Century Bridge Capital believes the challenges of investing in China are in many ways similar to investing in any other emerging market, with picking the right local operating partners at the top of the list. Real estate is a local business so weve focused on building a local team that also has experience in the West, said Jeff Tucker, chief operating officer. One of the biggest challenges is picking the right partners and another is structuring deals.
The company has 15 people on the ground in Beijing, which is the base from where it sources middle class residential opportunities in Tier Two and Tier Three cities in China. These markets are sometimes off of the beaten path for people who are familiar with Shanghai and Beijing but these cities have three to 10 million people, Tucker said, noting that there are about 45 cities that fit this profile in the country.
Century Bridge invests via a private equity fund that it closed in mid-2012. Although it is obviously an emerging market, China is also the second-largest economy in the world. Part of our job as a general partner is to be a facilitator of knowledge, translating what we see on the ground in those markets to the institutional communities, Tucker said.