Highland bolsters China office

Highland Capital Partners announced in September that it had hired two senior executives from Intel Capital in China to join its Shanghai-based office.

Kuantai Yeh, a former managing director of Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel Corp., and John Hsin, who was a director at Intel Capital in China, joined Highland as managing directors to help the U.S. firm boost its China deals.

Before joining Intel Capital, Yeh was a Hong Kong-based investment banker at Credit Suisse First Boston, where he led work on the initial public offerings of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) and Linktone Ltd.

Hsin was previously an Asia-based partner for Crystal Ventures, where he was involved in several of the firm’s major investments in Asia, including SMIC.

Intel Capital declined to comment on the departures or on Yeh’s replacement.

Highland Capital, based in Lexington, Mass., invests in seed, early stage and growth stage companies in the communications, consumer, digital media, health care and information technology sectors. It established its first fund in 1988 and currently manages eight funds with combined capital of nearly $3 billion.

Highland Capital’s China portfolio currently includes UUSee, a popular online video-sharing site, and Qihoo, an Internet search engine founded by former executives of Yahoo China.

Private equity and venture capital have only a brief history in China, although domestic mergers and acquisitions have been growing rapidly in recent years in tandem with the country’s strong economic growth.

Turnover among partners and portfolio managers is high in China as foreign funds compete for talent with both global firms expanding in China and with local funds that are popular among entrepreneurial Chinese. —George Chen, ReutersDEALWATCH: Four China investments by Highland Capital Partners

Beidou Phone Network_Mobile phone e-commerce website service.

Qihoo.com_Chinese Internet search engine.

UUSee Interactive Technology Co. Ltd._Video distribution website.

Undisclosed company_Secure content management solutions.

Note: Investments made between November 2006 and March 2008. Source: Thomson Reuters