On March 28, some of us at CER attended a promotional event for this year’s China International Private Equity Forum in Tianjin. It’s a big do with thousands of private equity and venture types hobnobbing with government officials, potential investment targets, lawyers, accountants and so on. The first event, held last June, was attended by 223 investment companies, who together control US$471.2 billion in assets, at least according to a brochure they gave us. Now that must be a tough crowd to please.
Tianjin is where the central government wants to develop a domestic VC and PE base. They’ve started some big funds there that are state-linked, like the Bohai Industrial Investment Fund (Our next cover story is about the private equity scene in China).
Anyway, this promotional event was held at the Shanghai International Convention Center, which overlooks the river and has great views of the Bund. Several government officials were in attendance to talk up the Forum, and were joined by a bunch of media people (all Chinese-language media, from what I could tell) and possible attendees.
The event itself was rather dull – four speeches by officials including the vice mayor of Tianjin in charge of finance, Cui Jindu. Slightly more interesting was the question and answer session that followed. We had a chance to ask about the seemingly evaporated through-train scheme, which was supposed to start in Tianjin banks (You may remember CER-editorial-top-dog Tim Burroughs’s post about disused equipment meant for the scheme piling up in a Bank of China office in Hong Kong). The vice mayor equivocated, saying that it’s a well-designed project and that the technology to execute it is well-developed. But about the actual launch date, he said only that they would launch it at the right time, under appropriate conditions. Ah well, it was worth a shot.