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China approves BlackRock, Temasek and CCB joint wealth venture

BEIJING, Aug 22 (Reuters) - China has approved a wealth management joint venture between U.S. asset manager BlackRock Inc, Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings (Pte) Ltd and China Construction Bank Corp (CCB), as China gradually opens up its financial sector to international firms.

The announcement, which confirms what people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters in December, was announced on the website of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) on Saturday.

The article gave no further details about the venture or what services it would be offering.

The deal comes as China’s government looks to open up its financial market to foreign firms, offering potentially rich rewards for international fund managers and others in the broader financial sector.

Top global financial players have long sought to increase their presence in the relatively fast-growing Chinese economy, and in October last year China scrapped some restrictions on foreign banks’ operations in the country.

Two months later France-based Amundi, Europe’s largest asset manager, and Bank of China Wealth Management won approval from Chinese regulators to set up a joint venture, while banks including UBS and JPMorgan Chase have won approval to set up majority-owned China ventures.

But the Chinese industry remains dominated by domestic state firms and China has yet to open up some more sensitive areas of its financial industry.

A spokesperson for the CBIRC also said in an interview published on the watchdog’s website on Saturday that American insurer Chubb had been allowed to increase its stake in Huatai Insurance Group Co Ltd to 46.2%, becoming the biggest shareholder of the Chinese firm. (Reporting by Leng Cheng and Yew Lun Tian Editing by David Holmes)

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