KKR has appointed Rob Yang from Blackstone as Head of Greater China real estate with the US private equity firm, effective 1 June. Yang joins KKR as a managing director based in Hong Kong as the New York-based investment management firm ramps up its real estate business in the region.
In his new role Yang will take responsibility for sourcing investments and continuing to build KKR’s real estate platform in China after working on residential and retail joint ventures with Blackstone in the region.
KKR Expanding Asia Real Estate Team
Formerly known as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, KKR pioneered the leveraged buyout business in the US and has been building a real estate team in the region since hiring Bryan Southergill from JP Morgan in 2013 to head its property investment business in Asia.
Yang, who is taking on a newly created role will work alongside Southergill, according to a statement from the company, with both managing directors reporting to Ralph Rosenberg, Global Head of KKR Real Estate, and Joseph Bae, Managing Partner of KKR Asia.
“We are very excited to have an investment professional and real estate expert of Rob’s caliber join our Asia team.,” Bae said in a statement. “His track record and expertise will be a great asset to KKR and will better enable us to pursue compelling opportunities in Greater China and further our strategic goal of building a leading real estate platform in Asia.”
Looking for More Opportunities on the Mainland
KKR has been investing in real estate in Asia Pacific since 2011 and has deployed more than US$700 million in equity and debt across approximately 20 real estate transactions in Australia, China, India and South Korea. In January of this year the New York-based firm teamed up with state-owned mainland “bad bank” China Orient Asset Management to form a partnership aimed at co-investing in non-performing loans and distressed real estate opportunities in the Chinese market.
“China is a very attractive market for real estate given the broader macroeconomic dynamics. The credit environment combined with shifting demographics has created a need for financial solutions and restructurings across commercial, residential and mixed-use properties. By leveraging Rob’s extensive network of developers, property owners and investors in China we are well-positioned to provide these capital solutions to strong local partners,” said KKR’s Rosenberg.
Yang, who holds an MBA from INSEAD and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, started with Blackstone in 2007 after previously serving with The Carlyle Group in Hong Kong. Yang also spent two years as an analyst with Lone Star Asia Pacific in Taiwan earlier in his career.