All-in-One Guide to Investing in China via ETFs February 27, 2024

All-in-One Guide to Investing in China via ETFs

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Why China?

In the vast landscape of global investment opportunities, China emerges as a land of untapped potential and dynamic growth. As the world’s second-largest economy, China’s market presents a unique blend of challenges and opportunities that can captivate the imagination of any investor.

Investing in China offers exposure to a rapidly growing consumer market, significant technological advancements, and a broadening financial sector. With China’s integration into the global economy, their markets offer diversification benefits for investors looking to broaden their portfolio beyond their domestic market.


Key Economic Data

For investors eyeing ETFs as a means to tap into China’s dynamic market, understanding its economic landscape is paramount. Key economic indicators suggest resilience and potential for sustained growth:

GDP Growth:

– Despite global economic fluctuations, China’s GDP grew by 5.2% in 2023, exceeding initial projections of 5.1%.1
– The World Bank forecasts a slowdown to 4.5% in 2024, yet the long-term potential remains promising.1

Consumer Spending:

– China’s middle class is projected to reach 400 million by 2030, driving consumer spending to US$6.4 trillion annually.2
– E-commerce sales in China surpassed US$1.7 trillion in 2023, representing 52.1% of global market share.3
– The automotive industry is expected to see 6 million electric vehicle sales in 2024, which will solidify China’s leadership position.4

Industrial Output:

– China accounts for 28% of global manufacturing output, making it the world’s leading manufacturer.3
– In 2023, China produced 88 million smartphones, 35 million automobiles, and 290 million tons of steel.3
– Industrial output growth is expected to remain steady at 4-5% in the coming years.3

Technological Innovation:

– China is home to over 300 unicorns (startups valued at over US$ 1 billion), showcasing its booming tech sector.3
– China leads the world in mobile payments, with over 80% of transactions conducted digitally.2
– The Chinese government aims to be a global leader in artificial intelligence by 2030, investing heavily in research and development.1

Investment Merits

Investing in China offers several advantages:

High-Growth Market Potential: China’s economic dynamism and expanding consumer base present unique opportunities. Investing in China means accessing sectors poised for growth, such as e-commerce, automotive, and tech innovations, which enables investors to partake in the country’s robust expansion.

Portfolio Diversification: Integrating Chinese investments can significantly enhance portfolio diversification, reducing reliance on any single market’s performance. This strategic move not only spreads risk across various sectors, including technology and consumer goods, but also strengthens overall portfolio resilience against market fluctuations.

Innovation and Tech Advancement: With China at the helm of technological progress in areas like fintech, electric vehicles, and e-commerce, investors can thus gain exposure to cutting-edge companies and sectors. This alignment with China’s technological growth offers the potential for substantial returns as these sectors continue to evolve and expand globally.


Investment Risks

However, with great potential comes inherent risks:

Market Volatility: China’s markets can be prone to rapid swings due to domestic policy changes, global economic conditions, and investor sentiment.

Geopolitical Tensions: Ongoing tensions between China and other countries can affect market stability and investor sentiment.

Currency Risk: For international investors, investing in China involves exposure to the Renminbi (RMB); its value can fluctuate against their home currency. These fluctuations can therefore impact returns when converting them back to the investor’s home currency.


Why ETFs?

Investing in China through Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) offers a strategic advantage for investors seeking exposure to one of the world’s largest economies while mitigating some of the risks associated with investing in individual stocks. Here are three refined reasons focusing on the benefits of ETFs:

Broad Diversification: ETFs provide immediate diversification across a wide array of sectors within China’s economy, from technology to consumer goods, which spreads risk more effectively than individual stock investments. This broad market exposure helps safeguard against the volatility of single companies, offering a smoother investment experience.

Reduced Volatility: Compared to investing in individual stocks, ETFs inherently offer reduced volatility by pooling a variety of assets. This means that the impact of any single stock’s performance is diluted, which leads to potentially steadier returns over time, which is particularly valuable in the often-volatile Chinese market.

Cost Efficiency: ETFs are known for their cost efficiency, offering lower expense ratios compared to actively managed funds or individual stock purchases. This efficiency extends to investing in Chinese markets, where ETFs allow for exposure without the high costs associated with direct investment methods or the need for a deep understanding of local market intricacies.


What Are the Key Indices?

Investing in ETFs requires familiarity with the key indices that track the performance of Chinese markets:

China A50 Index: Represents the 50 largest A-share companies by market capitalisation.

CSI 300 Index: Covers the top 300 stocks in the A-share market.

Hang Seng Index: Reflects the performance of the largest and most liquid stocks listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Hang Seng Tech Index: Tracks the performance of the largest technology companies in China. This index is particularly appealing for investors looking to capitalise on China’s booming tech sector, encompassing areas such as internet services, fintech, and e-commerce.


Top ETFs Tracking Key Chinese Indices

Investing in ETFs that track major Chinese indices can be a strategic way to gain diversified exposure to China’s economic sectors. Here, we spotlight the top 3 ETFs for each of the indices mentioned above, including crucial details like Assets Under Management (AUM), expense ratio, inception date, dividend yield, and top holdings.


