Cerberus' China head joins Actis

Wang Jiansheng, who has led both Cerberus' and the IFC's China operations, will primarily focus on Actis' investments in China’s financial services sector.

Emerging markets private equity firm Actis has hired Wang Jiansheng as a partner to focus on investments in Asia’s financial services sector.

Wang was previously the managing director of Cerberus Capital Management's China operations. Cerberus began making a push into Asia in early 2007, after bringing on former US Treasury Secretary John Snow as chairman, but a February 2009 report in the Financial Times noted Cerberus had shuttered its Hong Kong office and indicated future plans were unclear for its Beijing and Taipei locations.

Before being recruited by Cerberus, Wang led the International Finance Corporation's activities in the Chinese financial markets.

Based in Beijing, Wang’s hire will bolster Actis' domestic and regional knowledge of China’s financial services sector, Paul Fletcher, a senior partner at Actis, said in a statement. Wang’s relationships within the Chinese government will also benefit the firm, the statement noted. 

Actis first opened in China in 2000 and now has 14 investment professionals in Beijing, including Actis partners Benjamin Cheng and Lim Meng Ann, both of whom focus on China’s consumer sector.

While the firm invests across all sectors in China, it has a particular focus on consumer products, energy, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, technology, media and telecommunications.

Actis’ previous investments in the country include a majority stake in hot pot chain Xiabu Xiabu; education services provider Ambow Education; and budget hotel chain 7 Days Inn Group.

In November 2008, Actis closed its third global fund on $2.9 billion, more than double the size of its predecessor, which closed on $1.4 billion in 2004.

Actis did not respond to requests for comment at press time.