Ask me anything… I'm a Private Equity Analyst in Shanghai

NiuShi's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,012

I'm currently a Private Equity Analyst in Shanghai, China. Academically, I graduated from a target school majoring in Economics and Chinese. I also spent my time at college as the president of an on-campus student organization related to Finance and Economics and a volunteer for a local school program. I have always had a nose for digging deeply into matters that I can't grasp as first, and thus trying to make sense of financials and business strategies in China seemed like a perfect challenge after college.

After spending some time as an Analyst for a publicly-listed Chinese company, I networked my way to my current position through meeting a few members of the firm and eventually the stars aligned. At this point my role is mostly in portfolio company management and deal screening, but have strong exposure to the Directors and Investment Managers in the firm as well. I'm happy to speak about the daily life of a private equity analyst here in Shanghai, differences between PE in the U.S. and China, networking in China, and general topics related to finance in Asia.

Comments (77)

May 16, 2013

what's your favorite thing about Shanghai? least favorite?

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

May 16, 2013

How is the alumni presence for U Chicago in Asia?

May 16, 2013

How is M1NT? Is that short working girl still there every night? She was so great.

May 16, 2013
Kassad:

How is M1NT? Is that short working girl still there every night? She was so great.

overrated

May 16, 2013
couchy:
Kassad:

How is M1NT? Is that short working girl still there every night? She was so great.

overrated

What is overrated? M1NT or the working girl or both? I am shocked at the price sticker of some of the ladies in Shanghai, mostly Eastern Europeans. Surely they work with reputable agencies but even in NYC/London you don't charge 2k/hour unless you have been on the cover of Playboy/ former Victoria Secret models.

May 16, 2013

This ^

May 16, 2013
couchy:
Kassad:

How is M1NT? Is that short working girl still there every night? She was so great.

overrated

This ^

May 16, 2013

The difference between successful people and others is largely a habit - a controlled habit of doing every task better, faster and more efficiently.

May 16, 2013

Compensation? I imagine without an international MBA it's tough to get a salary comparable to those in the US. Where do you live?

May 16, 2013

What were your main methods of networking in the PE space, what ways were more effective than others?

May 16, 2013

how is daily life in Shanghai? I guess you work long hours but how do you spend your free time? Is the food fabulous?

May 16, 2013
Beny23:

how is daily life in Shanghai? I guess you work long hours but how do you spend your free time? Is the food fabulous?

Daily life in Shanghai is a pretty good time, though I spend all of it at work :) Get in around 8:30 and try to catch the last metro home at 11:00. I'll probably spend two evenings per week in the office until 1 or 2 for phone calls and I try to get out early once a week to have dinner with my mates or other professionals. I work on Saturdays from about 10 to 6.

Yep - food is pretty great. I have always eaten relatively healthy food, so Chinese cuisine suits me just fine. Lots of grilled and fried veggies with some chicken, beef, or pork. Try to go out for a nice seafood dinner on the weekends as Shanghai has awesome fish.

You might hear this or that about pollution in China. Lots of foreigners like to gripe about it, but it's not something I even think about daily. Now, if I was living in Beijing where the smog was 4-10x as bad, that might be a different story

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May 17, 2013
NiuShi:

You might hear this or that about pollution in China. Lots of foreigners like to gripe about it, but it's not something I even think about daily. Now, if I was living in Beijing where the smog was 4-10x as bad, that might be a different story

i had lung/phlegm issues the entire time i was there (suzhou, 1 hr from shanghai), not to mention black mucus. on the bright side you can look straight at the sun without it hurting your eyes..

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

May 16, 2013

@AndyLouis - Tough one. Favorite thing about Shanghai has got to be just the ability to learn something new every day about the world. It's a crazy city - one with ~25 Million residents and tourists, so you're always able to meet new folks, both Chinese and foreigners. Especially due to the recent economic downturn affecting the Eurozone's job market, many well-qualified but out-of-work people have relocated to Shanghai. Some of those who I can call my best friends here are from Portugal, Australia, France, Denmark, England, Korea, the U.S. and HK, and many places within China. It's such a diverse city and I totally dig that. Always something new to learn and someone great to meet.

