AMP Capital has become the latest big financial services company to bulk up its Asian presence, forming a funds management joint venture in China with the country's largest insurer.
On Monday the financial services giant said it would take a 15 per cent founding stake in China Life AMP Asset Management. China Life Insurance Group will hold the rest.
The move is an attempt to exploit rapid growth in China's wealth management sector, and a recent rule change that allows China's insurance companies to offer funds management.
The business would aim to sell domestic equities and fixed-income products to retail and institutional customers in China, AMP said.
The company cited private-sector forecasts that assets under management in China's mutual fund industry would reach $800 billion this year and almost $1.5 trillion by 2017.
AMP already has a presence in Japan and China, and chief executive Craig Dunn said the Chinese market was central to its strategy.
"A funds management joint venture in China is a strategically significant move for AMP, giving us direct access to the world's second-largest and fastest-growing major economy," he said.
Several large Australian financial services firms are eyeing the growth potential of Asia's rising middle classes.
Big banks with minority stakes in financial services businesses in Asia include Commonwealth Bank, which has stakes in banks in China and Vietnam, and ANZ, said to be considering selling its stake in Indonesian lender Panin Bank.
Insurance Australia Group also plans to obtain 10 per cent of its gross written premiums from Asia by 2016, after expanding in Thailand, Malaysia, India, China and Vietnam.