Tencent, SenseTime executives join Khazanah’s board of directors

The Khazanah Nasional office.

Three new members joined the board of Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional Bhd starting June 26, the sovereign wealth fund said in a statement on Monday.

The new board members are Azian Mohd Aziz, head of advisory division for the Attorney General’s Chambers of Malaysia; Xiao’ou Tang, founder, SenseTime, and professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong; and Lau Seng Yee, senior executive vice president and chairman of group marketing and global branding, Tencent Holdings.

“Khazanah welcomed the new members at its board meeting today, and looks forward to continue working closely with the board led by our chairman, Mahathir Mohamad, in delivering on our mandate as the sovereign wealth fund of Malaysia,” the fund said in its statement.

Late last year, The Star reported that Khazanah was looking to appoint Tang, who founded the world’s most valuable artificial intelligence unicorn, to its board, in line with Khazanah’s emphasis on Chinese investments.

One of the first destinations as part of Khazanah’s overseas foray was China. The sovereign fund had in 2005 picked up a 9.9 per cent stake in China’s then-largest retailer Parkson Retail Group during the latter’s listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Subsequently, in 2011, it placed a huge bet on technology by putting in some $250 million into Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group. In its 2017 annual report, the fund said Alibaba “remains one of Khazanah’s most profitable investments”.

Following Malaysia’s 14th general elections last May, the entire board of directors at Khazanah resigned en masse to pave the way for its restructuring under the new government led by Mahathir. Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, former CEO of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), which is Malaysia’s largest pension fund, was picked to lead Khazanah in August.

This March, the $33-billion sovereign wealth fund embarked on a refreshed mandate by classifying its assets into separate commercial and strategic funds in order to growth Malaysia’s long-term wealth. In April, Khazanah shut its London office to redirect its focus on Asian investments.