KKR hires Yang as Greater China property head

KKR hires Rob Yang at a time when some analysts say property sales in the world's second-largest economy are starting to peak. Yang was previously at Blackstone.

KKR said on Monday it has hired Rob Yang as head of its Greater China real estate team, who was previously at The Blackstone Group at a time when house prices are soaring.

In the role, effective June 1, Yang will be responsible for sourcing investments and continuing to build KKR’s real estate platform in China. He will also work with Bryan Southergill, a managing director in the real estate team, on KKR’s regional real estate investment strategy.

Yang will be based in Hong Kong and, like Southergill, will report to Ralph Rosenberg, global head of KKR Real Estate, and Joseph Bae, managing partner of KKR Asia.

National contracted sales surged 61.4% year-on-year to RMB2.41 trillion from RMB1.49 trillion in the first four months of 2016, driven by higher sales volumes and average selling prices . The average selling price for the first four months of 2016 was up 16.3% year-on-year, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

"The surge in national contracted sales is moderating on a year-on-year basis in April, and we expect to see national contracted sales reaching a cyclical peak over the next two months," said Franco Leung, a Moody's vice president and senior credit officer on Monday. 

Moody's believes the recent regulatory tightening measures implemented in Shenzhen, Shanghai, Nanjing and Wuhan will help moderate property price growth in these cities.

KKR plans to use Yang’s network of developers, property owners and investors in China to find people who need its capital. “The credit environment combined with shifting demographics has created a need for financial solutions and restructurings across commercial, residential and mixed-use properties,” Rosenberg said in a statement.

Yang joined KKR after a short break following his departure from Blackstone. At Blackstone Group in Hong Kong, Yang had been a managing director in the real estate team. Yang joined Blackstone in 2007 and was one of its earliest recruits in Asia. He helped to establish the firm’s China real estate investment platform, manage a team of real estate professionals, and led the investment processes for a number of key transactions, with a focus on Greater China.

Blackstone also recently lost Yi Luo to CVC

Prior to Blackstone, Yang was part of The Carlyle Group’s real estate team in Hong Kong. He holds a Master of Business Administration from INSEAD and a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

KKR has been investing in real estate in Asia Pacific since 2011 and has deployed more than $700 million in equity and debt across approximately 20 real estate transactions in Australia, China, India and South Korea.

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