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Zheng Tan: Developing infrastructure in China​

With the opportunity to work on infrastructure projects as diverse as renewable energy and data centres, Zheng Tan's internship kick-started his career in asset management in China.  

In 2015, Zheng Tan joined Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) as an intern. At the time, he'd completed a Bachelor of Economics and was partway through his Master of Finance. 

“Macquarie is well-known," Zheng says “and I believed I could learn a lot from the internship." 

A growing opportunity

Zheng had completed internships at other banks and consulting firms and was keen to explore the significant opportunities he saw in developing infrastructure businesses in China. 

“MIRA is the number one infrastructure asset manager globally," Zheng says. “That really attracted me. So did the chance to build up MIRA's business in China, where there are a lot of great investment opportunities." 

Zheng's finance studies from two of China's most prestigious universities gave him a solid background. 

As an intern, he worked on the financial model to invest in a water treatment platform. Zheng says he was impressed by the trust his team members put in him right from the start. 

“During my internship, I realised that Macquarie had smart people and a flat culture with little hierarchy where you feel free to speak up and express your ideas." 

He says Macquarie's structure and culture reinforced the importance of being practical, open to learning on the job and self-motivated. 


The career journey: from Intern to Analyst to Associate

After completing his internship year, Zheng was offered a position as a Business Analyst in MIRA's infrastructure team. He was further promoted to an Executive and then a Manager. 

He says his team identifies and researches a potential investment, conducts the transaction to acquire it and then manages the asset through its life. 

“On the investment side we do the due diligence, undertake research projects, set up meetings to communicate with internal and external stakeholders and negotiate the legal documents," Zheng explains. “We then manage our invested assets." 

It's a varied role, and a typical day sees Zheng involved in many aspects of the deal. He might be speaking with potential partners, building financial models or contributing to critical business decisions about the ongoing management of the assets. 

“Making an initial investment itself is very interesting and fulfilling," says Zheng. “But it is only one part of the equation. The ongoing asset management is a longer-term play, and you need to solve problems and help the company grow and develop." 


A bright future for infrastructure in China

Zheng has worked on putting together deals in China for a variety of infrastructure assets and their ongoing management. These include large-scale renewables assets such as a wind farm, as well as water treatment facilities. 

“The most interesting project I've worked on is the investment in data centres," Zheng explains. “It's a new sector that's attracted a lot of interest". 

Away from his desk, Zheng says he enjoys the social side of Macquarie. His team recently won the karaoke competition at MIRA's annual conference and he has contributed to charity initiatives through the Macquarie Group Foundation. 

But the impact of his work keeps him firmly focused on the future. 

“Infrastructure is a relatively unique sector in that it's stable, but it takes longer to grow it," says Zheng. 

“Infrastructure development can support long term sustainable growth - both for the sectors we work in and MIRA," says Zheng. “I enjoy being part of something bigger and playing a role in developing the growing opportunities in China's infrastructure sector." 

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