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 12 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 over 70%. The Asian indices weight China with about 55% or less.

0.29% p.a. - 0.88% 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: -2.39%
1 year: -11.57%
3 years: 0.27%
5 years: -13.85%

Indices in comparison

The best indices for ETFs on China

For an investment in the Chinese stock market, 12 indices tracked by 22 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 0.29% p.a. and 0.88% p.a..

Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description

CSI 300

China 2 ETFs 300
(31.03.20)
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

Dow Jones China Offshore 50

China 1 ETF 50
The Dow Jones China Offshore 50 index tracks the largest companies whose primary operations are in mainland China but that trade on exchanges in Hong Kong or the U.S.
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 A-H 50

China 1 ETF 50
The FTSE China A-H 50 index tracks the 50 largest Chinese A-Shares listed on the Shanghai or Shenzen stock exchanges. Each company will be represented either by its A-share or by its H-share.
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 in local currency.
Index factsheet

Hang Seng China Enterprises (HSCEI)

China 2 ETFs 50
(28.02.20)
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 5 ETFs 704
(31.03.20)
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 3 ETFs 670
(31.03.20)
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 472
(29.11.19)
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 507
(31.03.20)
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 93
(31.03.20)
The MSCI China H index tracks the largest and most liquid Chinese H-Shares, listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Index factsheet

S&P China 500

China 1 ETF 500
The S&P China 500 index tracks the 500 largest and most liquid Chinese companies (all share classes including A-shares and offshore listings).
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m EUR
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
Xtrackers MSCI China Index UCITS ETF 1CLU0514695690 1,002 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
iShares MSCI China A UCITS ETFIE00BQT3WG13 672 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Xtrackers CSI 300 Swap UCITS ETF 1CLU0779800910 554 0.50% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
iShares China Large Cap UCITS ETFIE00B02KXK85 413 0.74% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Xtrackers Harvest CSI 300 INDEX UCITS ETF 1DLU0875160326 369 0.65% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
HSBC MSCI China UCITS ETF USDIE00B44T3H88 333 0.60% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor China Enterprise (HSCEI) UCITS ETF AccLU1900068914 323 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Xtrackers FTSE China 50 UCITS ETF 1CLU0292109856 99 0.60% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
Deka MSCI China UCITS ETFDE000ETFL326 74 0.65% p.a. Distributing Germany Full replication
Amundi MSCI China UCITS ETF EUR (C)LU1681043912 60 0.55% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
iShares Dow Jones China Offshore 50 UCITS ETF (DE)DE000A0F5UE8 60 0.62% p.a. Distributing Germany Full replication
Lyxor MSCI China UCITS ETF AccLU1841731745 54 0.29% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
WisdomTree S&P China 500 UCITS ETF USDLU1440654330 43 0.55% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Optimized sampling
HSBC MSCI China A Inclusion UCITS ETFIE00BF4NQ904 29 0.30% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor Hwabao WP MSCI China A (DR) UCITS ETF AccFR0011720911 29 0.35% p.a. Accumulating France Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI China UCITS ETF USD (Acc)IE00BJ5JPG56 22 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
L&G E Fund MSCI China A UCITS ETFDE000A1XEFE1 20 0.88% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
CSOP Source FTSE China A50 UCITS ETFDE000A1XES83 20 0.65% 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 9 0.55% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Xtrackers Harvest FTSE China A-H 50 INDEX UCITS ETF 1DLU1310477036 9 0.65% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI China A SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00BKFB6K94 2 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 -6.45% -12.72% -7.32% -12.82% -5.53%
Hang Seng China Enterprises (HSCEI) -6.36% -11.92% -6.02% -10.69% -2.30%
FTSE China 50 -6.21% -11.44% -4.82% -9.83% 3.52%
FTSE China A50 -6.72% -11.94% -7.32% -5.12% 19.00%
Dow Jones China Offshore 50 -5.83% -10.14% 1.54% -4.23% 13.20%
MSCI China -6.47% -8.08% 2.04% -4.03% 17.46%
S&P China 500 -6.72% -8.11% 0.36% -3.60% 13.39%
FTSE China A-H 50 -5.86% -11.01% -5.97% -3.36% 21.24%
MSCI China A -6.83% -6.98% -0.32% -3.16% -1.23%
MSCI China A International -6.89% -6.89% -0.54% -2.93% 7.67%
MSCI China A Inclusion -6.91% -6.91% -0.49% -2.85% -
CSI 300 -7.21% -8.59% -2.07% -2.16% 17.32%
Index   2020
in %
2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
MSCI China H -13.58% 13.30% -9.02% 12.92% 4.34%
Hang Seng China Enterprises (HSCEI) -12.97% 15.38% -7.11% 10.97% 2.59%
FTSE China A50 -12.64% 42.46% -20.88% 25.05% -8.32%
FTSE China 50 -12.31% 15.94% -8.30% 18.24% 5.14%
FTSE China A-H 50 -11.87% 39.42% -16.66% 23.16% -
Dow Jones China Offshore 50 -10.14% 26.72% -14.49% 28.13% 7.32%
MSCI China -9.32% 25.97% -16.66% 35.39% 3.59%
CSI 300 -8.51% 44.61% -21.41% 16.61% -15.00%
S&P China 500 -8.26% 31.25% -19.52% 25.45% -
MSCI China A -6.98% 39.77% -27.11% 7.30% -16.49%
MSCI China A Inclusion -6.91% 38.36% - - -
MSCI China A International -6.65% 38.03% -22.62% 12.23% -15.06%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31.03.20; Calculations in EUR 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 is 1 index, which is tracked by 2 ETFs. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on Hong Kong is between 0.55% 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
(28.02.20)
The Hang Seng index (HSI) tracks the largest and most liquid blue chip stocks listed on the Hongkong stock exchange.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m EUR
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
Lyxor Hong Kong (HSI) UCITS ETF DistLU1900067940 148 0.65% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
ComStage HSI UCITS ETFLU0488316729 13 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) -9.04% -13.74% -8.92% -13.76% 2.61%
Index   2020
in %
2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
Hang Seng (HSI) -14.43% 14.27% -7.42% 21.53% 5.99%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31.03.20; Calculations in EUR 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. Currently, you can invest in 1 BRIC index tracked by 1 ETF. The FTSE BRIC 50 contains 75.14% China (as of 31/12/2019). 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: 75.14%
(31/12/2019)
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 EUR
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares BRIC 50 UCITS ETFIE00B1W57M07 165 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 -10.55% -16.08% -5.71% -8.25% 12.92%
Index   2020
in %
2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
FTSE BRIC 50 -17.12% 25.09% -4.43% 19.63% 19.70%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31.03.20; Calculations in EUR based on the largest ETF of the respective index.

