Unravel the Misconception: Seminar on Private Equity's Job Industry

“We are like a silent contributor to the global economic development, our contribution should be more significant and earthshaking than anyone else could have imagined.” Mr. K.O. Chia, President of the Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, spoke at the “Seminar on Private Equity: Private Equity Industry Offers Career Options” jointly organized with Classified Post on 20 April 2011 at the Hong Kong Club Building, Central.

With over 30 years of international corporate executive experience, Mr. Chia was a managing director of a United States – Asia private equity-venture capital investment team managing US$1.6 billion in funds. He is not only a perfect example of a true expert who removes private equity (PE) investing from the take-the-money-and-run reputation, but he is also keen to unravel the conventional misconceptions surrounding the PE industry.

Mr. Chia demonstrated, precisely and aptly that, the true essence of any PE activities is that they act as a strategic pillar to accelerate economic development through investing in the next generation of industries, thereby creating employment opportunities.

“The PE industry welcomes just everybody, provided that they have passion and commitment, vision and guts, to explore and nurture disruptive business initiatives from scratch, whereas the risk of failed investment could be as high as one-fifth.” Mr. Chia highlighted. Facing with the booming employment opportunities in the PE industry, Mr. Chia reminded that, “…more than obvious, the PE industry requires candidates with strong financial skills ranging from financial statement analysis, fund management, corporate finance to accounting, while people with engineering background and historians also top our list of talent recruitment.” Surprisingly, “not only those with engineering background demonstrated proven problem-solving skills, people with historian background add value to look at economic cycles and aspects of an investment. Those legal background, human resources and marketing specialists also play a critical role in the PE investment activities.” Mr. Chia added.

According to Mr. Chia, private equity broadly falls into three categories. Funding for start-up companies with little or no liquidity is usually referred as venture capital. PE growth capital involves investment in continuing business at different stages of growth via mezzanine or expansion finance. Offering the least risk to PE investors is the buyout investment strategy, which involves the purchase of a company or a controlling interest to a corporation’s shares, often by an existing management team with investment from a private equity firm. Without backing by private equity investment, many of today’s successful companies would have to struggle to turn a good idea into a thriving business. Over the past years, the Mainland has attracted the lion’s share of PE investment. Companies that have benefited from PE investments include Tencent, Haier, Citic Group, and car and battery maker BYD, alibaba.com and ctrip.com international.

The seminar attracted 50 forward-thinking delegates with strong passion in entrepreneurship who were eager to explore extraordinary business possibilities for their own or their companies. Mr. Raymond Zhang, one participant recalled, “This event was precise, insightful, interesting and excellent. I am looking forward to hear more real war stories from Mr. Chia in the upcoming event.”

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