Accordingly, it feels like a real international city. Most foreigners who come here don't speak much Chinese at all. You can actually get by without more than, 'Where's the bathroom?' and 'One more beer, please.'

Also, Shanghai's proximity to other awesome destinations in Asia is incredible. Within two hours I'm in Seoul or HK, soon thereafter in Tokyo or Manila.

On the downside, it's tough to be away from friend and family without a doubt. There's definitely a sort of 'out of sight, out of mind,' phenomenon when it comes to keeping in touch with friends back in the U.S. and elsewhere.

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May 16, 2013

@eDubs89 - painting with a broad brush, it may be correct, but there are tons of exceptions that make the rule. For instance, the comment in that article that only 10-15 foreigners work full time in private equity in China is total hogwash. My business card binder has 10 without making it to the second half. I don't know exactly when that was written, but I guess things have changed, both for better and for worse for foreigners. Let me explain:

This is a big one. Chinese is a must, but you don't need to be fluent, depending on the job you are looking for. Now, doing due diligence in China for a PE firm will require a local Chinese, both in terms of cultural understanding and language. The fact that there are over 50 dialects of Chinese doesn't help, so if you are trying to gather info on a firm in the Northwest of China, for instance, you may even have to hire a consultant who speaks the local dialect to help you get to the bottom of things.

As a foreigner, if a PE firm hires you, they are not hiring you for your Chinese language ability. That may be a pre-requisite now if you try to apply online or through a head hunter, but the fact is quite simple - there are about a billion people who can speak Chinese better than you can. So you need to bring something to the table that they can't get elsewhere and then use Chinese as your 'kicker,' or something that puts you over the top.

You'll generally not be competing with locals for the job you're applying/networking for, but other foreigners (which unfortunately now includes members of the Reverse Brain Drain Party). This is where it gets tough.

The most highly-sought-after job applicants in China right now are local Chinese who have been educated abroad and then return to the mainland. Bar none, these are the fiercest competitors in the job market. They have native language ability as well as fluent English, and often speak a third language to boot. They have the training in 'Western Thought.' And yes, they have training of the NYC bulge bracket banks or consulting firms.

The PE market is hyper-local if you are trying to source local deals, but more and more Chinese firms are looking elsewhere in Asia to find good opportunities. If you are really interested in PE in China as a foreigner, I recommend gaining demonstrated experience in either a specific aspect of PE (such as mezzanine debt structuring or Silicon Valley Venture Capital) and being prepared to bring that skill with you to China. There is also definitely room for foreigners in larger funds opening up new shops in China. In the wake of Schwarzman's $100M gift to Tsinghua, you can bet Blackstone is doubling down on China. Look over the next 3 years and you'll see a bunch of promising future leaders from their NYC office take up posts in Beijing and Shanghai...

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May 24, 2013

Interesting to hear the perspectives of finance people based in Shanghai. I think there is a fiercer competitor on the job market than the one you described...some of us were born in Asia, speak fluent Chinese, English, and often several other languages, and understand Western culture as well and the "Chinese thought".

May 24, 2013

I completely agree with tough competition in the job market here. Lots of uber qualified candidates in Asia. By far much smarter than me. The one thing I will say is that when I thumb through applications for interviews, everyone and their mother is "Fluent" in English and Chinese. This goes for both foreigners and native Chinese. To be honest, most of them have a hard time effectively communicating outside of their mother language. Understand a foreign culture and executing in a foreign business setting are completely different things. It's a skill few people truly have.

May 16, 2013

@Goldman Stanley - none that I personally know, but check LinkedIn or your college networking site. I'm sure there are some out here. I know a bunch of folks from Chicago here, just none that went to UChicago. Check HK too - there will be plenty, plenty of UChi guys there.

