BlackRock is set to become the first wholly-owned foreign fund manager to tap China’s $220bn onshore exchange-traded fund (ETF) market with the launch of its first offering later this year, reported Reuters citing two people privy to the development.

The US asset manager, which has 70% of its $10trn global portfolio invested in ETFs and index funds, is currently hiring staff to support its plans.

According to the sources, BlackRock targets to launch its first ETF product in the fourth quarter of this year.

The new offering is expected to add to the $1.07bn (CNY 6.8bn) worth of assets the firm manages through two mutual funds that invest in Chinese and Hong Kong stocks.

A number of index providers have approached BlackRock for the tracking of its first ETF offering but the firm is yet to finalise an index, the sources divulged.

A carbon neutrality-themed index composed by China Securities Index Co is said to be among the options considered for the product

BlackRock said in a statement to Reuters: “BlackRock is committed to helping more Chinese investors achieve their financial goals by bringing them a broader suite of investment products and solutions, including ETF and index investments.”

The firm also said that it is “investing in more local talent” in line with its “growth priority”.

In June last year, BlackRock secured regulatory approval for the establishment of a fully owned mutual fund business in China.

This February, the firm’s China wealth management joint venture secured regulatory approval from China’s banking regulator to launch wealth management products for pension.