China's Tencent starts fund advisory services to tap asset management

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese tech giant Tencent Holding 0700.HK is making forays into fund advisory services, vying for a share of the potentially lucrative market with rival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd BABA.N9988.HK, which entered the business just months ago.

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A logo of a Chinese tech firm Tencent, owner of a messaging app WeChat, is pictured in Beijing, China August 7, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Teng An Fund, Tencent’s fund distribution unit, starts offering selected investors investment advisory services this week, according to the company’s client service department, the latest sign that Chinese tech majors are bulking up in financial services closer to home amid growing scrutiny of their technology businesses overseas.

The service, which is called Yi Qi Tou and translates as “invest together”, recommends mutual fund investments to retail buyers as Teng An has teamed up with fund houses to create suitable investment advisory strategies.

Teng An Fund said the service would be officially launched via Tencent’s popular messaging app WeChat once the trial period is over, enabling its more than 1 billion users invest in fund products within the app.

The news was first reported by some local media earlier on Wednesday.

Tencent’s move came after its main rival Ant Group established a joint venture with U.S. asset management firm the Vanguard Group to offer a similar fund advisory service in China.

China started issuing fund advisory licenses last September. Mutual fund houses, brokerages, banks and fund distributors are also rushing to participate.

The tech companies are pushing forward on expanding their stakes in the financial sector at home at a time when they are facing mounting pressure overseas due to continued Sino-U.S. disputes.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to ban the short-video app TikTok and messaging service WeChat by late September on grounds that the Chinese-owned apps pose a national security threat, escalating a high-stakes confrontation with Beijing over the future of the global tech industry.

Beijing-based ByteDance, the owner of the TikTok, was also taking steps to move into the online stock brokerage and wealth management business in Hong Kong, trademark registration documents show.

Reporting by Winni Zhou, Samuel Shen and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Kim Coghill