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May 16, 2013

@couchy - Salaries will naturally not be as high as in the U.S. unless you are on some sort of expat package. Because the cost of living here is considerably less than in the States (though the rents can be close) there's less of a flashy lifestyle to finance generally, which is something I actually enjoy.

Having said that, Directors or Investment Managers of firms here get compensated just slightly below the U.S. on 'quality of life' parity terms. What I mean by that is you can do all the same stuff you could in the U.S. (live in a nice place, go out a bunch, travel) but you'll have far less overall savings to work with.

Something I didn't expect though, is that the usual perks that come with a NYC banking or PE job are amiss over here - expensed dinners, cars home late at night, general smoothness of taking care of your cell phone bill, etc. Those things add up pretty quickly if you don't watch your statements.

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May 16, 2013
NiuShi:

@couchy - Salaries will naturally not be as high as in the U.S. unless you are on some sort of expat package. Because the cost of living here is considerably less than in the States (though the rents can be close) there's less of a flashy lifestyle to finance generally, which is something I actually enjoy.

Having said that, Directors or Investment Managers of firms here get compensated just slightly below the U.S. on 'quality of life' parity terms. What I mean by that is you can do all the same stuff you could in the U.S. (live in a nice place, go out a bunch, travel) but you'll have far less overall savings to work with.

Something I didn't expect though, is that the usual perks that come with a NYC banking or PE job are amiss over here - expensed dinners, cars home late at night, general smoothness of taking care of your cell phone bill, etc. Those things add up pretty quickly if you don't watch your statements.

Which industries are big in Chinese PE at the moment? I'm talking about a serious unmet demand and the available catalysts to finally meet that demand? I know healthcare is one of those since it's one of the few areas foreign money is allowed to invest in.with less restrictions. Also the Chinese healthcare reform sets several goals that makes drastic change in healthcare possible

May 16, 2013
couchy:
NiuShi:

@couchy - Salaries will naturally not be as high as in the U.S. unless you are on some sort of expat package. Because the cost of living here is considerably less than in the States (though the rents can be close) there's less of a flashy lifestyle to finance generally, which is something I actually enjoy.
Having said that, Directors or Investment Managers of firms here get compensated just slightly below the U.S. on 'quality of life' parity terms. What I mean by that is you can do all the same stuff you could in the U.S. (live in a nice place, go out a bunch, travel) but you'll have far less overall savings to work with.
Something I didn't expect though, is that the usual perks that come with a NYC banking or PE job are amiss over here - expensed dinners, cars home late at night, general smoothness of taking care of your cell phone bill, etc. Those things add up pretty quickly if you don't watch your statements.

Which industries are big in Chinese PE at the moment? I'm talking about a serious unmet demand and the available catalysts to finally meet that demand? I know healthcare is one of those since it's one of the few areas foreign money is allowed to invest in.with less restrictions. Also the Chinese healthcare reform sets several goals that makes drastic change in healthcare possible

You touch on an interesting point here in Chinese Healthcare PE. That is what I'm focusing on right now and think it's a great spot to be. Reason is generally that the 'know-how' comes from the West and needs help in making the technology transfer into China. Chinese firms aren't necessarily equipped to do it themselves, and unless you're dealing with a big daddy like Thermo Fisher or Medtronic, they won't be super psyched about forming a JV over here.

If I were a betting man, I'd say healthcare reform is going to be a headline story of PE in China over the next decade and beyond. Among other industries I might be considering: oil and gas machinery component companies and F&B. Think of what underlying trends are driving the Chinese growth engine now, as it's a different model than the export-led boom of the 90s and 2000s. What will middle-class Chinese consumers be buying that they weren't 5-10 years ago? What will they want in 5-10 years?

I'm personally bullish on healthcare and senior care right now. The amount of senior citizens in China will triple over the next 30 years and that's a function of demographics that won't change (notwithstanding a black swan event like the bubonic plague round 2. Bird flu anyone?).

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May 16, 2013

how did you land a job over there after gradating form a target over here? my understanding is that in this case campus recruiting is generally ineffective, and that one has to rely on networking, or a network, to get them there. Is this correct?

