Look at the list of best performing ASX Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and most have one thing in common – exposure to China.

The average ETF is only up 1 per cent in the last month and 12 per cent in 6 months but the top winners are almost exclusively occupied with Asia-focused ETFs.

Some ASX ETFs are exclusively focused on China, others have broader regional themes that inevitably include Chinese companies.

Sitting on top is Betashares’ AsiaTech Tigers ETF (ASX:ASIA), up 80 per cent in the last year and 16 per cent in January.

BetaShares boasts that includes technology giants hailing from China including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and JD.

Next is Ishares’ Asia 50 ETF (ASX:IAA) which tracks the S&P Asia 50 Index – an indice of the 50 Asian stocks part of the S&P Global 1200. Again, this includes Chinese tech giants such as Tencent and Xiaomi.

Also sitting on solid gains are Ishares’ China ETF (ASX:IZZ) and Van Eck’s China A50 ETF (AS:CETF).

Here’s a list of the top performing ASX ETFs:

Click headings to sort. Scroll or swipe to reveal table.

Code ETF Price %Mth %SixMth %Wk %Yr MktCap
ASIA Beta AsiaTech Tigers 13.32 16 45 -1 80 $ 582,536,030.96
IAA Ishs Asia 50 ETF 128.78 13 32 -1 36 $ 811,102,200.51
CURE ETFS S&P Biotech 79.6 12 35 5 39 $ 38,178,088.82
IZZ Ishs China Etf 67.1 11 16 -2 12 $ 136,905,689.16
EMMG Beta LM EM Fund 7.43 10 24 -1 20 $ 16,353,303.82
IJR iShares Small-Cap 130.34 10 32 -1 6 $ 239,132,550.24
ROBO ETFS ROBO Glb Robo Auto 89.68 9 37 -1 37 $ 198,555,216.40
LPGD Loftus Peak 3.07 9 0 0 0 $ 19,550,781.70
EMKT Vaneck Emerging Mkt 21.7 8 14 0 6 $ 42,701,275.98
VAE Vgd Ftse Asia Ex Jpn 83.59 8 21 -2 21 $ 299,804,505.00
IKO iShares MSCI Sk ETF 123.25 8 44 -1 37 $ 67,195,806.00
ESPO VanEck Video Gaming 11.95 8 0 -1 0 $ 60,424,000.00
IEM Ishs MSCI Emg Mktetf 72.66 7 20 -1 14 $ 899,082,199.50
PAXX Platinum Asia Fund 6.03 7 23 -2 33 $ 191,352,469.80
CETF VanEck China A50 73.85 7 24 -2 28 $ 30,733,711.40
VGE Vngd Emerging Mkts 77.8 6 16 -1 10 $ 475,890,240.80
ACDC ETFS Batt Tech Lith 88.2 6 58 -3 61 $ 83,147,285.84
FANG ETFs Fang+ 17.17 6 33 0 0 $ 180,963,356.20
FEMX Fidelity Gem 6.73 6 24 -1 20 $ 171,065,073.06
MVB Vaneck Banks 25.61 5 26 -1 -6 $ 118,563,773.51
IJH iShares Mid-Cap ETF 313 5 21 -2 3 $ 154,538,833.80
VVLU Vngd Globvlu Atv ETF 46.73 4 23 -1 -8 $ 55,210,131.27
