ASIA NEWS: Chinese diversity

China’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund has sensed an opportune time to up its exposure to global real estate.

According to the Wall Street Journal, China Investment Corporation is in talks to acquire around six stakes in US real estate funds from Harvard University in what could become a jumbo $500 million secondaries deal if talks lead to an agreement.

CIC revealed in its 2009 annual report, published this summer, that its global all-asset investment portfolio totalled $81 billion in value. While it didn’t put a figure on property, it said it held six percent, or $4.8 billion, in alternative assets.

One secondaries expert contacted by PERE pointed out CIC would ultimately require a large team to manage its property investments. According to the Financial Times, the fund placed a job advertisement for fresh recruits this summer, adding it would need real estate investment professionals among those in other fields. The wealth fund makes investments out of its private market investment department, which according to the annual report, manages and evaluates external fund managers.

Colin Lau, who joined CIC two years ago from Starr International Asia, heads up the real estate platform, but he might soon have many more colleagues around him.