Citic Capital Partners, the $600 million private-equity affiliate of Citic Capital Holdings in Shanghai, has hired Hironobu Nakano to run its Japan business.

Nakano was previously managing director at the Industrial Revitalisation Corporation of Japan, a government-sponsored agency loosely modelled on AmericaÆs Resolution Trust Corporation. The IRCJ was founded in 2003 with a five-year mandate to restructure banks, but was deemed to have completed its mission early and will close in March.

Before that, Nakano was a founding member of Advantage Partners, a local private-equity firm. He has also worked at Corporate Directions and Toyota Motor.

He is bringing two other IRCJ officials on board as vice presidents: Masahiro Ito and Satoshi Ishida. Both had worked for Nakano there.

Citic Capital itself was established in 2003, and the following year created a Ñ17 billion ($141 million) Japan fund run by Brian Doyle, managing partner in Tokyo. That limited partnership, Citic Japan Partners, invests in mid-sized companies seeking to expand overseas: in other words, Citic facilitates Japanese corporate offshoring to China. Last year, for example, it sponsored the management buyout of Narumi, a Japanese tableware company.

The fund has so far focused on companies with stable cash flow, but Nakano wants to use his experience to also enter turnaround deals.

ôCitic can help Japanese companies expand operations into China,ö says Nakano. ôWe can leverage our relationships through the parent company. We have three Chinese professionals in Shanghai dedicated to helping develop our Japan fund and develop and implement business strategies for Japanese corporations.ö

Most investments have come from Japanese clients as well, says Nakano. He has come aboard as DoyleÆs role becomes more regional. Doyle remains located in Japan and involved with the local fund but is now working more in Citic CapitalÆs Shanghai office. Nakano will report to Doyle.

It was this China connection that drew Nakano to join Citic Capital. ôIt is hard to differentiate within the Japanese private-equity market,ö he says. ôBut Citic offers a strong China angle, which is a compelling advantage to Japanese companies. Second, the top management of Citic fully understands this business is a local business, and all decisions are made by the local team.ö