RBTZ Beta Robotics & AI 14.17 4 29 -1 33 $ 110,943,210.00
NDQ Betasharesnasdaq100 28.86 4 16 0 24 $ 1,473,749,389.66
TECH ETFSglobaltech 104.05 4 27 0 17 $ 248,332,533.45
FOOD Beta Global Agri 6.39 4 25 -1 13 $ 21,518,349.30
HNDQ BetaNasdaq100CH 30.87 4 21 -1 0 $ 50,966,000.00
ATEC BetaAusTechnologyETF 23.9 4 36 -1 0 $ 173,313,155.40
ZYUS ETFS S&P500 Yield 10.67 3 7 0 -23 $ 66,806,913.72
NDIA ETFS India Nifty 50 51.58 3 21 2 0 $ 13,302,900.00
VISM Vngd Intl Small Cap 58.35 3 23 0 2 $ 74,832,414.80
WEMG SPDR EMERGING MKTS 24.69 3 14 -5 4 $ 21,432,747.06
CNEW VanEck China New 8.86 3 -8 -2 27 $ 169,111,975.20
OZF SPDR 200 Financials 18.35 3 19 -1 -9 $ 113,024,214.87
PIXX Platinum Int Fund 4.92 3 18 -1 4 $ 332,343,301.71
GGUS Beta Geared US EQ 25.72 3 37 -4 15 $ 56,787,000.00
VHY Vngd Aus High Yield 60.6 3 17 -1 -2 $ 1,597,748,593.91
ILC iShares S&P/ASX 20 26.33 3 16 -1 -3 $ 369,406,252.24
MOGL Mogl (Managed Fund) 3.44 3 7 1 -11 $ 83,624,681.28
IOO Ishs Global 100 Etf 83.98 3 10 0 2 $ 1,974,084,024.90
IXJ Ishs Glob Health Etf 101.08 2 2 -1 -2 $ 815,976,509.55
SFY SPDR 50 Fund 59.87 2 13 -1 -7 $ 701,457,765.80
HLTH VanEck Glbl Hlth Ldr 10.55 2 0 -1 0 $ 37,980,000.00
MSTR MSTR INT SHR ACT ETF 10.17 2 17 -1 13 $ 102,167,221.71
IVV iShares S&P 500 ETF 496.13 2 10 -1 1 $ 3,590,563,270.56
DRUG Beta Global Health 7.08 2 7 -2 7 $ 86,494,087.32
IOZ iShares S&P/ASX 200. 27.66 2 14 -1 -3 $ 3,703,069,258.24
QFN Betashares Asx Fin 10.25 2 20 -1 -8 $ 40,519,460.28
IWLD Ishares Core Wld 39.41 2 11 -1 -1 $ 139,097,461.10
STW SPDR 200 Fund 62.56 2 13 -1 -4 $ 4,249,056,464.25
A200 Betaaustralia200ETF 113 2 14 -1 -3 $ 1,119,671,961.50
VAS Vngd Aus Shares 86.16 2 14 -1 -3 $ 7,210,684,552.24
WDIV SPDR GLOBAL DIVIDEND 16.16 2 10 0 -24 $ 273,730,125.02
QUS Beta SP500 Equal ETF 33.9 2 4 -1 -16 $ 58,759,749.09
IHWL Ishares Core Wld Aud 40.54 2 16 -2 8 $ 245,644,651.80
VESG VNGD ETHI INTL SHS 62.41 2 11 -1 4 $ 201,721,750.80
MOAT Vaneck Us Wide Moat 81.7 2 9 -2 -1 $ 196,051,390.75
HACK Beta Global Cyber 8.97 2 19 -1 12 $ 371,152,927.20
EIGA Einvest Income 3.62 2 14 -1 -9 $ 25,389,918.54
VLC Vngd Aus Large 69.05 2 14 -1 -4 $ 120,168,809.20
IHOO iShs Global100AUDHedged 138.58 2 15 -1 8 $ 107,841,870.50
ETHI Betasustainability 11 2 15 -2 6 $ 1,068,541,118.27
IHVV iShs S&P500AUDHedged 450.19 2 16 -2 9 $ 745,720,027.50
DJRE SPDR DJ GLOBAL REIT 19 2 5 2 -25 $ 342,209,891.88
WXHG SPDR World Ex Oz Hdg 25.96 2 17 -2 6 $ 116,350,663.10
