How to invest in China using ETFs

How do I invest in Chinese stocks?

The easiest way to invest in the whole Chinese stock market is to invest in a broad market index. This can be done at low cost by using ETFs.

On the Chinese stock market you find 7 indices, which are tracked by ETFs. The speciality of China are the three categories of Chinese stocks: A-stocks, B-stocks and H-stocks.

Besides Hong Kong listed stocks, indices on the BRIC countries or Asia can be invested alternatively. In BRIC indices China is strongly weighted with up to 72%. The Asian indices weight China with 43% or less.

0.40% p.a. - 1.11% p.a.
annual total expense ratio (TER) of China ETFs
on the Chinese stock market, which is tracked by ETFs
on the Chinese stock market
The best indices for China ETFs

Performance of Chinese stocks (Hang Seng China Enterprises (HSCEI))

1 month: 7.10%
1 year: 3.12%
3 years: 2.60%
5 years: 15.80%

Indices in comparison

The best indices for ETFs on China

For an investment in the Chinese stock market, 7 indices tracked by 11 ETFs are available. The speciality of investing in China are the different categories of Chinese stocks. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on these indices is between 0.40% p.a. and 1.11% p.a..

Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description

FTSE China 50

China 2 ETFs 50
The FTSE China 50 index tracks the 50 largest and most liquid Chinese companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (H-Shares, Red Chips und P Chips).
Index factsheet

FTSE China A50

China 2 ETFs 50
The FTSE China A50 (price) index tracks the 50 largest Chinese A-Shares listed on the Shanghai or Shenzen stock exchanges in local currency.
Index factsheet

Hang Seng China Enterprises (HSCEI)

China 2 ETFs 40
(30/11/15)
The Hang Seng China Enterprise (net) index (HSCEI) tracks the most important Chinese H-Shares, listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Index factsheet

MSCI China

China 2 ETFs 148
(31/10/16)
The MSCI China (total return) index tracks the largest and most liquid Chinese stocks, listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange (H-Shares, B-Shares, Red Chips, P Chips).
Index factsheet

MSCI China A

China 1 ETF 819
(31/10/16)
The MSCI China A index tracks the largest and most liquid Chinese A-Shares, denominated in Renminbi ("RMB") and listed on the Shenzhen and/or Shanghai stock exchanges. This index reflects Mainland China A-share securities from a domestic investor’s perspective.
Index factsheet

MSCI China A International

China 1 ETF 434
(31/10/16)
The MSCI China A International index tracks the largest and most liquid Chinese A-Shares, denominated in Renminbi ("RMB") and listed on the Shenzhen and/or Shanghai stock exchanges. This index reflects Mainland China A-share securities from an international QFII/RQFII investor’s perspective
Index factsheet

MSCI China H

China 1 ETF 71
(31/10/16)
The MSCI China H (total return) index tracks the largest and most liquid Chinese H-Shares, listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m CHF
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares China Large Cap UCITS ETFIE00B02KXK85 603 0.74% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
db x-trackers FTSE China 50 UCITS ETF (DR) 1CLU0292109856 176 0.60% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
db x-trackers MSCI China Index UCITS ETF (DR) 1CLU0514695690 167 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
HSBC MSCI China UCITS ETF USDIE00B44T3H88 151 0.60% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor Fortune SG UCITS ETF MSCI China A (DR) C-USDFR0011720911 54 0.65% p.a. Accumulating France Optimized sampling
Lyxor China Enterprise (HSCEI) UCITS ETF C-USDFR0010581413 47 0.65% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
iShares MSCI China A UCITS ETFIE00BQT3WG13 37 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
ComStage HSCEI UCITS ETFLU0488316992 32 0.55% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Source FTSE China A50 UCITS ETF AIE00BGSHB123 23 1.11% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
ComStage FTSE China A50 UCITS ETFLU0947415054 18 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF MSCI China UCITS ETF USDFR0010871111 8 0.55% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI China A 5.18% 5.44% 14.05% -11.99% -
MSCI China A International 5.92% 6.21% 16.05% -11.11% -
FTSE China A50 7.37% 8.10% 15.91% -2.31% -
Hang Seng China Enterprises (HSCEI) 5.53% 6.03% 20.39% 1.44% 3.11%
MSCI China 0.53% 1.93% 14.84% 1.85% 11.46%
MSCI China H 4.98% 5.63% 20.51% 2.27% 5.92%
FTSE China 50 3.30% 3.29% 16.63% 3.20% 11.55%
Index   2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
2012
in %
MSCI China A -11.35% 5.39% - - -
MSCI China A International -9.83% - - - -
FTSE China A50 -1.70% -8.28% - - -
Hang Seng China Enterprises (HSCEI) 6.56% -17.75% 26.49% -5.75% 15.18%
MSCI China 6.87% -7.82% 19.06% 0.00% 18.61%
MSCI China H 7.19% -16.13% 26.20% -4.85% 16.65%
FTSE China 50 7.74% -11.79% 24.30% -3.93% 13.73%

