Hillhouse Capital is one of world’s biggest and most successful investment firms, a financial powerhouse that has raised billions of dollars from universities, pension funds, foundations in the U.S. and elsewhere and reinvested those funds to produce outsized returns. This week, we look at one of the biggest names in global finance, an Asia-focused firm founded in 2005 by a freshly-minted MBA named Zhang Lei. With $20 million from the endowment at Yale, his alma mater, Zhang returned to China and made early investments in Tencent, JD.com, and then grew Hillhouse into an investment firm that now has about $60 billion in assets under management. In 2018, Hillhouse said it had raised $10.6 billion to set up a new fund1The Wall Street Journal said it was one of the largest funds ever raised by an Asia focused firm. The company, which has offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore, makes significant investments in China, India, Japan and South Korea. At The Wire, we will periodically focus on fast-growing firms investing in China, introducing them to our readers and mapping their corporate and shareholding structures. We begin with this brief overview of Hillhouse Capital.
Hillhouse’s Management Team
Every member of Hillhouse’s five-person management committee has been involved with the firm since its founding. Here’s a look at who they are. There officials biographical sketches can also be found here.
Hillhouse’s Limited Partners
Hillhouse’s limited partners include several American university endowments, government pension plans, and philanthropic foundations, among others, according to data from Pitchbook. While this data does not seem to include LPs in China, it does showcase some of the firm’s earliest American backers. That includes major names in higher education, philanthropy and the pension fund world, such as the Yale, Stanford, MIT, Princeton, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation2The foundation was cofounded by Penny Pritzker, who served as Secretary of Commerce under President Obama and her husband Bryan Traubert, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board. Shareholder records from WireScreen, our data platform, shows that Hillhouse also has China-based limited partners in its renminbi-denominated funds, which are a small part of its business.
Since its founding, Hillhouse has made more than 300 investments in companies ranging from internet startups like Meituan and Airbnb to pharmaceutical manufacturers and apparel retailers. More recently, Hillhouse helped back a management takeover of the Chinese appliance maker Gree Electric Appliances (Hillhouse acquired a 15 percent stake in Gree). What follows is a random selection of some of the deals the firm has participated in over the past two decades.
Manbang Group, a Hillhouse-invested Company
Manbang Group is a truck-hailing startup that was valued at $6.5 billion in its Series A fundraising round in 2018. That first round included 18 investors. Among them was Softbank, Tencent, GGV Capital, K11 Investment, Sequoia China, and Lightspeed China Partners, according to Pitchbook.
The group’s main product is a platform that connects truckers looking for jobs to shippers who need transportation for their goods. It was founded in 2017 in a merger between Guiyang Huochebang Technology Co., Ltd. and Jiangsu Manyun Software Technology Co., Ltd.
Below, using data from our WireScreen platform, we show shareholder records that detail who owns Guiyang Huochebang3This company was randomly selected to show an example of what a corporate shareholding structure looks like. It is not one of Hillhouse’s larger deals alongside Hillhouse.
Emma Bingham is a Boston-based editor for The Wire. Previously, she was editor in chief of The Tech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. @emmapbingham