More top China fund houses are planning to open offices in Hong Kong. Further to ShenzhenÆs China Southern Fund, two industry heavyweights û China Asset Management (ChinaAMC) and Harvest û say they will make their way to Hong Kong within the year.

ChinaAMC is currently the industryÆs largest fund house with total assets under management of $248 billion as at the end of 2007. Harvest is 30% owned by Deutsche Asset Management and is the industryÆs third largest with $207 billion in assets at the same period.

The two fund houses say the Hong Kong base will be used for QDII-related investment and research functions initially. Any further plans are still under discussion, but it is likely ChinaAMC will follow a boutique model or seek an external partner in building a regional presence.

Ding Chen, a director for international business at China Southern, says she hopes a Hong Kong presence will be a first step in turning the firm into a global business in the future.

However, these fund executives say they are concerned about attracting good talent in the city and finding ways to keep an overseas presence sustainable for the long-term.

Unlike Harvest, which has its foreign product tied to shareholder Deutsche, ChinaAMC is a local independent fund house wholly owned by Citic Securities. It has expanded recently after a merger with Citic Fund Management, a smaller fund house owned by shareholder Citic.

ChinaAMC launched its first QDII fund in September 2007. US fund house T. Rowe Price acted as its portfolio advisor.