Blackstone on Thursday announced the latest milestone for its growing China logistics platform, naming the company’s first-ever chief executive after spending three years assembling a 5 million square metre (53.8 million square foot) warehouse portfolio.
Now based in Shanghai, Peter Hwang will oversee the management and development of DragonCor, an entity created to manage mainland logistics assets owned by Blackstone funds, the Manhattan-based firm said in a release. The collection includes the Greater Bay Area’s largest urban logistics park, in which Blackstone acquired a majority stake earlier this year.
“We are thrilled to welcome Peter, a recognised leader, to spearhead the continued growth of DragonCor,” said Justin Wai, a Hong Kong-based managing director with Blackstone Real Estate. “Peter brings years of experience leading a regional team and orchestrating major transactions, and we’re confident he’ll play an important role in building our rapidly growing China logistics platform.”
The upgrade for Blackstone’s China logistics operation comes just four months after the fund manager took in $2.9 billion from the sale of an Australian logistics portfolio, as the company continues to look for ways to adapt and deploy its existing investment playbooks in new environments.
Engineering a Win
Hwang’s most recent title was managing director for Asia at records management company Iron Mountain, where he led various mergers and acquisitions. During his time in the role, Asia revenue grew significantly, making Iron Mountain the region’s leading document and data management company, Blackstone said.
With Asia logistics developers ESR and Logos having each announced data centre initiatives in recent months, Hwang’s Iron Mountain experience also includes overseeing a co-location server facility in Singapore, as well as joint ventures in Mumbai, Pune and India’s national capital region.
Before his nearly eight-year career at Iron Mountain, Hwang served as general manager for business development at pharmaceutical distributor Zuellig Group in Hong Kong. Prior to that, he was chief of staff and vice president of corporate development at HKEX-listed China NT Pharma Group.
His earlier experience includes advisory work for McKinsey & Co and engineering projects for the International Space Station at Boeing.
Hwang received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from UCLA and later earned an MBA from Stanford.
“I look forward to working with the DragonCor team and further expanding Blackstone’s logistics footprint, which is already among the biggest in China,” Hwang said. “This is an especially exciting time for the sector in China, which is seeing robust demand for warehouses driven by e-commerce trends.”
Cliff Chen, a Shanghai-based managing director at Blackstone Real Estate, said the firm has built the DragonCor portfolio over the last three years into a collection of carefully-selected, high-quality logistics assets strategically located in China’s major hubs, with a diversified tenant base across fast-growing sectors such as technology and third-party logistics.
Blackstone bulked up its mainland logistics holdings this year with the purchase of a 70 percent stake in Guangzhou International Airport R&F Integrated Logistics Park from Guangzhou R&F Properties for $1.1 billion, an acquisition that increased the firm’s China logistics portfolio by a third. The deal was announced last November and completed in January.
Assembling countrywide mega-portfolios of logistics assets is becoming old hat for the firm run by billionaire Stephen Schwarzman. Blackstone in May completed its long-anticipated acquisition of Embassy Industrial Parks, gaining a portfolio with 10.6 million square feet of logistics and warehouse assets near major cities in India.
In April, Blackstone agreed to sell its Milestone Logistics portfolio in Australia to ESR Milestone Partnership, a collaborative venture of Hong Kong-listed ESR and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, for $2.9 billion after a protracted bidding contest against four other contenders.
In 2017, Blackstone scored Europe’s single largest real estate deal ever when it sold the Logicor platform to China Investment Corporation for $13.82 billion. That deal, which involved 630 distribution centres in 17 European countries, came after Blackstone had completed more than 50 transactions to acquire and tune the Logicor platform.