3i to build base in Beijing

The London-listed private equity firm has announced its plans to launch new Beijing operations in the autumn, focused solely on growth capital investments.

Global private equity firm 3i is planning to open a new office in Beijing later this year focused on originating growth capital investment opportunities.

Chris Rowlands, 3i’s head of growth markets, told PEO that the London-listed firm is currently locating office space and “putting the team together right now. I think it will be operational the other side of summer, around autumn time”.

3i has had a Hong Kong base for its China investments since 2001 and launched a Shanghai base last October, headed up by director Albert Xu. Traditionally, 3i has targeted growth capital investments in the consumer goods, healthcare, media and manufacturing industries.

Rowlands said that Lily Jin, currently a director in the Hong Kong office and formerly at emerging markets specialist Actis, will head up the Beijing office. Jin spent four years with Actis in London before being seconded to Beijing to set up the Actis China office and operations in 2000.

3i’s Beijing office will form part of the overall China operations, said Rowlands, and will be staffed by three or four investment professionals. The team will focus exclusively on originating growth capital investment opportunities in China.

“China is such a huge country that we needed to have more on the ground presence,” said Rowlands. “Why Beijing? Lily brings with her a network of contacts and resources in Beijing and north east China, which we wanted to exploit.”

In separate news, a 3i spokesperson confirmed that the firm has hired US investment bank Jefferies to put UK gas company CH4 Energy up for sale. 3i injected start-up capital in the business in late 2002 and has since backed two add-on acquisitions. According to The Business, the company could fetch up to $500 million (€387 million).