Setting up a mutual fund in China or India may be appealing to U.S. fund companies because of the growing affluence and high savings rates in those countries. But it is a long and multi-faceted process.

The effort typically requires a joint venture, and as a result "it involves both a corporate transaction as well as setting up a domestic fund product," said Chris Christian, a partner with Dechert, an international law firm with an investment management practice.

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