SHANGHAI, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Chinese money managers are rushing to launch government bond funds to meet growing demand from banks who are leaning towards more transparent, low-risk investment products under new capital management rules starting in January.

More than 30 bond funds were launched in December so far, with a total of 110 billion yuan ($15.4 billion) raised, the highest monthly bond fund raising this year, data from financial information provider Wind showed. Government and quasi-government bonds are popular among fund investors.

GF ChinaBond 0-2 Year Policy Bank Bond Index Fund and Bosera JinYuan Bond Fund raised nearly 8 billion yuan each, among the largest bond funds launched this year.

The bond fund launches come ahead of the implementation of the new capital management rules that increase banks' risk weight on products such as bonds issued by financial institutions and encourage lenders to invest in more transparent assets. Banks investing in funds whose ultimate assets are less visible may face higher capital requirements.

"The new rules will prompt mutual funds to issue more fund products with clear investment scope and whose assets are easy to penetrate, especially rate bond funds and some low-risk high-grade credit bond funds," said Wei Zhen, fixed income portfolio manager at Bosera Asset Management Co.

The new rules will affect how banks invest their proprietary capital into funds, said Desiree Wang, CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset Management China, adding that fund products with a clearer investment scope and lower risk weighting of the assets would be preferred.

The new measures will make banks' capital adequacy ratios more accurately reflect their overall risks.

Commercial banks lowered allocations to bonds issued by financial institutions in November, while they raised holdings of government and quasi-government bonds substantially, suggesting the new rules may have already showing some impact on institutions' behavior, Ming Ming, chief economist at Citic Securities, said in a note.

The new rules were finalised on Nov. 1. Risk weighting of government and quasi-government bonds such as policy bank bonds remains low at 0%.

Also benefitting from the new measures are passive bond funds.

Passive bond funds will attract strong interest from banks as the new rules shift allocators' preference to more transparent ones, said Ivan Shi, head of research at Shanghai-based fund consultancy Z-Ben Advisors.

Passive funds, versus the securities-picking active funds, typically follow a set index whose holdings are clearer.

Banks are major investors in some newly-launched bond funds.

The ChinaAMC SSE Market-Making Treasury Bond Index ETF has China Merchants Bank (CMB) as the largest investor.

Part of the reason that CMB owns a large percentage of the fund is that the bank has allocation needs towards government bonds, said Shilun Wen, portfolio manager of the fund at China Asset Management.

($1 = 7.1473 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Li Gu and Samuel Shen in Shanghai and Tom Westbrook in Singapore; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)