U.S. buyout firm KKR & Co has been strengthening its Seoul office team this year, hiring more high-level staff to expand its presence in South Korea.

KKR has recently appointed Hyu Noh as director of its client and partner group, sources said on July 17. In this role, Noh will be responsible for diversifying and growing a roster of limited partners. He spent 13 years at Goldman Sachs before joining KKR.

The hiring came after Amy Lee joined KKR last year as principal of the same division. Before moving to KKR, she worked at GCM Grosvenor and Standard Chartered’s private equity unit where she was in charge of communicating with South Korean institutional clients about their needs and new business opportunities.

The moves by KKR to bolster its fundraising team in Seoul can be seen as part of its efforts to raise a new fund focusing on investment opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region – KKR Asia Fund IV – with a target fund size of $12.5 billion, industry watchers said. Many South Korean asset owners are said to be considering investing in the fund.

Over the last year KKR has also increased its investment team in Seoul from four senior professionals to nine. Among the newly recruited members are Keith Kim (director) who led several large deals at Macquarie Group before joining KKR and Josh Lee (principal) who previously worked at Kylin Management LLC and Apax Partners LLP.

KKR’s South Korean portfolio companies include e-commerce platform Tmon Inc, acquired in 2015, and auto parts supplier LS Automotive Corp, bought in 2018. The firm also acquired a real estate project in the Gangnam business district where formerly Hotel Renaissance was located in partnership with IGIS Asset Management in the same year. Most recently it signed a deal to buy waste management company Eco Green Holdings from Anchor Equity Partners. (Reporting by Hee-yeon Han)