On Friday, Reuters reported that the China Investment Corporation (CIC) finally found a new chief representative officer for its only overseas office, almost a year after it became vacant. Clare Xiaoqing Bai, a Managing Director that currently serves as Global Head of Private Equity, will move from Beijing to New York to replace Hong Zhang, a trained attorney that spent six years trying to improve the relationships and in-roads of CIC with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
Ms. Bai joined the SWF in 2007 after 12 years in the Ministry of Finance, where she served as Deputy Director of the International Division. At CIC, she first acted as Managing Director in the PR and Special Investments Department before moving to the Private Equity department. She also covered as Global Head of Real Estate for a few years due to the high turnover of executives. Her move to America could now signal a change in approach and a renewed focus of CIC on fund investments to circumnavigate CFIUS scrutiny.
CIC is the only major SWF that has not reported its 2022 results yet. Last year, it released its 2021 annual report on November 11, so we expect to see the 2022 document within this week or next. CIC only reports the performance of its international portfolio, which constitutes a third of its AuM, US$ 1.35 trillion.
Down in Hong Kong, the government has been actively recruiting for its brand-new SWF, the Hong Kong Investment Corporation (HKIC). At the end of September, it named Clara Chan, an Executive Director of Money Management at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) as its new Chief Executive Officer. Ms. Chan has now been followed by Rita Leung, the Head of Real Estate & Technology, who will join as the new Chief Investment Officer of the HKIC, and four other staff of the HKMA on a secondment basis.
Initially seeded with US$ 8 billion, the HKIC is modelled after Temasek, and will consolidate the management of the “Hong Kong Growth Portfolio”, the “Greater Bay Area Investment Fund”, the “Strategic Tech Fund”, and the “Co-Investment Fund”, all of them with a clear domestic angle. The fund is still recruiting for the Corporate Affairs and the Investment departments, and the positions close on November 18. It is unclear whether more positions will be filled with temporary or permanent secondees from HKMA.
As China experiences slower economic growth and rising geopolitical tensions, its SWFs must find new ways to put their capital to work. US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, are scheduled to meet for the first time since 2022, next Wednesday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco.
Photo credit: Reuters