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'll find 10 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 Emerging Markets or Asia can be invested alternatively. In Emerging Markets indices China is strongly weighted with up to 87%. The Asian indices weight China with about 59% or less.

0.19% p.a. - 0.74% p.a.
annual total expense ratio (TER) of China ETFs
on the Chinese stock market, which are 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: 10.75%
1 year: -0.81%
3 years: -13.71%
5 years: 41.79%

Indices in comparison

The best indices for ETFs on China

For an investment in the Chinese stock market, there are 10 indices available which are tracked by 19 ETFs. 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 0.19% p.a. and 0.74% p.a..

Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description

CSI 300

China 2 ETFs 300
The CSI 300 index tracks 300 stocks with the largest market capitalisation and liquidity from the entire universe of listed A share companies in the People’s Republic of China.
Index factsheet

FTSE China 30/18 Capped

China 1 ETF 1,020
(30/10/2020)
The FTSE China 30/18 Capped tracks Chinese companies with large and medium market capitalisation whose shares are listed on stock exchanges in China (A shares) or outside China (B shares, H shares, P chips, red chips, S chips, N shares). The largest company in the index is limited to a maximum of 30 percent of the index capitalization, all other index components to a maximum of 18 percent.
Index factsheet

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 1 ETF 50
The FTSE China A50 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 3 ETFs 51
(31/12/2020)
The Hang Seng China Enterprise index (HSCEI) tracks the most important Chinese H-Shares, listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Index factsheet

MSCI China

China 4 ETFs 714
(31/12/2020)
The MSCI China 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 2 ETFs 751
(31/12/2020)
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 Inclusion

China 1 ETF 474
(31/12/2020)
The MSCI China A Inclusion index tracks China A-Shares also included in the MSCI Emerging Markets.
Index factsheet

MSCI China A International

China 1 ETF 521
(31/12/2020)
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 2 ETFs 83
(31/12/2020)
The MSCI China H 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
Xtrackers MSCI China UCITS ETF 1CLU0514695690 2,110 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
iShares MSCI China A UCITS ETFIE00BQT3WG13 1,888 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Xtrackers CSI 300 Swap UCITS ETF 1CLU0779800910 1,636 0.50% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Xtrackers Harvest CSI 300 UCITS ETF 1DLU0875160326 692 0.65% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
HSBC MSCI China UCITS ETF USDIE00B44T3H88 678 0.60% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
iShares China Large Cap UCITS ETFIE00B02KXK85 623 0.74% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor China Enterprise (HSCEI) UCITS ETF - AccLU1900068914 352 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
iShares MSCI China UCITS ETF USD (Acc)IE00BJ5JPG56 259 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Lyxor Hwabao WP MSCI China A (DR) UCITS ETF - AccFR0011720911 172 0.35% p.a. Accumulating France Optimized sampling
Lyxor MSCI China UCITS ETF - AccLU1841731745 130 0.29% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Xtrackers FTSE China 50 UCITS ETF 1CLU0292109856 128 0.60% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
Franklin FTSE China UCITS ETFIE00BHZRR147 76 0.19% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Amundi MSCI China UCITS ETF EUR (C)LU1681043912 52 0.55% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
HSBC MSCI China A Inclusion UCITS ETFIE00BF4NQ904 45 0.30% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor China Enterprise (HSCEI) UCITS ETF USDLU1900069136 31 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Lyxor FTSE China A50 UCITS ETFLU0947415054 31 0.40% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF MSCI China UCITS ETF USDLU1681044050 19 0.55% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Lyxor HSCEI UCITS ETFLU0488316992 12 0.55% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI China A SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00BKFB6K94 8 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI China H -0.69% 13.68% 8.06% -10.17% -14.11%
Hang Seng China Enterprises (HSCEI) -0.88% 9.20% 3.61% -9.61% -10.14%
FTSE China 50 -1.46% 9.31% 10.56% 0.31% -1.08%
MSCI China -0.05% 5.94% 15.42% 17.19% 14.31%
FTSE China 30/18 Capped -0.03% 6.35% 16.02% 18.89% -
FTSE China A50 3.22% 15.25% 27.18% 21.39% 22.80%
MSCI China A 5.02% 12.94% 28.06% 29.88% 22.75%
MSCI China A International 4.73% 12.63% 26.26% 30.12% 28.90%
MSCI China A Inclusion 4.84% 12.76% 27.07% 30.20% -
CSI 300 3.74% 15.03% 30.52% 32.31% 39.64%
Index   2021
in %
2020
in %
2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
MSCI China H -11.22% -10.17% 9.12% -12.38% 23.05%
Hang Seng China Enterprises (HSCEI) -10.86% -9.61% 11.13% -10.55% 20.91%
FTSE China 50 -0.86% 0.31% 11.67% -11.69% 28.85%
MSCI China 15.42% 17.19% 21.80% -19.91% 47.36%
FTSE China 30/18 Capped 17.44% 18.89% - - -
FTSE China A50 21.18% 21.39% 35.25% -25.20% 34.66%
MSCI China A 29.88% 29.88% 34.75% -29.86% 16.92%
MSCI China A International 30.12% 30.12% 32.81% -25.41% 22.22%
MSCI China A Inclusion 30.20% 30.20% 33.81% - -
CSI 300 32.10% 32.31% 39.73% -24.47% 26.81%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/12/2020; 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 52
(31/12/2020)
The Hang Seng 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 38
(31/12/2020)
The MSCI Hong Kong index tracks large and mid cap stocks in Hong Kong.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m CHF
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
Lyxor Hong Kong (HSI) UCITS ETF - DistLU1900067940 123 0.65% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Hong Kong UCITS ETF (HKD) A-disLU1169827224 32 0.45% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
Lyxor HSI UCITS ETFLU0488316729 15 0.55% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
Hang Seng (HSI) 0.63% 11.05% 4.71% -9.61% -11.29%
MSCI Hong Kong 2.27% 10.07% 8.29% -4.09% -4.22%
Index   2021
in %
2020
in %
2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
Hang Seng (HSI) -10.49% -9.61% 10.05% -10.83% 32.39%
MSCI Hong Kong -4.09% -4.09% 7.95% -7.49% 29.80%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/12/2020; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.

