Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 26 August 2019

Tencent and Hillhouse target Chinese investors' trillions offshore

Pair's venture plans to start accepting money shortly from retail Chinese investors who have existing assets internationally

10th (based on estimated arrivals for 2018): Shenzhen, China - 12.43 million. Reuters
10th (based on estimated arrivals for 2018): Shenzhen, China - 12.43 million. Reuters

Tencent and Hillhouse Capital Management are joining the throng of financial firms seeking to service the huge number of Chinese investors looking to diversify outside of the mainland.

GaoTeng Global Asset Management, the duo’s one-year-old venture in Hong Kong, plans to start accepting money shortly from retail Chinese investors who have existing assets internationally, according to an emailed statement that didn’t provide an exact time frame. GaoTeng has got asset management and securities advisory licences from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission. Its first product will be a fixed-income fund that will be open to individual investors in the city.

“We will be better able to serve Chinese clients because we understand Chinese clients better,” said Wayne Bi, GaoTeng’s chief executive. “We will design a select number of high-quality products that make sense for Chinese investors, helping them cut through a market that can often be homogeneous and confusing to new participants.”

A weakening yuan amid escalating global trade tensions and domestic credit tightening is likely to spur Chinese interest in diversifying holdings outside of the world’s second largest economy. China’s currency has depreciated 5.1 per cent against the dollar this year while the benchmark Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index is down almost 19 per cent in local-currency terms, making it the worst-performing primary share gauge tracked by Bloomberg.


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The popularity of wealth preservation and expansion in China has skyrocketed over the past few years as incomes rise and more people move to the big cities. Chinese citizens are expected to add more than $1.9 trillion to their international investments in the five years through 2020, an Industrial Bank and Boston Consulting Group report estimated in 2016. That growing appetite has already seen local wealth managers like Shanghai-based Noah expand their product offerings to meet such needs.

Hillhouse Capital was founded in 2005 by Yale University alumnus Zhang Lei with an initial $20 million backing from an endowment led by Yale’s chief investment officer David Swensen. It now manages more than $50 billion and was an early backer of Tencent, the Shenzhen-based internet giant that operates the ubiquitous WeChat messaging service, along with games and payment systems.

GaoTeng’s funds will invest in publicly traded securities internationally. Hillhouse won’t participate in the management of GaoTeng’s funds.

Mr Bi, a former deputy general manager of Credit Suisse’s local venture with Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, has previously worked for companies including Vanguard Group and Wachovia, according to his biography and LinkedIn profile.

Daniel Li, GaoTeng’s equity chief investment officer, has previously managed money for Millennium Management and Goldman Sachs. GaoTeng has also hired former Nomura Holdings Inc. Managing director Desmond How to head fixed income, according to the statement. Chief technology officer River Cai, meanwhile, has led several departments within Tencent.

Updated: September 16, 2018 03:04 PM