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BlackRock, Inc. : BlackRock, China SWF to launch China-focused fund

04/25/2012 | 10:40pm US/Eastern

BlackRock Inc, the world's biggest asset manager will join hands with China's sovereign wealth fund CIC to launch a China-focused investment fund likely to be worth several billion U.S. dollars, the Financial Times quoted a senior CIC official as saying.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch's China Chairman Liu Erfei will leave the bank to run the fund, the FT said, citing unidentified sources.

The move is a sign of BlackRock's growing footprint in Asia, where the asset manager has only a small presence outside of Japan, it said.

A spokesman for BlackRock in Hong Kong declined to comment while representatives for China's sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corp <CIC.UL> were not immediately available to comment.

CIC, which managed $410 billion at the end of 2010, has obtained an additional $50 billion from China's central bank, sources told Reuters in February. It was set up in 2007 with a mandate to diversify part of China's foreign currency reserves into riskier overseas assets for higher returns.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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