QOZ Betasharesrafiaus 13.65 1 18 -1 -3 $ 318,668,841.84
IIND BetaShares India. 9.23 1 17 -2 5 $ 35,877,735.90
RDV Russell High Div ETF 27.15 1 17 -1 -11 $ 262,474,050.08
HJPN Betashares Wt Japan 15.28 1 28 -1 19 $ 54,774,198.22
VGMF VanguardMultiFactor 51 1 12 -4 -8 $ 19,695,537.00
WCMQ WCMQualityGlobalGrow 7.6 1 12 -3 17 $ 206,738,606.93
SWTZ Switzer Div Growth Fund (Managed Fund) 2.42 1 13 -1 -9 $ 81,188,940.00
WDMF ISHARES EDGE WLD MF 35.02 1 11 -1 -3 $ 177,965,703.72
UMAX BETA S&P500 YIELDMAX 18.55 1 6 0 -15 $ 90,465,463.50
IJP Ishs MSCI Japan ETF 88.64 1 17 -1 2 $ 333,269,359.20
E200 StateStreetE200 22.8 1 0 -1 0 $ 18,982,933.97
IMPQ EINVEST FISCF 5.49 1 28 -2 19 $ 4,321,160.84
VGS Vngd Intl Shares 85.02 1 10 -1 -1 $ 2,611,717,734.08
ESGI Vaneck Esg Internatl 25.5 1 7 -1 -1 $ 55,771,062.07
HETH BetaSustainabilityCH 11.83 1 19 -3 0 $ 85,191,000.00
VETH VanEthicConAustShETF 54.04 1 0 -1 0 $ 23,408,000.00
AGX1 Antpds Globl Shrs 5.79 1 14 -3 2 $ 27,822,270.12
YMAX Betasharesyieldmax 7.6 1 7 -1 -12 $ 275,548,271.88
REIT VanEck Internat Reit 17.31 1 8 2 -19 $ 70,687,723.50
QUAL Vaneck Wld Xau Qual 33.6 1 8 -1 3 $ 1,512,596,792.16
HEUR Betashares Wt Europe 11.98 1 14 -2 -12 $ 35,698,799.50
SSO SPDR Small Ords 16.75 0 16 -2 5 $ 25,204,161.80
OZR SPDR 200 Resources 12.78 0 13 -5 5 $ 110,226,159.36
F100 BetaShares FTSE 100 8.85 0 7 -2 -19 $ 226,939,836.24
IVE Ishs MSCI EAFE Etf 96.29 0 11 -1 -6 $ 383,646,635.80
QLTY Beta Quality Leaders 20.95 0 8 -1 5 $ 109,444,774.40
MHG Magellan Gbl Eq Fund 3.65 0 4 -1 -1 $ 321,374,409.04
WRLD BETA MANAGED RISK GL 13.47 0 5 -1 -6 $ 58,942,474.50
VBLD Vngd Glb Infra 52.65 0 -1 0 -20 $ 106,942,172.60
IHD iShares S&P Div Opp 13.44 0 10 -3 -7 $ 274,058,091.12
WVOL ISHARES EDGEWLD MVOL 31.4 0 1 0 -13 $ 111,393,896.60
AUSSOM CTW 7.5744 Jun21 Iw A 10.94 0 0 0 0 $ 25,185,000.00
QHAL VanEck Qual Hedged 34.21 0 13 -2 11 $ 289,266,150.49
HVST BETA DIVHARVESTER 13.5 0 3 -1 -11 $ 130,711,380.65
ISO iShares Small Ords 5.34 0 19 -2 4 $ 112,337,871.30
HQLT BetaQualityLeadersch 23.62 0 14 -2 0 $ 10,435,500.00
MVW Vaneck Equal Weight 30.8 0 15 -1 -4 $ 1,389,716,909.40
RARI RUSSAUSTRESPINVETF 23.33 0 17 -1 -11 $ 261,553,438.00
CORE ETFS Glb Core Infra 43.56 0 -2 0 -34 $ 14,845,335.12
WXOZ SPDR World Ex Oz 35.47 0 9 -3 -2 $ 219,261,742.17
VSO Vngd Aus Small 63.88 0 19 -1 4 $ 459,841,219.00
SYI Spdrmsciauselecthdy 28.32 0 16 -2 -6 $ 199,467,264.56