ETFs that track China A50 Hang Seng FTSE China 50 Index ETF, 2838.HK KraneShares Bosera MSCI China A 50 Connect Index ETF, KBA CSOP FTSE China A50 ETF, 2822.HK

Top 5 Holdings

1. Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd Class A (600519.SH)

2. Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd Class A (300750.SZ)

3. China Merchants Bank Co Ltd Class A (600036.SH)

4. China Yangtze Power Co Ltd Class A (600981.SH)

5. Wuliangye Yibin Co Ltd Class A (000858.SZ)

AUM 73.36M (HKD) 189.48M (USD) 7.61B (RMB)
Exp Ratio 1.22% 0.55% 1.14%
Inception Date 8 Jun 2005 4 Mar 2014 28 Aug 2015
Dividend Yield 2.13% 2.43% 2.42%
ETFs that track CSI 300 Index iShares Core CSI 300 ETF, 2846.HK

WISE CSI300 ETF, 2827.HK Xtrackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares ETF, ASHR

Top 5 Holdings

1. Guizhou Moutai Co., Ltd. (600519.SH)

2. CATL (300750.SZ)

3. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (601398.SH)

4. Ping An Insurance Group Co. of China, Ltd. (601318.SH)

5. China Merchants Bank Co., Ltd. (600036.SH)

AUM 2.16B (HKD) 720.03M (HKD) 1.502B (USD)
Exp Ratio 0.30% 1.03% 0.65%
Inception Date 18 Nov 2009 17 Jul 2007 6 Nov 2013
Dividend Yield 1.75% NA 2.60%
ETFs that track Hang Seng Index Tracker Fund of Hong Kong, 2800.HK CSOP HSI ETF, 3037.HK iShares Core Hang Seng Index ETF, 3115.HK

Top 5 Holdings

1. HSBC Holdings plc (0005.HK)

2. Alibaba Group Holding Limited (9988.HK)

3. Tencent Holdings Ltd. (0700.HK)

4. AIA Group Ltd. (1299.HK)

5. China Construction Bank Corporation (0939.HK)

AUM 123.41B (HKD) 1.23B (HKD) 1.21B (HKD)
Exp Ratio 0.08% 0.10% 0.09%
Inception Date 12 Nov 1999 6 May 2021 18 Nov 2016
Dividend Yield 4.16% 4.47% Accumulative
ETFs that track Hang Seng Tech Index Hang Seng TECH Index ETF, 3032.HK LION-OCBC Hang Seng TECH Index, HST.SI CSOP Hang Seng Tech Index ETF, 3033.HK

Top 5 Holdings

1. Alibaba (9988.HK)

2. Tencent Holdings Ltd. (0700.HK)

3. JD.com (9618.HK)

4. Xiaomi(1810.HK)

5. Kuaishou (1024.HK)

AUM 2.23B (HKD) 1.85B (HKD) 26.27B (HKD)
Exp Ratio 0.69% 0.58% 1.05%
Inception Date 4 Sep 2020 10 Dec 2020 28 Aug 2020
Dividend Yield NA NA NA
Bonus: Popular ETFs that give exposure to China Market iShares MSCI China ETF, MCHI KraneShares CSI China Internet ETF , KWEB iShares China Large-Cap ETF , FXI SPDR S&P China ETF , GXC
AUM 5.117B (USD) 4.977B (USD) 4.218B (USD) 566.36M (USD)
Exp Ratio 0.59% 0.69% 0.74% 0.59%
Inception Date 29 Mar 2011 31 Jul 2013 5 Oct 2004 19 Mar 2007
Dividend Yield 3.75% 1.87% 3.32% 4.02%

Data corrected as of 9 Feb 2024

With this comprehensive guide, investors are well-positioned to explore the vast potential of China’s markets through ETFs. Whether you’re seeking growth, diversification, or a foothold in specific sectors, the ETFs tracking these key indices offer a gateway to the opportunities that lie within China’s dynamic economy.


Who Is This For and Not For?

This guide is crafted for investors looking to diversify their portfolios internationally, particularly those interested in tapping into the growth potential of the Chinese market. It suits both novice investors seeking exposure to global markets and seasoned investors aiming for specific sectoral gains.

However, those seeking investment options without exposure to international market volatility or currency risk might consider other opportunities closer to home.


How to start: Active Trading vs. Passive DCA

For most, adopting a passive/recurring investment strategy through Dollar-Cost Averaging (DCA)5into these ETFs can be a prudent approach to mitigate volatility while participating in China’s growth story. This method allows investors to build their positions over time, reducing the impact of market timing.

Conversely, active traders might capitalise the ETFs for tactical plays based on market trends but should be aware of the risks associated with active trading.

By integrating these insights and strategies, investors can make informed decisions tailored to their investment goals and risk tolerance, navigating the vibrant landscape of China’s markets with confidence.

To help investors on their investing journey, we also provide free webinars and seminars for their learning. You can check them out here!


All-in-One Guide to Investing in China via ETFs

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