May 16, 2013
angelinajolie:

how did you land a job over there after gradating form a target over here? my understanding is that in this case campus recruiting is generally ineffective, and that one has to rely on networking, or a network, to get them there. Is this correct?

Generally true. I interned for a firm in Shanghai during college and that provided me with all the exposure I needed to meet folks and get my name out there. Because there aren't so so many white guys from the U.S. out here, it you meet someone interesting, they are generally willing to give you the time of day. Meeting CEOs, MDs, and Partners of firms is a pretty common occurrence. (In Beijing, this is even more true, especially in Finance)

On-campus networking isn't so great for jobs in China, but what I might suggest if you are still in college is to work at a company that has Asian exposure and after you nail the internship, ask to be sent abroad. You'll be one of the only first-years to make that kind of 'wild and crazy' request and it'll have a good chance of happening.

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May 16, 2013

@whotookmybowtie - Great question. The most effective networking I've done in Shanghai is through family events. If you can get an invite to anybody's family event, whether it be son's birthday party, daughter's graduation, picnic with friends, whatever, it's gold.

Those who are career-driven in Shanghai work their tail off. The Chinese are known for their tireless work ethic at math and science and yada-yada, but when it comes to jobs, they f*ckin' grind. And if you're not down to do it, then there is a line out of the door of qualified candidates to take your spot. So family gatherings/events work really well for two reasons: 1) This is a time when they can actually let their hair down, so to speak, and relax without worrying of having to get back to work. Someone will actually level with you and take time to speak with you about the industry and what they do. and 2) Asian culture, and especially Chinese culture, is incredibly family-oriented. If you are able to align yourself with another person's family and can be seen as being supportive of them, their friends and business contacts will trust and respect you.

As I'm sure many of you readers have heard and read, Chinese business is a relationship-oriented one. At the risk of speaking too broadly, Chinese don't trust those who aren't 'in the family.' While it's fine to go out to dinners and get drunk with colleagues and others in the industry, when networking, pause a bit and focus on the familial relationships there. It sounds weird, but be more of a brother/sister/cousin than a friend. Networking in China should be seen as more of working your way into a benign mafia than getting smashed with your frat bros.

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May 16, 2013

I have a few questions - ABC fresh out of undergrad and currently working in Shanghai but getting paid shit (6k RMB a month) and thinking of going back to the states to get a real finance job.

1. How did you land your first job in China? I'm looking for a more immersive experience (like working at an SOE) that would allow me to use my chinese more often than I do now.

2. How many years of shit pay / english tutoring did you have to endure before getting a comfortable salary?

3. How did you get past work visa issues? A VP at rothschild tried to get me an internship but HR wouldn't allow it. I got a Macquarie interview for equity research but they told me they couldn't hire foreign passport holders so the interview was cancelled. You need to have at least 2 years of work experience or be 25 to get a proper work visa. (I'm currently on a tourist visa and have to leave for HK every so often)

4. Most of the jobs I see look for locals, not foreigners (at least at the junior level). I've interviewed for maybe 7 or 8 boutique banks but they weren't really interested in hiring a foreigner, though I had interned at a boutique bank before in Shanghai. What was your competitive advantage that you offered?

Best Response
May 16, 2013
highhater:

I have a few questions - ABC fresh out of undergrad and currently working in Shanghai but getting paid shit (6k RMB a month) and thinking of going back to the states to get a real finance job.

1. How did you land your first job in China? I'm looking for a more immersive experience (like working at an SOE) that would allow me to use my chinese more often than I do now.

2. How many years of shit pay / english tutoring did you have to endure before getting a comfortable salary?

3. How did you get past work visa issues? A VP at rothschild tried to get me an internship but HR wouldn't allow it. I got a Macquarie interview for equity research but they told me they couldn't hire foreign passport holders so the interview was cancelled. You need to have at least 2 years of work experience or be 25 to get a proper work visa. (I'm currently on a tourist visa and have to leave for HK every so often)

4. Most of the jobs I see look for locals, not foreigners (at least at the junior level). I've interviewed for maybe 7 or 8 boutique banks but they weren't really interested in hiring a foreigner, though I had interned at a boutique bank before in Shanghai. What was your competitive advantage that you offered?