Source: justETF.com; As of 30/11/16; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.

 

The cheapest China ETFs
by total expense ratio (TER)

Show all

Speciality

Chinese A-stocks (A-Shares): Stocks of Chinese companies that are listed on the Shanghai or Shenzhen stock exchange and traded in local currency.

This category has been exclusive to Chinese investors. However, professional foreign investors with a special license are able to invest in these stocks under certain restrictions.

Chinese B-stocks (B-Shares): Stocks of Chinese companies that are listed on the Shanghai or Shenzhen stock exchange and traded in foreign currency.

This category has been open for foreign investments. Since the restrictions on A-Shares have been lowered, these shares tend to be losing liquidity.

Hong Kong H-stocks (H-Shares): Stocks of Chinese companies that are listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange and traded in Hong Kong Dollar (HKD).

This category has been open for foreign investments as well. Most institutional investors prefer H-stocks due to their relatively high liquidity.

 
Alternative investment opportunities

Indices on Hong Kong listed stocks

Besides China ETFs you can invest in ETFs on the Hong Kong stock market. In order to invest in Hong Kong there are 2 indices, which are tracked by 3 ETFs. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on Hong Kong is between 0.45% p.a. and 0.65% p.a..

 
Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description
Hang Seng (HSI) Hong Kong 2 ETFs 50
(31/10/16)
The Hang Seng (price) index (HSI) tracks the largest and most liquid blue chip stocks listed on the Hongkong stock exchange.
Index factsheet
MSCI Hong Kong Hong Kong 1 ETF 44
(31/10/16)
The MSCI Hong Kong index tracks large and mid cap stocks in Hong Kong.
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m CHF
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Hong Kong UCITS ETF (HKD) A-disLU1169827224 39 0.45% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
ComStage HSI UCITS ETFLU0488316729 29 0.55% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Lyxor UCITS ETF Hong Kong (HSI) D-USDFR0010581421 12 0.65% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
Hang Seng (HSI) 1.51% 3.07% 15.11% 4.74% 15.50%
MSCI Hong Kong 0.06% 4.42% 12.86% 7.69% -
Index   2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
2012
in %
Hang Seng (HSI) 9.63% -4.14% 14.58% 2.41% 21.82%
MSCI Hong Kong 10.76% - - - -

Source: justETF.com; As of 30/11/16; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.

 

Regional indices on Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC)

As second alternative you can consider ETFs on the BRIC countries. In total, you can invest in 2 BRIC indices tracked by 2 ETFs. In BRIC indices China is weighted with up to 72%. The S&P BRIC 40 contains the largest weight of Chinese stocks with 71.50%. The MSCI BRIC contains 56.34% China, the FTSE BRIC 50 59.48% and the DAXglobal® BRIC 35.92% (as of 31/10/2016). The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on BRIC countries is between 0.65% p.a. and 0.74% p.a..

