The 2013 PEI 300: RRJ leads China charge

The biggest climber in this year’s PEI 300 was China-based RRJ Capital – one of four Chinese firms to make the top 50

Over the past 12 months, China-focused managers have continued their relentless climb up the PEI 300. But none have made more of a splash than RRJ Capital. The Chinese firm was the biggest climber this year, making it into the top 50 for the first time with a five-year fundraising total of $5.8 billion. 

The Hong Kong-based group was formed in 2011 when co-founder and co-chairman, Richard Ong, formerly head of Asia investment banking at Goldman Sachs, spun out of his private equity firm Hopu Investment Management. His brother Charles Ong, who had previously spent 10 years at Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings, holding positions including chief investment officer and chief strategy officer, joined him as the co-founder and co-chairman.

Given these credentials, it’s not surprising the firm has raised money so quickly and so successfully. Industry sources always cite its strong China network as the reason for its success. But while the firm mainly invests in China, it also invests in Southeast Asia and India opportunistically and can also put money to work in the US or Europe to bring businesses across to Asia Pacific. 

Attracting LPs from far and wide – including the New York Common Retirement Fund, which committed $300 million to the firm in March 2013 – RRJ has reportedly raised $3.5 billion for its second private equity vehicle, on which it held a first close on $2.5 billion in September 2012. 

But RRJ wasn’t the only Asian manager to make the top 50. CDH Investments climbed 15 places to number 35, having raised $6.5 billion over the past five years. The firm held a first close in February 2013, having raised $1 billion for its $2 billion China-focused vehicle. Hony Capital remained high on the list at 41, with a  five-year total of $6.2 billion. And sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation has accumulated $7 billion, making it the highest-placed Asian group at number 32. 

Outside the top 50, Capital International rocketed 30 places to 56, with a five-year total of $5.38 billion. The firm raised eyebrows by raising $3 billion for its sixth fund, which closed in May 2012. The fund was oversubscribed by $500 million, with 90 percent of existing investors re-committing – a clear indication that LPs like its unusual strategy of accessing emerging markets growth through a London-listed vehicle. At this rate, it won’t be long before it’s in the top 50 too.