CBRE Investment Management’s China boss departs

The Los Angeles-based firm has appointed a new head of China logistics to take on Matthew Yao’s responsibilities.

Matthew Yao, CBRE Investment Management’s head of China, has left the firm after leading its expansion in the country for eight years.

A CBRE IM spokesperson confirmed Yao’s departure. Further details on his exit and next move were not known at press time.

PERE understands that the firm has not named a new head of China but has promoted Daniel Zheng, director and head of development management for China at CBRE IM, to become head of China logistics, a role in which he will take up Yao’s responsibilities. Zheng has been with CBRE IM for more than a decade and has participated in the execution of all the China logistics investments in the firm’s Asia Value Partners fund series. Prior to joining CBRE IM, he spent more than four years at ING Real Estate Investment Management, where he was a vice-president in asset and development management.

“We completed the transition from Matthew to Daniel’s leadership over recent months, and there has been no impact to our operations or pace of acquisitions,” the CBRE IM spokesperson told PERE. “Daniel’s expanded role is perfectly aligned with our investor-operator model, which drives enhanced focus and expertise through sector specialization in each market.”

The firm’s China team currently has 29 people across its Hong Kong and Shanghai offices.

Yao is understood to have left CBRE IM on October 13 after spending more than eight years at the US firm. During his tenure, Yao spearheaded CBRE IM’s logistics-focused investment strategy in China and managed a variety of capital structures, including the firm’s first yuan-denominated fund, CBRE LOGOS China Logistics Club Fund, in 2020. He also played a key role in establishing the partnership between CBRE IM and logistics specialist LOGOS. The parties launched the $400 million LOGOS China Logistics Venture 1 in 2015 and a follow-on $400 million LOGOS China Logistics Venture 2 in 2016.

Yao’s departure came shortly after the firm announced the $1.74 billion final close of its CBRE Asia Value Partners VI, the sixth of its Asia value-add flagship fund series. The fund will pursue build- and reposition-to-core opportunities and is expected to deploy at least  80 percent of its capital into the logistics sector, according to a CBRE IM release.

Similar to its predecessor funds, Fund VI can allocate up to 30 percent of its capital into China. PERE understands that CBRE IM has executed 21.5 million square feet of China logistics investments through the CBRE Asia Value Partners fund series and has achieved an average projected internal rate of return of over 18 percent on those investments.