NEW YORK, Sept. 22 (Reuters) – Carlyle Group Inc (CG.O) chief executive Kewsong Lee said on Wednesday that the US private equity firm will remain a long-term investor in China despite “shocks” that pissed off some investors.

Authorities in Beijing have in recent weeks imposed restrictions on companies, including those in the tech sector, to control big data and break monopoly practices. They announced an investigation into Didi Global Inc (DIDI.N) and ordered the removal of its downloadable apps in China days after the rideshare giant’s New York IPO.

The crackdown has raised concerns among investors about the policy changes and wiped out hundreds of billions of dollars in market value from some of China’s largest companies, including Alibaba Group Holding Limited (9988.HK) and Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700 .HK). Investor concerns this week that property developer China Evergrande could default on its massive debt added to market nervousness. Read more

“At Carlyle, we’re very strategically engaged in this region and we’ve seen these kind of bumps in the middle of the night in this part of the world,” Lee said in an interview at a Reuters Newsmaker event in New York City when he was asked about the impact of Chinese restrictions on businesses.

Lee said sophisticated investors such as sovereign wealth funds and pension plans remain underinvested in China, the world’s second-largest economy, and that there are still opportunities for investment firms with local expertise such as than Carlyle who can navigate the country’s complex regulatory environment.

Carlyle, who had $ 276 billion in assets under management at the end of June, continues to focus on increasing consumers in China, its under-penetrated healthcare industry and Chinese technology companies, Lee said.

Regarding sustainability and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), Lee said that in the first half of this year, nearly 60% of directors who joined companies controlled by Carlyle since at least two years came from various backgrounds. backgrounds, which puts him ahead of his goal of 30%.

He also said that even companies whose businesses contribute to climate change can be good ESG investments if their track record improves enough.

“I think people also need to understand that you have to invest in traditional businesses to provide capital to enable them to make the transition,” he said.

Lee has implemented changes to improve Carlyle’s fee income and increase its stock price, which has doubled in the past 12 months. He said the company’s strategic plan was paying off, with the pace of fundraising and investment picking up quickly and performance fees hitting a record high.

Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York Editing by Matthew Lewis

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