Asset manager BlackRock has reportedly de-registered its Shanghai unit as part of its move to launch mutual fund business in China.

According to the Asset Management Association of China (AMAC) website, the US-based asset manager nixed the business registration of its wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE) unit in Shanghai last week.

Shanghai WFOE unit was registered in late 2017 to roll out private funds regionally. After China’s full deregulation of its mutual fund market, the business became ‘non-essential’.

Last August, BlackRock received the nod of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) to establish a mutual fund arm in China.

The watchdog had given BlackRock six months to set up the new unit, which yet to be launched.

Since China’s move to open up its $3.3trn mutual fund industry to foreign managers, a number of global companies including Fidelity International, Neuberger Berman and Schroders have approached CSRC for the clearance.

The Chinese mutual fund space is currently dominated by 147 players and 8,202 mutual fund products.

Earlier this month, American investment adviser Vanguard scrapped its plan to secure a mutual funds licence in China, citing a “crowded” market.

China moves by other firms

Last month, reports suggested that Credit Suisse is planning to triple its employee strength in China over the coming three years, continuing its build out in the market that has liberalised its financial services sector.

The same month, further deepening its China push, the asset banking arm of banking giant JPMorgan agreed to buy a 10% stake in the wealth management unit of China Merchants Bank.

In February, British fund manager Schroders secured the clearance to launch a majority-owned wealth management JV with a unit of Chinese lender Bank of Communications (BOCOM).

Last December, a Chinese unit of German banking group Deutsche Bank reportedly obtained a domestic fund custody licence, in the latest sign of China’s financial services sector liberalisation.