Mate, you're dealing with a bunch of common problems that a foreigner experiences working in China. Let me level with you - you're going to be paid like crap until you can prove that you are invaluable. The same is true everywhere, but in China there are simply more college graduates and well-qualified folks who can take your spot. The competition is not getting easier either. Spend your off-hours preparing for the next project or building up your chops for interviews. Because Chinese (especially in Shanghai) are notorious job-hoppers, firms aren't willing to pay big dollars until you prove yourself and your commitment to the organization...

1. See previous response - interned in college and leveraged the opportunity to a post-grad job.

2. Depends what you view as comfortable. Personally, I live in a small 'Chinese' apartment that suits me fine but costs 1/3 what everyone else my age is paying. I cook a lot at home and get drunk at the corner store before I head out to the bars on weekends. As Andrew Carnegie said, "Watch the costs and the profits will take care of themselves." I'm sorry you're getting crap pay right now, but if you really want to fix that, get a part-time job on Saturday and Sunday mornings and teach English for two hours each day. Bam, you've increased your monthly salary by 80%! Was that hard? 4 hours a week?

Don't complain how little you're getting paid - that should be the least of your worries at your age. Yes, I know - I wanted to simultaneously live like a rock star and also save up $1,000 bucks a month to put in my IRA when I was 22. Ya know what? It didn't happen. But what did happen was that I learned to appreciate not having much - now I feel rich even though I make a fraction of what my contemporaries in the states are raking in.

3. This is tricky. You won't be able to get sponsored for a work visa until two years after you graduate. I made some trips to HK myself for visa runs - they're less than desirable but part of the experience. I recommend next time you apply for a visa to get a 90 day entry/exit time window. It'll make it much more bearable.

4. The competitive advantage that I 'marketed' was market research. I've learned and studied various methodologies for estimating and finding 'proxy values' for measurements that are otherwise un-measurable in China and this proves immensely valuable for the PE industry insofar as evaluating deals. I also had a mixed experience of market research and management, so I played up the fact that I was able to strategically look at a business and locate its weaknesses, strengths. I'd suggest a good place to start, if you're considering a professional transfer, would be a book on consulting case studies. They give you a good framework on how to approach business issues and its valuable in whatever you do. Then move onto the finance-related stuff.

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May 16, 2013

For private equity in China, do you think success comes from having strong deal teams and expertise? Or does it come down more to having the right government connections?

May 17, 2013
Deo et Patriae:

For private equity in China, do you think success comes from having strong deal teams and expertise? Or does it come down more to having the right government connections?

Great question Deo - in my experience it depends on the industry. If you are working in a possibly sensitive industry then connections are vital to your success. However, if you are making the springs that go into staplers for office supply stores or what-have-you, the focus should be on deal teams and expertise.

Now, as I have a feeling that just skimmed the surface of what you're getting at, let me try at it from another angle: relationships with the government are always necessary. Always. However, that isn't what gets better deals done. Expertise gets the deals done - but government relationships enable you to make the most of them...

Government relationships in private equity is more about getting a favorable leasing agreement on the land you plan on building a new factory on or negotiating a tax break for the first X years of your contract with Y local government who can support your sales.

A guy I know made it big in a Tier 2 city because he had the Guanxi ('relationship' in Chinese) with a vice-secretary of the town that awarded him the contract to install all the new LED lights on the street lamps. Guy made bank. He extended his operation to nearby cities and was moderately successful, but nothing like the initial roll out. So although the deal was still profitable for him in all the other cities, he probably made 3-4x in the first city because he knew a guy who could hook him up with the contract.

In another sense, a big tech company in China has great relationships with a certain university in Beijing. They are able therefore to lease a prime building at next-to-no cost and run a seriously profitable business from there. Now, if a PE firm was to come in and buy them out, they might not get that same leasing agreement, but if they had favorable government relationships, it's possible they could maintain it.