 

Emerging markets indices with a large share of China

As second alternative you can consider ETFs on emerging markets. Currently, you can invest in 3 emerging markets indices tracked by 18 ETFs. In particular, the FTSE BRIC 50 strongly weights China with 86.94% (as of 30/10/2020). The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on BRIC countries is between 0.14% p.a. and 0.74% p.a..

 
Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description
FTSE BRIC 50 Emerging Markets
China: 86.94%
(30/10/2020)
1 ETF 50
The FTSE BRIC 50 index tracks the 50 largest stocks of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China).
Index factsheet
FTSE Emerging Markets Emerging Markets
China: 47.64%
(30/10/2020)
1 ETF 1,838
(30/10/2020)
The FTSE Emerging Markets index tracks stocks from emerging markets worldwide.
Index factsheet
MSCI Emerging Markets Emerging Markets
China: 43.24%
(30/10/2020)
16 ETFs 1,397
(31/12/2020)
The MSCI Emerging Markets index tracks stocks from emerging markets worldwide.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m CHF
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
Xtrackers MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF 1CIE00BTJRMP35 3,909 0.18% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI EM UCITS ETF (Dist)IE00B0M63177 3,582 0.18% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Amundi MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF EUR (C)LU1681045370 3,004 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF (USD) A-accLU0950674175 2,855 0.23% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Optimized sampling
Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets UCITS ETF DistributingIE00B3VVMM84 2,413 0.22% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF (USD) A-disLU0480132876 2,032 0.23% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Optimized sampling
Amundi ETF MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF USDLU1681045453 1,824 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Xtrackers MSCI Emerging Markets Swap UCITS ETF 1CLU0292107645 1,206 0.49% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Lyxor MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF - Acc EURFR0010429068 1,194 0.55% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
iShares MSCI EM UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B4L5YC18 927 0.18% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
HSBC MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF USDIE00B5SSQT16 864 0.15% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Lyxor MSCI Emerging Markets (LUX) UCITS ETFLU0635178014 662 0.14% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Invesco MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETFIE00B3DWVS88 637 0.29% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI Emerging Markets SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00B3Z3FS74 593 0.21% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
SPDR MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETFIE00B469F816 481 0.42% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares BRIC 50 UCITS ETFIE00B1W57M07 254 0.74% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF - Acc USDFR0010435297 146 0.55% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF (USD) A-UKdisLU1126036976 47 0.23% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Optimized sampling
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
FTSE Emerging Markets 3.16% 11.90% 18.36% 4.44% 7.06%
MSCI Emerging Markets 4.41% 14.12% 21.23% 7.48% 6.82%
FTSE BRIC 50 1.35% 10.17% 15.46% 8.37% 20.17%
Index   2021
in %
2020
in %
2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
FTSE Emerging Markets 3.04% 4.44% 17.46% -12.73% 26.30%
MSCI Emerging Markets 6.10% 7.48% 16.88% -14.96% -
FTSE BRIC 50 6.85% 8.37% 20.50% -7.97% 30.35%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/12/2020; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.

 

Asian indices with over 45% 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 between 48% and 59% Chinese stocks. 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: 47.81%
(30/10/2020)
2 ETFs 1,186
(31/12/2020)
The MSCI AC 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: 52.56%
(30/10/2020)
2 ETFs 1,087
(31/12/2020)
The MSCI AC 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: 53.10%
(30/10/2020)
5 ETFs 1,129
(31/12/2020)
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: 59.02%
(30/10/2020)
1 ETF 1,030
(31/12/2020)
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 2,433 0.74% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Amundi MSCI Emerging Markets Asia UCITS ETF EUR (C)LU1681044480 1,930 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF MSCI Emerging Markets Asia UCITS ETF USDLU1681044563 1,745 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
SPDR MSCI EM Asia UCITS ETFIE00B466KX20 1,410 0.55% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI EM Asia UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B5L8K969 1,282 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Xtrackers MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Swap UCITS ETF 1CLU0322252171 692 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Xtrackers MSCI EM Asia Swap UCITS ETF 1CLU0292107991 688 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
HSBC MSCI AC Far East ex Japan UCITS ETF USDIE00BBQ2W338 592 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI AC Asia Ex Japan SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00B7WK2W23 182 0.23% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
HSBC MSCI EM Far East UCITS ETF USDIE00B5LP3W10 27 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 3.83% 12.87% 20.92% 12.87% 11.67%
MSCI AC Far East ex Japan 3.50% 12.73% 20.32% 14.00% 12.94%
MSCI Emerging Markets Asia 4.25% 13.77% 23.59% 16.69% 15.60%
MSCI Emerging Markets Far East 3.90% 13.78% 23.05% 18.79% 17.24%
Index   2021
in %
2020
in %
2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
MSCI AC Asia ex Japan 11.81% 12.87% 16.33% -14.96% 35.20%
MSCI AC Far East ex Japan 12.99% 14.00% 16.48% -14.95% 35.22%
MSCI Emerging Markets Asia 15.63% 16.69% 16.40% -14.90% 36.03%
MSCI Emerging Markets Far East 18.79% 18.79% 17.27% -15.84% 36.85%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/12/2020; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.