David Liu has been hired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts as managing director responsible for expanding the American company's private equity involvement in mainland China. He had worked with Morgan Stanley since 1993, most recently as managing director and co-head of Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia.

The finer points of his KKR duties have not yet been spelled out, but an idea of Liu's scope can be deduced from the spectrum of deals he pulled in during his spell at Morgan Stanley. He participated in a stream of PRC transactions, including Mengniu Dairy, Ping An Insurance, Hengnan International, Conch Cement, Belle International and Shanshui Cement.

In September 2005 KKR announced plans to set up shop in both Hong Kong and Tokyo These offices fall under the regional leadership of Joseph Bae, a KKR managing director now based in Hong Kong who was formerly working in the company's New York office.

"Our initial focus will be to build a team with direct experience in Asia, including Japan China and Korea," says Bae. David Liu, who was born in China and studied electrical engineering at Columbia University, appears to be one of the keystones of that hiring strategy. Since being founded in 1976, KKR has placed $162 billion of financing in more than 130 transactions on behalf of itself as general partner in its funds and its investors, which include state and corporate pension funds, banks, insurance companies and university endowments.

KKR's fame was enshrined with two of the largest buyout transactions ever, in 1989 that of RJR Nabisco, a $31.4 billion deal immortalized in the book "Barbarians at the Gate", and Beatrice, an $8.7 billion deal in 1986.