BlackRock (BLK) - Get Report has held talks over the past year with Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings (TCEHY) , as the world's largest money manager explores ways to strengthen its foothold in China, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal said the preliminary discussions have been focused on how to make BlackRock's tools and models for building investment portfolios more readily available in China.

The New York-based asset manager, which has some $6.8 trillion in global assets under management, has had a presence in China for more than a decade, and its top leadership has earmarked China as a priority, the Journal said. 

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Tencent, meantime, one of China's biggest tech companies and owner of the popular social-media platform WeChat, is among a number of companies that BlackRock is in talks with as it evaluates potential partners in China, particularly for expansion into financial services and other offerings, the Journal said. 

BlackRock in June said it had been approved to offer investment advisory services to asset managers, securities firms and other institutions in China. Like other foreign asset managers, BlackRock has so far been restricted from selling its own mass-market mutual funds in China, but is expected to apply to do so when Chinese authorities institute reforms in the coming year, the Journal reported.

Shares of BlackRock were down 1.94%, or $8.40 a share, at $425.46 in trading on Wednesday, while Tencent's American depositary receipts were down 1.1% at $41.02.