Vanke to invest $435 mln in China property agency Lianjia

* Vanke investing sum for an undisclosed stake

* Sunac's Jan investment in Lianjia had valued it at $6 bln

* Baidu, Tencent, Huasheng Cap among other backers - local

media

(Adds details of deal and background)

HONG KONG, April 20 (Reuters) - China Vanke

, the nation's No.2 homebuilder by sales, is

investing 3 billion yuan ($435 million) for an undisclosed stake

in domestic real estate agency Lianjia, becoming its latest

heavyweight backer ahead of a planned initial public offering

(IPO).

Beijing-based Lianjia already has the backing of Chinese

technology giants Baidu Inc and Tencent Holdings

as well as venture capital firms including Huasheng

Capital, according to local media.

In January, Vanke's smaller peer Sunac China had

invested 2.6 billion yuan in Lianjia for a 6.25 percent stake,

valuing the real estate agency at 41.6 billion yuan ($6.04

billion).

Vanke, the object of a bruising power struggle, has been

spreading its wings over the past two years to areas such as

property management and logistics property as the development

business struggles amid tightening margins and intensifying

competition.

It has been in crisis since late 2015 as financial

conglomerate Baoneng Group built up a 25 percent stake and

sought to oust management.

"Vanke is optimistic about Lianjia's development outlook,"

Vanke said in a statement on Thursday that disclosed the

investment. It did not reveal the size of the stake it bought in

Lianjia.

Local media first reported Vanke's investment in Lianjia,

also known as Homelink, on Wednesday.

In April 2016, Lianjia, aiming to IPO in China, Hong Kong or

the NASDAQ, raised 6 billion yuan from Baidu, Tencent, Huasheng

Capital, Source Code Capital and others, according to local

media.

Sunac said in January Lianjia had a network of over 8,000

branch offices covering 28 key cities and over 130,000 real

estate agents in its workforce. Its unaudited consolidated net

assets amounted to 1.6 billion yuan as of the end of June, 2016.

($1 = 6.8865 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Clare Jim; Additional reporting by Elzio Barreto;

Editing by Joseph Radford and Muralikumar Anantharaman)