REAL ESTATE - CB Richard Ellis has hired former Macquarie Properties Japan president Steve Bass to head its Tokyo office just weeks before it launches operations in China.

Bass, a former CBRE executive, will handle the firm’s investments in Japan, where he has operated for the past nine years.

Mark Karlan, executive managing director and head of the firm’s Asia investments, said the appointment was based on Bass’s ability “to source, analyse, underwrite and close” deals in the Japanese market. At Macquarie Bass, a fluent Japanese speaker, led the acquisition of individual properties, complex portfolios and distressed property companies.

CBRE set up a $1.3bn venture in Tokyo in the 1990s and boosted its operations earlier this year when it acquired a majority interest in Ikoma, its local affiliate. That deal made CBRE the market’s largest player.

About the new China office CBRE had little to say, acknowledging only that the office would open “in the near future”.