Overall - government relationships are necessary to get the most out of a deal. But you hire experienced folks for that anyway...

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May 16, 2013

Hi NiuShi, thanks for answering my earlier questions. You mentioned that you started out as an analyst for a publicly-listed Chinese company. I was curious if this is a path you would recommend fresh graduates to take building solid fundamentals and networking. If so, what are the characteristics of the Chinese firms you find worth applying for? Thank you for taking the time.

May 17, 2013
whotookmybowtie:

Hi NiuShi, thanks for answering my earlier questions. You mentioned that you started out as an analyst for a publicly-listed Chinese company. I was curious if this is a path you would recommend fresh graduates to take building solid fundamentals and networking. If so, what are the characteristics of the Chinese firms you find worth applying for? Thank you for taking the time.

What is your end goal? Do you want to work in banking? PE? Corporate? China or globally-focused? Really depends on your goals.

If you want to work in banking, I'd definitely suggest a publicly traded Chinese company because you will have a unique and relevant angle to bring to your next firm.

Honestly, a great way to get into China is to develop some experience on the ground (internship, study abroad, even lengthy travel), work your way up for two years in a U.S. firm and then ask for a transfer abroad. This will actually provide value to the Chinese firm as you can bring over some expertise with you...

PM me and let me know more specifically what you're looking for longer term. We can go from there.

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May 17, 2013

Models and bottles?

May 17, 2013
CAinPE:

Models and bottles?

You can, but Chinese models prefer dudes with uber amounts of money. On the plus side, there are tons of European models here in Shanghai, so if that strikes your fancy...

Clubs here are fun. Too fun.

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May 17, 2013

Hey bullmarket, do you happen to play squash by any chance?

May 17, 2013

I am typing at the Shanghai Pudong airport right now after a 2 day trip here. How hot does it get here in the summer? The past 2 days the temperature has been good but rainy.

What is the level of Chinese proficiency you need to do IB/PE in China? I had some connection at DB in Shanghai but chose NY boutique IB instead. What is DB Shanghai's reputation? Thanks!

May 17, 2013
Mr.Saxman:

I am typing at the Shanghai Pudong airport right now after a 2 day trip here. How hot does it get here in the summer? The past 2 days the temperature has been good but rainy.

What is the level of Chinese proficiency you need to do IB/PE in China? I had some connection at DB in Shanghai but chose NY boutique IB instead. What is DB Shanghai's reputation? Thanks!

When I was there I basically took a cab whenever I could because it was so fucking humid. It's more acceptable to wear short sleeve collared shirts to work.

May 21, 2013

Yeah, super humid here in July/August. I touched a bit on the language issue further up the page - take a look.

DB's reputation in Shanghai is quite good insofar as currency trading and wealth management, but I'm actually unsure as the IB here. I know they have a big setup in HK but believe their Shanghai presence is rather small.

May 17, 2013

@Mr.Saxman: You have absolutely no idear how fucking hot it gets. The humidity is just on stupid level. You start sweating the moment you go out of the shower.

@Couchy: Short sleeved shirts are never acceptable.

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May 17, 2013
GreedIsGuud:

@Mr.Saxman: You have absolutely no idear how fucking hot it gets. The humidity is just on stupid level. You start sweating the moment you go out of the shower.

@Couchy: Short sleeved shirts are never acceptable.

agreed on the heat, and then the cold in the winter bites you like you wouldn't expect (though i hear beijing is even twice as bad, then add in snow...). at least thailand is only a short (~5hr?) flight away

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

May 17, 2013

Don't have much to add but this is one of the more interesting threads I've seen on here, so thanks to OP.

May 17, 2013

Great thread, thanks for posting.

For someone on the buyside but based in a Western market, which headhunters do you think have the best link to Asian firms? Do local PE funds even use recruiting firms to hire from overseas, or is there a strong preference for candidates on the ground?

May 21, 2013

(reply with quote below)

May 21, 2013
z04:

Great thread, thanks for posting.

