International fund managers are exploring partnerships with Chinese internet firms such as Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu. These funds have witnessed the rapid expansion of the online money market fund industry in China over the past two years and want to get involved.
Chinese money market funds’ assets increased sixfold to Rmb2.2tn ($350bn) in the 18 months to the end 2014, according to Fitch, the rating agency. It said the big increase was “mainly driven by retail demand for ecommerce [money market funds]”. These funds have been sold predominantly by large internet groups with vast customer bases, such as Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu — the Chinese equivalents of developed market companies such as Amazon, Ebay and PayPal. A spokesperson for Legal & General Investment Management, the £499bn asset manager, said the company “has not spoken with Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba, but is aware of this market trend”.