Shanghai — China signalled further opening up of its financial services on Friday, saying it would let global asset managers apply for retail mutual-fund businesses through private fund units operating in the country.

Currently, 21 overseas financial institutions — among them Fidelity International, BlackRock and UBS Asset Management — have set up wholly-owned subsidiaries in China. But they can sell only to high-net-worth and institutional clients. Mutual fund businesses can only be conducted through joint ventures...

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