Qatar Holding has acquired 20% of Hong Kong and Chinese department store group Lifestyle International Holdings for $616m (£381m).
Lifestyle’s stores include Sogo in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay shopping area and four Jiuguang-branded stores in mainland China.
The deal adds to Qatar’s portfolio which includes Harrods, which it bought in 2010 for £1.5bn , and the 12.6% stake it holds in upmarket jewellers Tiffany & Co. Qatar Holding is also the largest shareholder in Sainsbury’s, holding a 26% stake.
Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the parent company of Qatar Holding, said in a statement: “This investment in Lifestyle International Holdings is a continuation of QIA’s investment plan to diversify its global portfolio; this time in Asia.”
The acquisition marks the start of a spending spree for the investment arm of the Qatari Government, which has a cash pot of up to $15bn (£9.3bn) to spend in China, Japan and South Korea, according to the Financial Times.
Singapore is also thought to be a potential target for investment.
Qatar Holding is buying the shares from Lifestyle’s major shareholder Real Reward, which is controlled by the family of Lifestyle chief executive, Hong Kong billionaire Thomas Lau, and a unit of the Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, which owns over 2,000 stores in China.
Lau will remain the largest shareholder at the firm but Qatar Holding will gain a seat on the board.
JP Morgan advised Chow Tai Fook and Bank of America Corp advised Qatar Holding.