Blackstone China chairman steps down to join HK conglomerate


* Blackstone focused on real estate investing across Asia

* Former HK financial secretary Leung to take role at HKfirm in Feb

* Leung to stay as Blackstone adviser

By Stephen Aldred and Denny Thomas

HONG KONG, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Blackstone Group's Antony Leung is leaving his role as Greater China Chairman tolead a Hong Kong-based property conglomerate, the private equityfirm said on Tuesday.

Blackstone is the second global buyout firm in a week toannounce a senior leadership change in Asia, after TPG Capital brought senior partner Tim Dattels back from the UnitedStates to co-lead the region.

The moves come as private equity firms seek to spend theircash piles in Asia, at a time when competition among othercompetitors such as KKR & Co LP and entrenched Asiabuyout groups remains intense.

Leung, Hong Kong's former financial secretary, will becomethe group chief executive officer for Hong Kong-based propertyconglomerate, the Nan Fung Group, starting in February. He willalso retain an advisory role at Blackstone.

Leung, who was also the ex-Asia chairman for JPMorgan, was hired by Blackstone in 2007 to help it build outits fledgling Asia business.

The departure follows Andrew Quo, a former senior managingdirector and vice chairman for Greater China at Blackstone, whorecently moved to a senior adviser role at the firm.

Blackstone, the world's biggest private equity real estatefirm with $69 billion in assets under management, is stronglyfocused on real estate investments in Asia. It invests in Asiafrom a $13.3 billion global real estate fund, and a debut $4billion real estate fund for Asia.

Blackstone was one of the last of the big buyout firms toset up shop in Hong Kong, choosing Mumbai as its first Asiaoffice in 2005.

Leung joined Blackstone senior managing director Ben Jenkinsas co-head of the firm's Hong Kong office in 2007.

In December 2010, Blackstone named Michael Chae, a seniormanaging director in its New York office, as the head of privateequity in Asia. Jenkins left Hong Kong to return to the UnitedStates with Blackstone the following year.

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