Private equity powerhouse KKR has created a new leadership position and has appointed Rob Yang as the firm's head of real estate for Greater China.
Yang, who is based out of the firm's Hong Kong office, started his role as managing director and head of Greater China real estate last month. His hire is indicative of KKR's plans of expanding its exposure in the region, which until now was being steered by Bryan Southergill, managing director and Asia head of real estate. Yang will be working closely with Southergill.
Yang comes with a repertoire of real estate experience, having worked with some of the biggest global asset managers. PERE understands that The Blackstone Group and Yang had mutually agreed to part ways at the end of 2015.
A long-serving executive at Blackstone, Yang had played a key role in developing the New York-based asset manager's Asia real estate strategy. He joined the global asset management firm in 2007 and was in fact one of the earliest executives in Blackstone's Asia team, and went on to establish the firm's China real estate investment platform.
Before his departure, Yang was one of three managing directors, the other two being Tim Wang and Joe Chien, who were responsible for Blackstone's China real estate operations. The firm did not have a specific head of China for real estate until end of last year, when Wang was promoted to the newly-created position.
Previously, Yang was also part of the real estate team at The Carlyle Group, where he focused on the Greater China region.
“KKR has cultivated a reputation as an innovator by providing differentiated and holistic financial solutions to real estate owners and developers,” said Yang in a statement announcing his new appointment. “I look forward to working with KKR's team to source new investment opportunities.”
Of late, KKR has been seeking investments in China's distressed debt market in the property sector. In January, the firm formed a partnership with China Orient Asset Management, one of the country's big four asset management companies, to invest in credit and distressed opportunities in the market. According to a statement by Ralph Rosenberg, global head of KKR Real Estate, leveraging Rob's extensive network of developers, property owners and investors in China will help the firm to provide such capital solutions to strong local partners.