For someone on the buyside but based in a Western market, which headhunters do you think have the best link to Asian firms? Do local PE funds even use recruiting firms to hire from overseas, or is there a strong preference for candidates on the ground?

Send me a PM, could send over a firm or two.

In general, they like recruiting from those already within China, but if you get in touch with the right guys and they think your CV will impress, they'll put it forward.

May 17, 2013

Thanks for taking the time to do this. It's been a very interesting read so far.

What is the hedge fund scene like in Asia? What's your view on the future of the alternative asset management industry in Asia? Is it still common, or even probable, for IBD Analysts in Shanghai/HK/Singapore to transition to a buy-side role in one or two years?

Also, I was surprised that PE compensation is lower in Shanghai than in the US. Does that hold true for HK and Singapore buy-side positions as well? I know that for IBD with international firms the pay is actually significantly higher than US pay.

May 21, 2013

(reply with quote below)

May 21, 2013
dm1992:

Thanks for taking the time to do this. It's been a very interesting read so far.

What is the hedge fund scene like in Asia? What's your view on the future of the alternative asset management industry in Asia? Is it still common, or even probable, for IBD Analysts in Shanghai/HK/Singapore to transition to a buy-side role in one or two years?

Also, I was surprised that PE compensation is lower in Shanghai than in the US. Does that hold true for HK and Singapore buy-side positions as well? I know that for IBD with international firms the pay is actually significantly higher than US pay.

Hedge funds in HK area alive and rocking. There are fewer in Shanghai for a number of reasons, RMB restrictions and taxes included, but more so because there aren't really that many seasoned finance professionals who have cut their teeth on the trading floor or at other hedge funds.

I would bet that HK and Singapore IBD guys have a much better shot to transfer to the buy side than the ones from Shanghai do, unless you're going for a super local fund. But even then, the IBD experience you'd get from HK/Sing is much more intense and mature.

HK/Sing buy-side positions pay considerably more, as does banking when compared to Shanghai. Pay in HK, for instance, is higher than U.S. pay, but HK is a ridiculously expensive place to live too. Don't forget about that.

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May 17, 2013

Thanks for the insights. Shot you a PM as I'm currently working in Shanghai at an MNC.

Is more % of time spent sourcing in China PE, what % of deals sourced ultimately get executed? Given that IPO markets have dried up, what others powers does your fund to influence getting your investment out?

May 21, 2013
lax88:

Thanks for the insights. Shot you a PM as I'm currently working in Shanghai at an MNC.

Is more % of time spent sourcing in China PE, what % of deals sourced ultimately get executed? Given that IPO markets have dried up, what others powers does your fund to influence getting your investment out?

Depends on the environment, but usually we'll churn through a bunch of deals before we find one that strikes our fancy. I'm sure the ratio is pretty similar to other firms out there.

I think a key part about the second question is the timing of when the investment goes IN. As a PE investor, you always need to have an exit strategy. Seeing a large backup in the IPO pipeline, many firms, ours potentially included, backed off otherwise attractive investments unless we thought there was clearly M&A opportunity there.

May 18, 2013
NiuShi:

I'm currently a Private Equity Analyst in Shanghai, China. ...

Very interesting thread. Thanks OP!

May 19, 2013

Thoughts on this thread: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/should-you-cheat

There's a lot about the Asian mentality towards cheating; I would be interested to hear your take on it.

May 21, 2013
tangent style:

Thoughts on this thread: //www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/should-you-cheat

There's a lot about the Asian mentality towards cheating; I would be interested to hear your take on it.

Yeah... there's a whole blog post or a book to be written here.

It's been said that there are two types of ethics in this world: Absolute and Utilitarian. Absolute is 'rule-based,' meaning that regardless of the circumstances, you either always do or don't do an action. Utilitarian preaches that what is best for the 'common good' is the justified action and will nearly always change based on your environment.

