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BlackRock's buyout arm sees opportunities in China real estate

The BlackRock logo is seen outside of its offices in New York in this January 18, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

HONG KONG (Reuters) - The private equity arm of BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) is ready to increase its exposure to Chinese commercial real estate as it sees good entry points following recent weakness in the economy and credit environment, an executive of the U.S. money manager said on Monday.

John Saunders, Head of Asia-Pacific Real Estate at BlackRock, told Reuters the fund would target mass-affluent shopping malls and Grade A and B offices in China's first-tier and selective second-tier cities.

"We see the current malaise as a good entry point that we believe will throw up some good opportunities," Saunders said in an interview at his office in Hong Kong's central business district.

BlackRock, which is the world's biggest asset manager, oversees about $8 billion in property investments in Asia.

(Reporting by Clare Jim and Denny Thomas; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Muralikumar Anantharaman)