 
Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description
DAXglobal® BRIC Emerging Markets
China: 35.92%
(31/10/2016)
1 ETF 40
The DAXglobal® BRIC (total return) index tracks the 40 largest and most liquid stocks of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China).
Index factsheet
FTSE BRIC 50 Emerging Markets
China: 59.48%
(31/10/2016)
1 ETF 50
The FTSE BRIC 50 index tracks the 50 largest stocks of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China).
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m CHF
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares BRIC 50 UCITS ETFIE00B1W57M07 273 0.74% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
RBS Market Access DAXglobal BRIC UCITS ETFLU0269999792 18 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
FTSE BRIC 50 -0.21% 1.97% 15.55% 10.65% 7.12%
DAXglobal® BRIC 0.14% 1.93% 14.08% 11.93% 2.39%
Index   2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
2012
in %
FTSE BRIC 50 18.01% -11.51% 6.85% -6.04% 8.74%
DAXglobal® BRIC 21.72% -13.61% 1.11% -9.01% 9.52%

Source: justETF.com; As of 30/11/16; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.

 

Asian indices with over 20% China share

As further alternative you can invest in indices on Asia. In total, you can consider 4 Asian indices, which are tracked by 10 ETFs. The Asian indices contain with 31% to 43% less Chinese stocks than the BRIC indices. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on Asian indices is between 0.20% p.a. and 0.74% p.a..

 
Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description
MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Asia Pacific
China: 31.30%
(31/10/2016)
2 ETFs 622
(31/10/16)
The MSCI AC (All Cap) Asia ex Japan index tracks equity markets of the emerging and developed countries of the Asia region, excluding Japan.
Index factsheet
MSCI AC Far East ex Japan Asia Pacific
China: 34.78%
(31/10/2016)
2 ETFs 548
(31/10/16)
The MSCI AC (All Cap) Far East ex Japan index tracks equity markets of the emerging and developed countries of the East Asian region, excluding Japan.
Index factsheet
MSCI Emerging Markets Asia Asia Pacific
China: 37.60%
(31/10/2016)
5 ETFs 550
(31/10/16)
The MSCI Emerging Markets Asia index tracks large and mid cap companies from Asian emerging markets.
Index factsheet
MSCI Emerging Markets Far East Asia Pacific
China: 42.72%
(31/10/2016)
1 ETF 476
(31/10/16)
The MSCI Emerging Markets Far East index tracks the largest companies in China (as accessible through the Hong Kong market), Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m CHF
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares MSCI AC Far East ex-Japan UCITS ETFIE00B0M63730 1,583 0.74% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Amundi ETF MSCI EM Asia UCITS ETF EURFR0011020965 703 0.20% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
db x-trackers MSCI EM Asia Index UCITS ETF 1CLU0292107991 609 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
db x-trackers MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Index UCITS ETF 1CLU0322252171 500 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF MSCI EM Asia UCITS ETF USDFR0011018316 296 0.20% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
SPDR MSCI EM Asia UCITS ETFIE00B466KX20 267 0.55% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI EM Asia UCITS ETFIE00B5L8K969 208 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
HSBC MSCI AC Far East ex Japan UCITS ETF USDIE00BBQ2W338 172 0.60% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI AC Asia Ex Japan SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00B7WK2W23 61 0.37% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
HSBC MSCI EM Far East UCITS ETF USDIE00B5LP3W10 40 0.60% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI AC Asia ex Japan -0.97% 0.23% 10.67% 4.76% 11.13%
MSCI Emerging Markets Asia -1.05% -0.31% 11.16% 4.85% 11.55%
MSCI Emerging Markets Far East -0.94% 0.14% 12.33% 5.24% 8.44%
MSCI AC Far East ex Japan -0.47% 0.87% 11.65% 5.42% 9.71%
Index   2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
2012
in %
MSCI AC Asia ex Japan 9.09% -9.49% 15.59% -0.69% 18.00%
MSCI Emerging Markets Asia 9.40% -9.93% 16.31% -1.55% 17.34%
MSCI AC Far East ex Japan 10.24% -9.74% 13.72% -0.22% 18.00%
MSCI Emerging Markets Far East 11.00% -11.52% 13.35% -0.58% 15.78%

Source: justETF.com; As of 30/11/16; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.