Canada-based Manulife Financial Corp has received regulatory approval in China to assume complete control of a funds joint venture, reported Reuters.

This approval enables it to bolster its presence in the country’s $3.8tn fund market.

The Canadian life insurer Manulife received clearance to assume complete control of its joint venture, Manulife Teda Fund Management, with the acquisition of 51% stake from Tianjin TEDA International Holding, a state-owned entity.

The 51% stake in the JV is worth a minimum of CNY1.75bn ($244m), which was the price asked by Tianjin Teda when it decided to divest its the share, according to the auction filings.

In June, Reuters reported that the regulatory accepted Manulife’s application to take complete control of the venture.

The JV had around $12bn in assets under management as of end-June.

Manulife acquired its 49% stake from ABN AMRO bank in 2010.

Manulife Investment Management head of wealth and asset management in Asia Michael Dommermuth was quoted by the news agency as saying: “Our approval is a very good sign for the industry as a whole for foreign participants seeking to operate in China’s market.”

Since late last year, Manulife IM appointed at least three senior investment specialists in Hong Kong.

“We’re going to focus on bolstering our fixed income and asset allocation capabilities with Manulife Teda,” Dommermuth said.