UK private-equity firm 3i Group has hired Credit Suisse veteran Paul Su as a senior partner for China, which should help it make good use of the quota it has received under Shanghai’s qualified foreign limited partner (QFLP) pilot programme.
Shanghai recently approved 3i’s participation in the QFLP scheme, which will allow it to convert up to $100 million into renminbi to make investments in China without the need for any exchange-control approvals. Sources suggest this is among the first few approved quotas for foreign firms.
3i had confirmed earlier this year that it was negotiating with Chinese authorities to be able to set up a local RMB-denominated private-equity fund.
Su will join Anna Cheung and Albert Xu in the Beijing office on September 1, bringing the number of 3i’s China partners to three. He will oversee investment origination and execution, reporting to Bob Stefanowski, 3i chairman for Asia and the Americas.
A 10-year veteran of Credit Suisse, Su has worked in posts in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. He was most recently managing director of Greater China in the investment banking department, responsible for originating and executing transactions and managing client relationships.
At Credit Suisse, it is understood that Zeth Hung – one of three new hires to the bank’s global markets solutions group in Asia-Pacific, announced earlier this week – will undertake a number of Su’s previous duties.
The expansion of 3i’s China partners will help “move the franchise to the next level”, says Stefanowski, at a time when the UK-based PE firm is looking to boost its investment activity in Asia.
Su has spent the past decade travelling extensively in China on business to work on capital-market, restructuring and merger-and-acquisition deals involving mainland companies. This should prove very useful, says Stefanowski, given that the success of a PE firm in China comes down to its awareness of the marketplace.
Over the past decade, the firm has been investing in China from its €1.2 billion ($1.8 billion) 3i Growth Capital Fund. Portfolio companies include digital ad agency Focus Media and Hong Kong-listed restaurant chain Little Sheep Group.