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 8 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.

0.35% p.a. - 0.99% 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: 1.02%
1 year: -3.12%
3 years: 40.58%
5 years: 27.86%

Indices in comparison

The best indices for ETFs on China

For an investment in the Chinese stock market, 8 indices tracked by 14 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 0.35% p.a. and 0.99% p.a..

Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description

CSI 300

China 1 ETF 300
The CSI 300 index consists of the 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 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 index tracks the 50 largest Chinese A-Shares listed on the Shanghai or Shenzen stock exchanges.
Index factsheet

Hang Seng China Enterprises (HSCEI)

China 3 ETFs 50
(31/03/19)
The Hang Seng China Enterprise (price) index (HSCEI) tracks the most important Chinese H-Shares, listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Index factsheet

MSCI China

China 2 ETFs 469
(31/03/19)
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 387
(31/03/19)
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 408
(31/03/19)
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 92
(31/03/19)
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
Xtrackers MSCI China Index UCITS ETF 1CLU0514695690 1,015 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
iShares China Large Cap UCITS ETFIE00B02KXK85 637 0.74% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
iShares MSCI China A UCITS ETFIE00BQT3WG13 571 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Xtrackers Harvest CSI 300 INDEX UCITS ETF 1DLU0875160326 556 0.65% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
Lyxor China Enterprise (HSCEI) UCITS ETF AccLU1900068914 477 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
HSBC MSCI China UCITS ETF USDIE00B44T3H88 368 0.60% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Xtrackers FTSE China 50 UCITS ETF 1CLU0292109856 124 0.60% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
Lyxor China Enterprise (HSCEI) UCITS ETF USDLU1900069136 114 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Amundi MSCI China UCITS ETF - EUR (C)LU1681043912 92 0.55% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Lyxor Hwabao WP MSCI China A (DR) UCITS ETF AccFR0011720911 61 0.35% p.a. Accumulating France Optimized sampling
CSOP Source FTSE China A50 UCITS ETFIE00BGSHB123 25 0.99% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
ComStage FTSE China A50 UCITS ETFLU0947415054 16 0.40% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
ComStage HSCEI UCITS ETFLU0488316992 11 0.55% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF MSCI China UCITS ETF - USDLU1681044050 11 0.55% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI China -14.20% -7.85% -1.22% -16.80% 39.57%
MSCI China H -10.16% -7.96% -1.29% -10.91% 30.73%
FTSE China 50 -10.88% -6.78% -1.22% -9.79% 32.51%
MSCI China A -10.31% -2.26% 16.63% -9.69% 4.36%
Hang Seng China Enterprises (HSCEI) -10.52% -6.98% -1.66% -9.23% 29.59%
CSI 300 -10.39% -2.73% 15.99% -8.05% 15.76%
MSCI China A International -10.39% -3.00% 15.82% -7.18% 14.79%
FTSE China A50 -10.26% -0.24% 17.11% -0.47% 37.51%
Index   2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
FTSE China 50 4.38% -11.69% 28.85% 4.21% -11.71%
Hang Seng China Enterprises (HSCEI) 4.99% -10.55% 20.91% 1.69% -17.84%
MSCI China H 5.39% -12.38% 23.05% 3.42% -16.23%
MSCI China 7.93% -19.91% 47.36% 2.67% -7.82%
MSCI China A International 21.25% -25.41% 22.22% -15.83% -
MSCI China A 22.81% -29.86% 16.92% -17.06% 5.39%
CSI 300 22.82% -27.73% 25.72% -13.91% 2.73%
FTSE China A50 24.66% -23.66% 35.89% -8.58% -8.28%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/05/19; 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
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 47
(31/03/19)
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
Lyxor Hong Kong (HSI) UCITS ETF DistLU1900067940 181 0.65% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Hong Kong UCITS ETF (HKD) A-disLU1169827224 48 0.45% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
ComStage HSI UCITS ETFLU0488316729 19 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) -9.76% -4.01% 2.75% -7.64% 40.01%
MSCI Hong Kong -8.01% -3.28% 9.64% -0.28% 40.91%
Index   2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
Hang Seng (HSI) 7.22% -10.83% 32.39% 5.07% -4.54%
MSCI Hong Kong 11.29% -7.49% 29.80% 4.28% -

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/05/19; 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 1 BRIC index tracked by 1 ETF. In BRIC indices China is weighted with up to 72%. The S&P BRIC 40 contains the largest weight of Chinese stocks with 70,70%. The MSCI BRIC contains 61,07% China, the FTSE BRIC 50 66,70% and the DAXglobal® BRIC 33,33% (as of 29/12/2017). The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on BRIC countries is around 0.74% p.a..

 
Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description
FTSE BRIC 50 Emerging Markets
China: 66,70%
(29/12/2017)
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 268 0.74% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
FTSE BRIC 50 -10.02% -3.99% 1.32% -3.47% 49.44%
Index   2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
FTSE BRIC 50 7.17% -7.97% 30.35% 18.68% -11.68%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/05/19; 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: 34.19%
(29/12/2017)
2 ETFs 955
(31/03/19)
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: 38.07%
(29/12/2017)
2 ETFs 874
(31/03/19)
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: 40.54%
(29/12/2017)
5 ETFs 883
(31/03/19)
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: 46.11%
(29/12/2017)
1 ETF 802
(31/03/19)
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 2,083 0.74% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Amundi MSCI Emerging Markets Asia UCITS ETF - EUR (C)LU1681044480 1,231 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
SPDR MSCI EM Asia UCITS ETFIE00B466KX20 696 0.55% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Amundi ETF MSCI Emerging Markets Asia UCITS ETF - USDLU1681044563 634 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Xtrackers MSCI EM Asia Index Swap UCITS ETF 1CLU0292107991 563 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
iShares MSCI EM Asia UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B5L8K969 552 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Xtrackers MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Index Swap UCITS ETF 1CLU0322252171 485 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
HSBC MSCI AC Far East ex Japan UCITS ETF USDIE00BBQ2W338 299 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI AC Asia Ex Japan SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00B7WK2W23 111 0.23% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
HSBC MSCI EM Far East UCITS ETF USDIE00B5LP3W10 23 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 Emerging Markets Far East -11.14% -6.33% -0.71% -13.21% 32.98%
MSCI AC Far East ex Japan -10.74% -5.72% 0.70% -11.66% 32.55%
MSCI Emerging Markets Asia -10.12% -4.56% 0.13% -11.16% 32.87%
MSCI AC Asia ex Japan -9.83% -4.12% 1.49% -9.79% 33.19%
Index   2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
MSCI Emerging Markets Far East 4.26% -15.84% 36.85% 9.78% -10.88%
MSCI Emerging Markets Asia 5.09% -14.90% 36.03% 7.76% -9.93%
MSCI AC Far East ex Japan 5.37% -14.95% 35.22% 8.01% -9.70%
MSCI AC Asia ex Japan 6.79% -14.96% 35.20% 7.10% -9.49%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/05/19; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.