The Shanghai Stock Exchange is full of risks beyond those that stock investors usually face. The Chinese government puts tight controls over which companies can be listed (which promotes cronyism)…and loose controls over accounting and corporate governance practices. But many of the stocks on the exchange are big bargains and should benefit as the world’s second-largest economy grows at least twice as fast as the US economy, even though China’s economy is slowing. (Although the exchange fell 64% from its peak in October 2007 through 2013, it soared 40% in 2014 as of December 10.)
In the past, foreign investors had access to Chinese stocks listed on the Hong Kong or US exchanges—mostly global energy and export companies. By linking the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges in November, China also gave some foreign investors access to nearly 600 stocks on the Shanghai exchange, including companies focused on Chinese consumer spending. Individual investors can invest through a handful of new exchange-traded funds (ETFs), including the following from Deutsche Bank…
Deutsche X-trackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares ETF (ASHR) tracks the performance of about 300 mostly large-cap stocks. One top holding is Kweichou Moutai, the leading distiller in China.
Deutsche X-trackers Harvest CSI 500 China A-Shares Small Cap ETF (ASHS) holds about 500 stocks of small companies, with an average market capitalization of just $1.6 million. The fund is heavily weighted in the industrial and technology sectors. Top holdings include Shinva Medical Instrument and Yuan Longping High-Tech Agriculture.