Despite a more than 40% decline in Chinese funds last year, Toronto-based Manulife Financial is determined to launch a mutual fund business in China before the end of the year.

"In 10 years time, I still believe we are looking at a $1 trillion mutual fund market," Michael Dommermuth, Manulife's head of Asian investments, told Canwest News Service. "Long term, it is a market you cannot avoid."

Mutual funds were growing rapidly in China until 2008, when the country's 61 fund managers watched their assets fall 39% from $480 billion to $292 billion.

Performance across the Chinese fund management industry was "ugly" in 2008, according to a report by Shanghai-based consultant Z-Ben Advisors.

"Every single equity mutual fund in China ended the year down more than 30%," the report said.

Manulife is betting that the country will rebound from its 65% drop in domestic equity markets.

"Manulife tends to be a value buyer and the current environment is a value environment in which the most attractive opportunities present themselves," Dommermuth said.

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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