 

Asian indices with over 40% China share

As further alternative you can invest in indices on Asia. In total, you can consider 4 Asian indices, which are tracked by 11 ETFs. The Asian indices contain with 40% to 55% less Chinese stocks than the BRIC indices. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on Asian indices is between 0.12% 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: 40.33%
(31/12/2019)
3 ETFs 1,187
(31.03.20)
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: 44.90%
(31/12/2019)
2 ETFs 1,100
(31.03.20)
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: 46.57%
(31/12/2019)
5 ETFs 1,119
(31.03.20)
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: 52.77%
(31/12/2019)
1 ETF 1,032
(31.03.20)
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 EUR
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares MSCI AC Far East ex-Japan UCITS ETFIE00B0M63730 1,713 0.74% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Amundi MSCI Emerging Markets Asia UCITS ETF EUR (C)LU1681044480 900 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
SPDR MSCI EM Asia UCITS ETFIE00B466KX20 641 0.55% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI EM Asia UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B5L8K969 493 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Xtrackers MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Index Swap UCITS ETF 1CLU0322252171 422 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Xtrackers MSCI EM Asia Index Swap UCITS ETF 1CLU0292107991 390 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Lyxor MSCI AC Asia Ex Japan UCITS ETF AccLU1900068161 288 0.50% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
HSBC MSCI AC Far East ex Japan UCITS ETF USDIE00BBQ2W338 282 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI AC Asia Ex Japan SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00B7WK2W23 117 0.23% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
Lyxor MSCI EM Asia UCITS ETF - AccLU1781541849 49 0.12% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
HSBC MSCI EM Far East UCITS ETF USDIE00B5LP3W10 10 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 -11.96% -16.51% -9.68% -11.85% -1.05%
MSCI Emerging Markets Asia -11.14% -15.81% -8.12% -9.95% 0.50%
MSCI AC Far East ex Japan -10.52% -15.03% -7.48% -9.78% 1.26%
MSCI Emerging Markets Far East -9.78% -14.20% -5.99% -7.70% 3.07%
Index   2020
in %
2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
MSCI AC Asia ex Japan -17.12% 20.32% -11.47% 24.22% 8.07%
MSCI Emerging Markets Asia -16.45% 20.85% -11.64% 24.79% 8.79%
MSCI AC Far East ex Japan -15.63% 20.95% -11.69% 24.08% 8.98%
MSCI Emerging Markets Far East -14.20% 21.66% -12.53% 25.59% 10.76%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31.03.20; Calculations in EUR based on the largest ETF of the respective index.