KPMG , provisional liquidator of the Hong Kong unit of collapsed U.S. futures brokerage MF Global Holdings , said it was focussed on returning client funds having failed to sell the business.

Tuesday's statement from KPMG came as the Australian arm of MF was shut down after failing to get an adequate offer and underscored the difficulty liquidators have had in selling MF's Asian business, which generated around 14.4 percent of the company's global revenue.

MF Global, which filed for bankruptcy on October 31 having placed disastrous bets on European sovereign debt, has laid off nearly half its staff globally, including more than 1,000 employees of the company's broker-dealer unit.

As we have not been able to sell the Hong Kong business as a going concern, our priority is now to resolve the various operational, legal and regulatory issues standing between clients and their margin funds, Patrick Cowley, a principal at KPMG China, said in a statement.

He added the exercise to return money will take time.

It will involve a reconciliation of the clients' net closed-out cash positions and any interim distribution to clients is likely to require sanction from the Hong Kong Court, he said.

In Asia, the brokerage had large derivative businesses in Singapore, offices in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Taipei and Shanghai, and a joint venture in India with Sify Technologies Ltd .

In Taiwan, the branch office of MF Global was shut after provisional liquidators took over the Singapore unit, a spokeswoman for MF Global said. The Taiwan branch was under the Singapore office.

She said the joint venture between Taiwan securities firm Polaris and MF Global was still operating, but a source familiar with the situation told Reuters in Taipei that MF Global could no longer exercise its right as a shareholder in the JV after the bankruptcy filing.

The source did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Polaris could not be immediately reached for comment.

(Additional reporting by Faith Hung in Taipei; Editing by David Holmes)