, Hwang will oversee the management and development of the Blackstone platform. Prior to joining DragonCor, he spent eight years at Iron Mountain where he led the growth of the firm’s regional business through a number of mergers and acquisitions. Before that, he was the group general manager at healthcare company Zuellig Group.

Justin Wai, managing director at Blackstone Real Estate, told PERE that the hire of Hwang was critical in helping the platform to further expand. “From 2018 to now, DragonCor’s portfolio has gotten so much bigger, especially after we acquired the largest urban logistics park in Guangzhou last year,” Wai said.

Founded in 2018, DragonCor’s total enterprise value has now grown from $1.6 billion in 2018 to $4.5 billion in 2021. With logistics being the highest conviction bet for Blackstone in Greater China, the sector represents 62 percent of the firm’s total assets under management in the country. Since 2012, it has executed 19 logistics deals and now owns a warehouse portfolio of five million square meters.

Prior to hiring Hwang, PERE understands that the platform was led by Blackstone personnel in China, including an interim CEO and other senior executives running their own verticals at the platform. It is understood that DragonCor started with a few people in 2018 and has grown to a team of 38-strong today.

Wai believed that Hwang’s diverse management background would open new doors for DragonCor. In particular, there are synergies between Hwang’s most recent experience at Iron Mountain and Blackstone’s logistics business.

“During his time at Iron Mountain, he was a customer to many warehouse and data center owners,” Wai explained. “We hope that he can bring some of that customer insight and expertise into DragonCor to enhance our portfolio’s value.”

Blackstone has demonstrated a successful track record in building and selling logistics platforms across different markets. These include the $2.9 billion sale of its Australian logistics business Milestone in 2021, the $8.1 billion sale of its US logistics business IndCor Properties in 2014 and its €12.25 billion exit from European logistics company Logicor in 2017.

Wai told PERE that the firm is applying the same build-and-sell strategy in China following the success of its other logistics platforms. “It seemed like the right time to get a best-in-class CEO to institutionalize the platform, implement best practices, beef up the team further and make it as successful as Logicor and IndCor,” he added.