Alibaba-owned Ant Financial's Yu'e Bao began to disrupt the fund distribution business in China in 2013. At $251 billion in assets under management, it is now the world's largest money market fund, according to Cerulli. Fellow Chinese internet giants Tencent and Baidu want to replicate Yu'e Bao's success by offering funds online as well. 


Meanwhile in India, investors have a variety of options to choose from due to the Securities and Exchange Board of India's support of online methods of mutual fund distribution. Asset managers there use Whatsapp extensively for digital marketing and facilitating digital transactions.

Fintech players such as Ant Financial, Tencent, and peer-to-peer lenders Lufax and Dianrong are spreading their wings and forming partnerships in Asia. Asset managers will need to track developments and look out for the right partnership opportunities, the study said.