Vanguard sells stake in joint venture with China's Ant

A logo of Ant Group is pictured at the headquarters of Ant Group, an affiliate of Alibaba, in Hangzhou

(Reuters) -U.S. mutual fund issuer Vanguard Group said on Tuesday it had sold its stake in a joint venture with Chinese fintech giant Ant Group, hastening its retreat from the world's second-biggest economy.

Vanguard's exit from China contrasts the ambitious expansion strategies of rivals like BlackRock and Fidelity over recent years.

Others like Sequoia, however, are splitting off their China arms to navigate an increase in geopolitical tensions between Washington and Beijing, particularly over Taiwan.

Vanguard said it will prioritize regions where it offers its own investment products and services. Its 49% stake in the venture, a digital investment advisory service, has been sold to Ant.

A Reuters report in March said Vanguard was mulling a retreat from China after a six-year presence in the country.

The stake sale was first reported by Bloomberg News earlier in the day.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Devika Syamnath)