(Yicai Global) April 26 -- The operator of Yu'Ebao, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s [NYSE:BABA] online investment platform, became the first Chinese fund company to manage more than CNY1 trillion (USD145 billion).
Tianhong Asset Management Co.'s assets under management (AUM) hit a record-high of CNY1.2 trillion at the end of the first quarter. Yu'Ebao's net assets under management were worth CNY1.14 trillion -- roughly equal to Guizhou province's 2016 gross domestic product -- as of March 31, up 40 percent from the CNY810 billion recorded at the end of last year, a company earnings report dated April 21 shows.
The number of Yu'Ebao users reached 325 million, outranking all other publicly-offered funds in the country. Some 99.72 percent of Yu'Ebao investors are individuals. Institutional stakeholders make up 0.28 percent.
About 500 million Chinese had money in public funds at the end of last year, per TX Investment Consulting figures.
As the internet became increasingly popular, Yu'Ebao's userbase in China's second- and third-tier cities and rural areas grew. Its market penetration in small cities contributed to its popularity.
Tianhong Asset Management was established in 2004 and it partnered with Alibaba to introduce Yu'Ebao, officially Tianhong Zengli Money Fund, in 2013. Users of Alipay, a financial and payment app developed by Alibaba, can purchase shares in the fund via the app.
The Tainjin-based firm's AUM of more than CNY500 billion was the highest among Chinese asset management firms in the first quarter of 2014.