Private equity firm Blackstone Group has hired a Deutsche Asset Management executive to a new position running its capital raising and other operations across Asia Pacific, the firm said on Monday.

The hire comes as Blackstone, one of the world's largest private equity companies, increases its presence in Asia. Sources told Reuters earlier in June that the firm is in talks with the Shanghai city government to set up a wholly owned China subsidiary as it prepares to launch a local currency private equity fund.

Philip Levinson joins from RREEF, the global real estate, infrastructure and private equity unit of Deutsche Bank's Asset Management division.

He will be responsible for raising capital for Blackstone's funds, maintaining client relationships and helping develop new products across Asia Pacific.

A decision has not yet been made as to where he will be permanently based, a spokeswoman said.

In another link with Asia, a source told Reuters earlier this month that Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp is poised to invest around $500 million into a Blackstone hedge fund unit. The Wall Street Journal first reported that proposed investment.

VCCircle adds: Last year, Blackstone India chairman Akhil Gupta said that his firm is thinking of raising an infrastructure fund. This was after Balckstone pulled out from $5 billion India Infrastructure Fund Initiative (IIFI) along with IDFC and Citigroup. The private equity major pulled out as it was allotted a very small part of the equity component of the fund.

Meanwhile, Blackstone has also announced that it has closed its latest real estate fund, Blackstone Real Estate Partners Europe III, with about €3.1 billion in committed capital. The New York-based private equity firm said its target for the fund was €2.5 billion in capital.

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