While China's overall economy keeps slowing, Colony Capital, the private equity firm founded by U.S. real estate tycoon Thomas Barrack, sees opportunity. Colony is looking for cross-border investment availabilities with Chinese institutional investors.
"It's the right time for Colony Capital to do more in China," Justin Chang, executive director in charge of the firm's global private equity business, said. "Over the next three to five years, Asia—and China in particular—will be the fastest-growing part of our business." Looking ahead, Chang expects 20 to 30 percent of Colony's future capital will be deployed in the region.
Colony Capital, which has about $20 billion assets under management, expects outsized growth in China's middle class and consumer-driven sectors, including investment in media and entertainment, and financial services, where China's market remains under-served.
Colony Capital launched in Asia following the 1997 regional financial crisis, investing more than $600 million over seven years. In 2005, Colony bought Singapore-based Raffles Holding and the 41 hotels it owned and managed for $1.25 billion.
Real estate and hotel properties, which make up about 70 percent of Colony's holdings, are a starting point for cooperation. "There are opportunities to partner with Chinese capital, partners who are interested in building, acquiring or investing in hospitality assets in the U.S. and Europe," Chang said. "We also see ourselves in those hospitality and tourism sectors in China."