Principal Financial Group Inc. is setting up a mutual fund joint venture in China.[@@]

Principal, Des Moines, Iowa, will be joining with China Construction Bank Corp., Beijing, to form CCB-Principal Asset Management Company Ltd., Beijing.

The venture will sell mutual funds in China through China Bank, a bank with 15,000 retail branches and a 15% share of China’s mutual fund distribution market.

Principal has had representative offices in China for 10 years. It will own 25% of CCB-Principal. China Construction will own 65%, and China Huadian Group, Beijing, a power generation company, will own the remaining 10%.

Mutual funds in China managed about $40 billion in assets in 2004. Analysts are expecting to see rapid growth in fund assets, because the people of China have a 44% savings rate, and mutual fund deposits now amount to less than 2% of the country’s gross domestic product, Principal says.