Hei Ming Cheng, founder and chairman of Warburg Pincus-backed real estate fund manager Kailong, has been named chair of the Urban Land Institute’s mainland China chapter, according to a statement by the real estate industry nonprofit.
Cheng, who has three decades of real estate industry experience in mainland China, will be taking on his volunteer role at ULI five months after his firm closed its second US-dollar denominated, China-focused property fund on $575 million.
“China is a key market for ULI, not only in the region but globally, and I can think of nobody more qualified for the role,” said Nicholas Brooke, ULI Asia Pacific Chairman.
The Kailong founder, who assumed the role on 1 January, has succeeded Albert Chan, director of development planning and design with developer Shui On Land, who had led the ULI’s China chapter in 2018 and 2019.
Cheng will chair ULI Mainland China for the next two years, working with an executive committee made up of 15 top industry professionals, including Albert Chan, CapitaLand’s Charles Chan, and Brookfield Asset Management’s Stuart Mercier.
Expanding ULI’s Reach in China
“It is an honour and a privilege for me to be invited to be Chair of ULI China Mainland,” Cheng said. “Finding effective and efficient ways of growing ULI’s activities and contributions in the country will be a big challenge but promises to be immensely rewarding”.
In his role leading the local efforts of the Washington, DC-based real estate organisation Cheng plans to improve the ULI’s engagement with local developers and expand the ULI’s geographic reach while continuing to upgrade its event programming.
Instrumental to this mission will be a set of “product councils” which Cheng plans to establish as forums for industry leaders to exchange ideas and share best practices.
Geographically, the Kailong founder plans to expand beyond the ULI’s Shanghai stronghold to create knowledge-sharing opportunities in Beijing, Chengdu, the Greater Bay Area, and other major urban areas.
Under Cheng’s chairmanship, the quantity of ULI’s advisory services panels covering land use and real estate development issues will also be increased.
Drawing on Decades of Experience
In his new role, Cheng is hoping to leverage the resources gained through three decades of real estate fund management, investment and development.
Since Kailong’s inception sixteen years ago, Kailong has raised 13 domestic and overseas funds including two China-focused US-dollar funds which brought in a combined $813 million.
In his pre-Kailong days, Cheng had served as Shanghai-based developer Shui On Land’s general manager from 1998 to 2004. Prior to that, the holder of a master of science from Imperial College London had held senior positions with Standard Chartered Bank in his home city of Hong Kong.