VEQ Vgd Ftse Eur Shares 56.57 0 8 -1 -8 $ 230,667,751.28
IEU Ishs Europe Etf 62.85 0 7 -1 -9 $ 541,391,478.81
VMIN Vngd Min Vol Atv ETF 55.58 -1 1 0 -9 $ 12,288,657.15
QRE Betashares Asx Res 7.08 -1 14 -5 7 $ 77,841,947.13
MVOL ISHARES EDGE AU MVOL 28.11 -1 5 0 -8 $ 72,649,880.08
EINC Beta LM Equity Income 7.98 -1 11 -2 -10 $ 28,465,322.34
VDCO Vngd Div Conserv 55.74 -1 1 1 -2 $ 146,308,152.00
ZYAU ETFS Asx300 Yield 9.41 -1 2 -2 -18 $ 102,112,026.32
SMLL BetaSmallCompanies 3.91 -1 22 -2 11 $ 49,739,861.76
FAIR Betaausustainability 18.14 -1 8 -1 -6 $ 803,639,461.68
MNRS Beta Global Gold 6.66 -1 -17 2 26 $ 62,536,889.31
MVE Vaneck Midcap 33.1 -1 20 -1 9 $ 175,080,168.00
IFRA VANECKINFRASTRUCTURE 19.36 -1 3 0 -16 $ 332,425,728.00
INCM Beta Income Leaders 12.32 -1 2 -1 -28 $ 16,661,678.88
QMIX SPDR MSCI WORLD QMIX 21.06 -1 5 -3 -11 $ 23,446,329.66
EX20 Betaausex20 18.69 -1 14 -2 -4 $ 163,229,091.34
BNKS Beta Global Banks 5.45 -1 18 -3 -17 $ 31,247,272.83
FUEL Beta Global Energy 3.75 -1 9 -5 -30 $ 270,823,687.50
VDBA Vngd Div Balance 56 -1 3 -1 -4 $ 334,830,444.45
GDX Vaneck Gold Miners 46.92 -1 -20 3 11 $ 368,094,494.40
INIF InvestsmartAuIncFund 2.52 -2 21 -2 3 $ 42,490,251.60
VDGR Vngd Div Growth 56.66 -2 7 -1 -3 $ 341,502,300.00
VDHG Vngd Div High Growth 57.49 -2 10 -1 -3 $ 652,738,299.18
AUST BETA MANAGED RISK AU 16.1 -2 5 -2 -8 $ 39,179,237.30
INES Investsmart SHS fund 3.19 -2 19 -2 18 $ 25,412,457.72
VGAD VNGD INTL SHARES H 81.11 -2 12 -2 6 $ 1,316,645,882.10
BEAR Betashares Aust Bear 10.31 -2 -14 1 -9 $ 76,306,735.54
GRNV VanEck ESG Australia 25.34 -3 8 -2 -8 $ 74,811,078.36
MVR Vaneck Resources 29.81 -3 8 -5 -2 $ 113,686,633.59
ESTX ETFSeurostoxx50 64.79 -3 4 -2 -9 $ 46,448,469.32
IIGF InvestSMARTAUGthFund 2.72 -3 0 -3 0 $ 52,323,851.00
MICH Mag. Infra. Fund Ch 2.72 -3 -2 0 -19 $ 664,653,702.60
AASF Airlie Aus Fund 2.9 -3 12 -4 0 $ 44,019,833.70
SELF SLFWLTH SMSF LEADRS 43.5 -3 6 -5 -16 $ 94,567,999.50
MVS Vaneck Small Masters 19.75 -4 11 -2 -5 $ 80,748,724.25
IXI iShs Global Cons ETF 73.43 -4 -4 0 -12 $ 113,882,403.15
RINC Beta LM Real Income 8.03 -4 8 -1 -20 $ 47,693,802.80
SLF SPDR S&P/ASX Prop Fu 11.72 -5 15 -5 -20 $ 570,948,011.76
BBUS Beta Us Str Bear 1.5 -5 -36 4 -48 $ 194,997,000.00
VAP Vngd Aus Prop Sec 79.67 -5 16 -1 -16 $ 1,741,067,396.40
BBOZ Beta Aust Str Bear 5.86 -7 -32 2 -32 $ 324,715,500.00
MVA Vaneck Property 21.29 -7 16 -1 -19 $ 413,319,333.96

