REAL ESTATE - CB Richard Ellis Investors last week progressed its Asian expansion with the long-awaited appointment of a managing director for its China operations.

Hao Zhou, former president and managing partner of the Yangtze Special Situations Fund, will be based in Hong Kong.

Mark Karlan, US-based head of CBRE’s Asia strategy, cited Zhou’s "tremendous expertise and knowledge" and "great reputation". He said China was "a major focus of our Asia strategy".

Zhou’s marks the second senior regional appointment in as many months. In October the firm named former Macquarie Japan real estate boss Steven Bass managing director for that market.

CBRE set up a $1.3bn venture in Tokyo in the 1990s, expanding it earlier this year when it acquired a 51% interest in Ikoma, its local affiliate. The Ikoma deal made CBRE Japan’s largest player.

Local knowledge is at a premium in the firm’s strategy for Asian real estate.

Zhou is a native of Shanghai. Bass, who returned to the fold after serving previously as a CBRE executive, was a fluent Japanese speaker who had operated in the market for the best part of a decade.