Private wealth in China might be a bit more precarious than it is in the West, but in recent years the country has created more billionaires than anywhere else. Some of them are setting up family offices/private investment offices. Here are five of the most prominent.
Blue Pool Capital, Hong Kong
More of an investment office that two of China’s wealthiest individuals - the co-founders of Alibaba, Jack Ma and Joe Tsai - have backed. It was set up by financiers Alexander West, who’s Blue Pool’s CIO, and Oliver Weisberg, a former hedge fund manager. Hong Kong-based Blue Pool is active in a host of asset classes, including venture, and this month was the lead investor in a funding round worth $60 million for a Californian virtual reality developer called Lytro. Blue Pool employees at least 20 people in Hong Kong.
Junson Capital, Hong Kong
Junson Capital, the family office of property tycoon, Cai Kui. He is the ex-husband of Wu Yajun (see below: Wu Capital) and they both set up Longfor Properties, although Cai no longer has interests in Longfor. Unsurprisingly, Junson has been a big buyer of international property. Unconfirmed reports suggest Junson acquired a portfolio of US hotels from MassMutual's Barings subsidiary for a staggering $800 million. If true, it will make it one of the biggest family-office investments in property ever.
In 2016, Junson also bought a hotel in London, and in the same year, co-invested in a US-based biotech company called AccuraGen Holdings. From its Hong Kong base, Junson employees a team of asset managers, many of whom are graduates of top US universities.
Wu Capital, Beijing
Set up in 2013, Wu Capital claims to be one of the first single-family offices in China. It’s the family office of Yajun Wu, the chairwoman of Longfor Properties, one of China’s biggest property companies. Sources say Wu Capital managers around $10 billion of the family’s fortune, which includes direct investments in numerous companies in China, and considerable indirect investments across the world. It has a US subsidiary - Wu Capital USA - which specializes in healthcare investments, both direct and indirect.
Wu Capital through both its US subsidiary and its Beijing business has been active in backing various international venture funds. Indeed, sources say it has invested in some big venture funds either through sizable limited partner contributions or coming in as a co-investor/general partner. These links include Atomico, the venture fund started by Niklas Zennström, the co-founder of Skype, and DCM Ventures, co-founded by David Chao, who has extensive ties to venture groups in China and Silicon Valley.
Fosun, Shanghai and Hong Kong
Fosun isn’t really a family office, more of a Berkshire Hathaway in its look and feel - and size. It’s also listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, although most of its capital is still owned by three of its founders, including the most prominent and one-man investment machine, Guo Guangchang. Guo is the biggest shareholder of Fosun by some way. It has made some big investments across pretty much all asset classes and has majority, or full ownership of some big global companies, including Banco Comercial Português, the German private bank Hauck & Aufhäuser, Club Med, and a big Indian pharmaceutical company called Gland Pharma. Founded in 1992, and based in Shanghai and Hong Kong, Fosun describes itself as a “family-focused multinational company”.
Seven Valleys, New York City
Seven Valleys, the family office of Zhang Xin and Pan Shiyi, co-founders of SOHO China - a very big property group - is based in New York City. Involved in multi-asset investing, Seven Valleys, nevertheless, specializes most in global property investing.