In my experience, Chinese ethical systems are nearly always in the latter camp. It's not to say they are unethical, by any means, but just that they play by a different set of rules. It's also been said that more religious societies tend to gear themselves more towards Absolute Ethics and cultures without a unified religion gravitate towards Utilitarian Ethics. I also believe this is true.

Business decisions in China are generally circumstantially-driven. But that's not to say there isn't room for absolutism.

May 19, 2013

Great thread, shows lots of similarities/differences I would never have thought would be important.

May 20, 2013

Great article and responses! Also, awesome name, but I have to ask is it Shi or Shi . Totally agree with how people here will pretty much grind themselves into a husk, so you always have to be on your game. What have you found to be the best way to decompress in China?

May 21, 2013

(reply with quote below)

May 21, 2013
Lao Bai:

Great article and responses! Also, awesome name, but I have to ask is it Shi or Shi . Totally agree with how people here will pretty much grind themselves into a husk, so you always have to be on your game. What have you found to be the best way to decompress in China?

Hah, the former mate. Someone previously called it out as 'Bull Market' in Chinese earlier in the thread.

As I'm not big on the KTV scene and all that goes along with it, I try to exercise as much as possible to decompress. For me, it just keeps me sharper as well as more relaxed. For fun though, there are tons of great nightlife spots and really cool dive bars if you head off the beaten path. Went with a friend to a Japanese/Jamaican themed one - place was groovy.

Get out of town for the weekend if you really need to. Seoul is 1.5 hrs away. HK about the same.

May 21, 2013

Interesting thread, thanks. A few questions:

The competitive advantage that I 'marketed' was market research. I've learned and studied various methodologies for estimating and finding 'proxy values' for measurements that are otherwise un-measurable in China and this proves immensely valuable for the PE industry insofar as evaluating deals.

- What's your take on the various third parties that try to do this (e.g. iResearch in TMT)? Are there any that you think are at all reliable?
- How does the overall level of due diligence compare to US PE shops? Are there ever side pocket arrangements that can override issues with "Chinese business practices"? Seems like there have been several high-profile acquisitions of companies that were pretty clearly frauds but the deal still got done. What's your take on how that happens?
- One weeknight free in Shanghai: any recommendations?

May 23, 2013

Hey NiuShi, interesting post, thank you! Im a chinese native, finished my undergrad in states last year, worked in business valuation till recently that I decide to take a pe analyst position in shanghai. I interned in the city before, absolutely loved it. couple things want to get your thoughts on:

1). do junior analysts need to go out to baijiu dinners at all? I'll prob throw up after one shot of the nasty thing
2). how are haigui kids viewed by partners/senior managers, or co-workers in general? my perception is that some of them dont quite like us somehow... your experience?
3). apparently guanxi is important. but is it the only thing to consider when taking up a project (e.g. pre-ipo equity investment)? how much of the time are actually dedicated to deal search, due diligence, valuation, etc. Looking forward to your comparison on us/china pe.
4). any reasonably priced golf driving range in Puxi?

Sep 21, 2013

But white lightning is so awesome, even the cheap stuff, after the first shot you don't taste anything. At all.

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.
Socrates

Jun 26, 2013

Niushi, I've learned that the top PE players in mainland China are heavily involved in politics, so far as to that some directors and decision makers are the heirs of current/ex politburo members. How does that affect global competitiveness of Chinese PE shops, and in the micro view, affect your climbing?

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Jul 22, 2013

I heard that in China, the typical 2 year BB IBD -> PE route does not apply here. Many Megafund hire analyst w/o prior IBD full time experience. Do you know what are some mega funds specifically that hire fresh graduate?

Jul 30, 2013

Finance Major and Chinese Minor here from a semi target. I took 4 years of Chinese in high school and one last year in college and will be doing Intermediate Chinese this fall as week as studying at Peking University next year. How much Chinese did you study and do you recommend any ways that worked best for you to learn it? Mine is nowhere even close to working proficiency, and it seems like it is a lightyears away before I am really good at it.

Sep 2, 2013
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There is a WILL, there is a WAY.

Jul 31, 2014

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