Temasek Holdings is tapping key Citic executive Wu Yibing as head of China, signifying the Singapore sovereign wealth fund’s move to further cement investment ties in the mainland, where it been particularly active in the fast-growing areas of hi-tech and energy.
Wu, who is chief executive of Goldstone Investment, the direct investment arm of Citic Securities, is set to join Temasek on October 1. He concurrently serves as president of Citic Private Equity Funds Management, a position he has held since 2009.
Wu will succeed Ding Wei, who will take on the role as advisory senior director for China as of October, according to Temasek. He joined the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund in 2011 from China International Capital Corporation, where he was head of investment banking.
China is a vital investment target for Temasek, where it has allocated 23% of its assets – its second biggest country exposure after Singapore (30%), according to the sovereign’s 2013 review released in July.
Temasek has existing ties to private equity firm Citic Capital, as an investor and co-investor. The sovereign wealth fund invested in the $425 million Citic Capital China Partners, a buyout fund which closed in 2007. Its wholly-owned Vertex Asia Growth subsidiary is an investor in Citic Capital Venture Partners, a venture capital fund which closed in July this year at $113 million.
On the co-investment side, Temasek joined a Citic Capital-led consortium that in May this year paid $900 million to acquire Chinese Asiainfo-Linkage – a provider of software to telecom companies, including state-controlled China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom.
Mainland media reports have identified Temasek as an investor in the Singapore-Sichuan High Tech Innovation Park, a RMB100 billion ($16 billion) technology park which is in the early stages of development.
In recent years, Temasek has put an emphasis on deals in hi-tech and also energy – a particularly strategic sector for the city-state, which imports nearly all its fuel. Last year, it took a stake in Kunlun Energy, a natural gas subsidiary of state-controlled PetroChina.
Wu’s previous work in senior roles at investment firm Legend Holdings – where he led equity investments in energy and hi-tech – and its parent, tech company Lenovo Group, would help expand Temasek’s investments in these areas in China.
Dropping values and uncertainty surrounding mainland financial companies – as the government seeks to tighten credit and clamp down on shadow banking – would make the sectors appear to be comparatively safer bets as China enters a period of slower economic growth.
Ding’s transition to an advisory role will entail strengthening Temasek’s network and relationships in China and offering perspectives on the country’s macro environment, according to the sovereign.
Tow Heng-Tan, CEO of Temasek subsidiary Pavilion Capital, appeared in AsianInvestor’s list of the top 25 most influential people in Asian private equity, as published in the September issue of the magazine.