 

China’s COVID-19 recovery flowing through to ASX ETFs

Jamie Hannah, Van Eck’s Deputy Head of Investments & Capital Markets, thinks the growth seen in China focused ASX ETFs is probably a story of China’s strength.

“I think that China had COVID at the start and recovered a lot quicker than the rest of the world,” he told Stockhead.

“So they were they were able to capitalise on it and really drive their economies harder than the rest of the world.

“And it’s flowed into the performance underlying shares and hence the strong performance. Particularly new technology, healthcare and discretionary consumer areas have been driven hard,” he said.

“And I think that’s continued into the new year. I know they’ve got some new cases but all the macro data is good compared to the rest of the world.”

 

Chinese investing driving asset prices

Hannah thinks strength will continue to be found in China. Even if diplomatic tensions mean businesses struggle to expand beyond the local market.

“Obviously they [China] have their mega tech companies, Alibaba and Tencent,” he said.

“But China’s over a billion people and their market is heavily driven by local investors.

“The Chinese are big investors into their local stock market and they’ve been confident to continue to invest in the last year and a lot of that has been reflected in rising asset prices.”

“You need to put it into perspective that as China, being the second biggest economy in the world and it could be the largest – their population and local companies are behemoths in comparison to Australian companies.”

“As these companies do well it flows into the market, the global economy and we’re seeing these returns continue.”

 

Individual Chinese companies performing well

Another thematic appealing to investors in China-focused ASX ETFs were the performances of some individual Chinese companies.

“You’ve got these big companies that have some company-specific tailwinds behind them,” explained Morningstar’s Matt Wilkinson.

“Tencent has been going well and Alibaba has started to rebound after falling significantly for 4-5 months. Initially it fell because the Ant Financial IPO was pulled and Jack Ma went missing.”

However, recent news reports indicate Jack Ma has turned up.

“I don’t think Ant is back on the market but at least there’s some uncertainty removed now that he’s reappeared,” Wilkinson said.

He added that the individual company thematic was true among broader Asia themed ASX ETFs. He named the electronics industry as an example, with two such companies being Taiwan Semiconductor (TPE:2330) as well as Korean electronics giant Samsung (KRX:005930).

Of course, Asia is not the only region with growing companies but the countries more heavily hit by COVID-19 were being propped up by stimulus.

“The Asian markets have dealt better in terms of economic recovery – the economic numbers out of Asia have been strong, particularly China, overall,” Wilkinson said.

“And the Western economies – Europe, UK and the US – are largely relying on stimulus to propel investor sentiment.”

 

Greater focus on emerging markets

Stockhead also spoke with Kanish Chugh, head of distribution at ETF Securities.

While his company was not a manager of those ASX ETFs focused on China, he noted there was increased interest in emerging markets generally including China.

“What we have seen since the [US] election, the Biden inauguration and shift from a Trump presidency to a Biden presidency, there has been a greater focus on emerging markets,” Chugh said.

“There’s belief that we could see a new investment and market rally and some of the Asian markets did drag a bit with the COVID impact.”

“China was probably an outlier in that space. Last year, the perception is they had a handle on COVID and we saw quite a lot of interest in China and their recovery trade.”

 

India the next China?

One emerging market that Chugh’s firm does have ETFs focused on is India – with the ETFS Reliance India Nifty 50 ETF (ASX:NDIA).

The ETF tracks India’s Nifty 50 Index and is up 20 per cent in the last six months.

Chugh noted that India is often branded as the ‘Next China’ and investors are interested. He revealed he visited the country for himself on a trip with institutional clients early last year before COVID-19 hit.

“It was positive to see some of the developments occurring,” he said.

“One thing I took away from it and the clients I took along with me, they all took this away: India will be somewhere you need to invest but not for a short term gain.”

As a general rule, ASX ETFs with a broader Asia focus tend to have less focus on India, with a higher weighting allocated to China.

“If you look at a broad Asian equities ETF, the India exposure is anywhere from 8 to 10 per cent and you’ve got about 40 per cent into China,” Chugh said.

“There’s a lot of potential, so if you want to have exposure to have that equal footing you need to overweight it (India) with a single country ETF because you won’t get that exposure via a broad product.”

 

The views, information, or opinions expressed in the interviews in this article are solely those of the interviewees and do not represent the views of Stockhead. Stockhead does not provide, endorse or otherwise assume responsibility for any financial product advice contained in this article.