Private Equity in Shanghai

Hi all,

I was wondering if anyone could share their opinion on PE recruitment in Shanghai for an internship position (with regards to recruiting from a local university there). I will be in Shanghai for a few months for exchange and would definitely like to work part-time there to have more exposure even if its unpaid.

Will give out SB as well.


Comments (7)

Best Response
May 9, 2015 - 6:27am

I used to live in the area for a long time although I'm based somewhere else now.

Work, if you can get it, will definitely be unpaid due to visa issues. You can't legally work, so getting a company to take you on and taking that risk is going to be a small challenge. But I have personally done it, and China is a relatively lax place for enforcement.

How you get a PE job will mostly depend on what kind of PE you want to do.

"PE", when in reference to firms in China, is mostly growth equity and few buyouts. My experience is limited to one PE firm, but in general PE firms there deal with series B/C funding, or earlier. Some VC firms will refer to themselves as PE firms. There is relatively less need for technical analysis and modeling, and more need for communication skills. A lot of the early stage opportunities PE firms there look at are run by financially illiterate people will lax documentation - so your awesome technical/excel skills will not really be super useful. Communication is paramount; at some firms you are likely to be involved in origination. This means speaking. In Chinese. Chinese (at the VERY least HSK 5) is important to get your foot through the door - and even then you will probably lose out to more hard-working (although less likable) Chinese speaking locals.

You can also try REPE. This is the relatively big area of PE in China. I have a lot of experience with one REPE fund. These places tend to be a lot bigger and more international - so less demanding Chinese-wise.

There is a little bit of a conundrum though. If you want to find a place with less demand on Chinese skills, you will have to be looking at the big, international, firms (like BX LOL). But these places will not likely take you on due to visa issues. The smaller places don't give two shits about visa stuff, but will naturally need a higher level of Chinese.

This thread is pretty good:…

May 9, 2015 - 6:45am

Hi HKglobal,

I am a Chinese but my standard of Mandarin is shit at the moment / cant be compared to the locals there. I am definitely alright with a small shop as the main purpose of the internship is to have a better understanding of PE in Shanghai. I understand that lacking of relationships there is a huge problem at the moment and I will try to work around it. I will be going to Shanghai Jiao Tong University and I will definitely try out the internship portal and reach out to the alumnis there.

Thanks a lot for sharing as well.

May 9, 2015 - 6:34am

Assuming that you're not Chinese(-looking) and do not speak Chinese:

I have the impression that private equity in China - considering only successful MM and MF PE - limits their hiring to mainland Chinese (educated overseas or in China) or overseas-born Chinese. A friend of mine who will intern with a top Chinese MF in Beijing told me that he would advise foreigners to "stay away from the megafunds" as he believes its impossible for foreigners to land anything at those places. China is relationship-driven to a very, very large extent and the Chinese culture is a very tough nut to crack. Even people from Hong Kong are often not "Chinese" enough to be effective in mainland China.

You might be able to find an internship in a smaller PE firm that is founded by foreigners, but I would be surprised if such shops perform well unless they have found a rather particular niche. Exceptions do of course exist, but I would be surprised to see anybody non-Chinese land investment-professional or full-time jobs at a well-reputed shop.

May 9, 2015 - 10:17am

I'm also interested in this topic. Is there a ranking of some sort of PE firms in Shanghai? What common background do junior level employees share at the top shops? Is recruiting similar to that in the U.S.?

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