Hong Kong-based hedge fund management firm Central Asset Investments (CAI) will open a research office in Shenzhen today.

The office is being headed by Bill Tsai, formerly managing partner of Longridge Capital, a real estate firm originating in Guangzhou. Before that, he worked at Hypo Vereinsbank in New York and Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong.

Reporting to him in the new CAI office is a trio of freshmen analysts, Alex He, Ferry Feng and Franky Xie.

CAI chose Shenzhen for three reasons. Firstly the city has become a hub for technology and pharmaceuticals; secondly, the large number of Shenzhen-based companies that are listed in Hong Kong; and thirdly the city's proximity to Hong Kong, meaning CAI’s Hong Kong-based staff, such as portfolio manager Armand Yeung, can pop over to the mainland without getting on an aeroplane.

Chief investment officer Eddie Tam says it’s a good time for the firm to open up on the mainland, in order to deepen its intelligence gathering on A-share and H-share companies, and he believes the renminbi will continue its march towards internationalisation.

The multi-strategy-themed CAI Global fund was up 47% during 2010.