Fidelity International (FIL) has obtained the nod from China’s securities watchdog to begin its mutual fund business in the country.

This makes FIL the third global asset manager to secure the clearance, following Neuberger Berman and BlackRock.

The approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission allows the firm to provide onshore investment offerings to retail customers along with asset management services to institutional clients.

Fidelity will offer these services in China through its wholly foreign-owned enterprise, FIL Fund Management (China) Company.

The firm calls China a “strategic, long-term priority market”, where it has workforce of 1,900 across its three offices in Shanghai, Dalian and Beijing.

It submitted its application in May 2020 vying to enter China’s $3.7tn mutual fund industry and secured preliminary clearance in August 2021

“We aim to build a diversified financial services company with a strong footprint in pensions and asset management in China,” FIL Fund Management (China) Company general manager Helen Huang said.

BlackRock received the approval for mutual fund operations in China last year in June, while Neuberger Berman secured the go-ahead for the same last month. In September 2021, BlackRock raised almost $1bn from over 111,000 investors for its mutual fund debut in China.

The moves are the result of China’s liberalisation of its financial sector, aimed at boosting competition in the industry.

In 2020, the CSRC scrapped foreign ownership restrictions in the fund management and securities businesses under the Sino-US trade deal.