Best Asia ETFs by Performance

We provide details on the best Asia ETFs as measured by performance.

kent
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Research Lead
Reviewed by: Kent Thune
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Edited by: Kent Thune

Investing in Asia ETFs can offer investors exposure to the rapidly growing Asian market and potentially provide diversification benefits to their portfolio.  

Learn more about ETFs investing in Asia, including details on the top-performing Asia stock funds in 2023, and the benefits and risks of investing in Asian markets. 

What Are Asia ETFs? 

Asia ETFs are exchange-traded funds that are designed to track the performance of a basket of stocks or securities in the Asian market. There are many different types of Asia ETFs available, including broad-based funds that invest in stocks across the entire Asian region, as well as more targeted funds that focus on specific countries, such as China or Taiwan.  

Some popular Asia ETFs, as measured by assets under management, include the iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ), with over $9 billion in AUM; the Vanguard FTSE Pacific ETF (VPL), with more than $6 billion in AUM; and the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI), with over $5 billion in AUM.  

The 5 Best Asia Pacific Equity ETFs by 2023 Performance 

The best Asia ETFs, as measured by year-to-date performance through March 31, 2023, include funds that focus on China or Taiwan, especially within the technology sector. Specific industries in China with strong 2023 gains are communication services and semiconductors.  

TickerFundYTD ReturnAUMExpense Ratio
CHICGlobal X MSCI China Communication Services ETF19.73%$8.36M0.65%
KFVGKraneShares CICC China 5G & Semiconductor Index ETF15.45%$15.48M0.65%
KSTR
KraneShares SSE Star Market 50 Index ETF
13.50%$49.69M0.88%
FLTWFranklin FTSE Taiwan ETF13.45%$137.8M0.19%
CHIKGlobal X MSCI China Information Technology ETF10.78%$16.94M0.65%

Global X MSCI China Communication Services ETF 

The Global X MSCI China Communication Services ETF (CHIC) tracks a market-cap-weighted index of Chinese large- and midcap communication services companies. 

  • YTD return: 19.73%  
  • Assets under management: $8.36M 
  • Expense ratio: 0.65% 
  • As of date: March 31, 2023 

KraneShares CICC China 5G & Semiconductor Index ETF 

The Kraneshares CICC China 5G & Semiconductor Index ETF (KFVG) tracks a market-cap-weighted index of Chinese companies in the 5G and semiconductor-related industries. 

  • YTD return: 15.45%  
  • Assets under management: $15.48M 
  • Expense ratio: 0.65% 
  • As of date: March 31, 2023 

KraneShares SSE Star Market 50 Index ETF 

The Kraneshares SSE Star Market 50 Index ETF (KSTR) tracks an index of the top 50 companies by market cap that are listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) Science and Technology Innovation Board. 

  • YTD return: 13.50%  
  • Assets under management: $49.69M 
  • Expense ratio: 0.88%  
  • As of date: March 31, 2023 

Franklin FTSE Taiwan ETF  

The Franklin FTSE Taiwan ETF (FLTW) tracks a market-cap-weighted index of Taiwanese companies, excluding small caps. 

  • YTD return: 13.45%  
  • Assets under management: $137.8M 
  • Expense ratio: 0.19% 
  • As of date: March 31, 2023 

Global X MSCI China Information Technology ETF 

The Global X MSCI China Information Technology ETF (CHIK) tracks a market-cap-weighted index of Chinese large- and midcap companies in the information technology sector.  

  • YTD return: 10.78%  
  • Assets under management: $16.94M 
  • Expense ratio: 0.65% 
  • As of date: March 31, 2023 

Benefits and Risks of Investing in Asia ETFs 

Investing in Asia ETFs can offer several benefits, including diversified, low-cost exposure to a rapidly growing market. However, these funds also carry associated risks, such as currency risk, concentration risk and the potential for volatility. Investors should carefully consider both the benefits and risks of Asia stock ETFs before buying shares. 

Benefits of Investing in Asia ETFs 

  • Exposure to the rapidly growing Asian market: Asia is home to some of the world's fastest-growing economies, and investing in Asia ETFs can provide investors with exposure to these markets. Many Asian countries, such as China, India and Vietnam, are experiencing robust economic growth, and investing in Asia ETFs can allow investors to participate in this growth. 
  • Diversification: Investing in Asia ETFs can provide investors with diversification benefits, as these funds typically hold a basket of stocks across different countries and sectors. This can help reduce the risk of losses from any one particular investment. 
  • Low cost: Asia ETFs are generally low-cost investments, with expense ratios often significantly lower than actively managed mutual funds. 

Risks of Investing in Asia ETFs 

  • Volatility: Asia ETFs can be subject to high levels of volatility due to factors such as currency fluctuations, geopolitical risks and market cycles. 
  • Currency risk: Investing in Asia ETFs can expose investors to currency risk, as many of the funds hold stocks denominated in Asian currencies. Exchange rate fluctuations can impact returns and increase risks. 
  • Regulatory and political risks: Regulatory and political risks in Asian countries can impact the performance of Asia ETFs. For example, changes in government policies or regulations can affect the business environment and impact the companies held by the ETFs. 
  • Concentration risk: Some Asia ETFs may be heavily concentrated in a particular sector, country or company, which can increase the risk of losses in case of any adverse events in that particular sector or company. 

Bottom Line 

In summary, Asia ETFs offer investors exposure to the fast-growing Asian markets, including China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and many other Asian countries. However, as with any investment, it is important to carefully consider the risks and potential rewards of investing in these funds before buying shares.  

Kent Thune is Research Lead for etf.com, focusing on educational content, thought leadership, content management and search engine optimization. Before joining etf.com, he wrote for numerous investment websites, including Seeking Alpha and Kiplinger. 

 

Kent holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree and is a practicing Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) with 25 years of experience managing investments, guiding clients through some of the worst economic and market environments in U.S. history. He has also served as an adjunct professor, teaching classes for The College of Charleston and Trident Technical College on the topics of retirement planning, business finance, and entrepreneurship. 

 

Kent founded a registered investment advisory firm in 2006 and is based in Hilton Head Island, SC, where he lives with his wife and two sons. Outside of work, Kent enjoys spending time with his family, playing guitar, and working on his philosophy book, which he plans to publish in the coming year.