Private equity is a booming business in the world's fastest-growing country, as companies seek ways to raise money other than knocking on the door of a big, state-owned bank or waiting in line for government approval to do an IPO. Increasingly, one of the men they turn to is Lefei Liu, chairman of the private equity arm of Beijing-based CITIC Group, the fast-growing state investment company. (Revenue last year climbed 37% to about $30 billion.) Before joining CITIC, Liu served as chief investment officer of China Life, where he led investments in China Southern Power Grid and China Union Pay. In early 2010, CITIC private equity raised $1.32 billion for its first industrial investment fund. Among the signs that Liu is a power player among financiers? He's been a featured speaker at Michael Milken's annual global conference.