Emerging Markets may never be the same: What China A Inclusion Could Mean for Investors

The world is coming to China. As one of the greatest growth stories since the early 1980s, China’s equity market accounts for nearly 30% of the emerging markets and is simply too big to ignore. China is large, complex and fast moving. How can investors make sense of this rapidly expanding market?

Investors can access the Chinese equity market through several share classes, the largest being A shares – those that trade in mainland China on domestic exchanges. On August 13th, 2018 MSCI completed the second phase of the partial inclusion of China A shares in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.  Both passive and actively managed portfolios will likely expand into these stocks, which historically have only been available to Chinese investors. Under the current partial inclusion plan, China A shares will have a weight of 5% this year (split into two phases). In the event of full inclusion, China equities would exceed 40% of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.1

MSCI Emerging Market Indexes pie charts with China A Shares

The Journey to Inclusion

As MSCI’s Chin Ping Chia writes in his latest blog post, The World Comes to China, the journey to inclusion of China A shares began nearly five years ago. MSCI has been working closely with market participants and stakeholders to ensure that the upcoming partial inclusion of A shares into the MSCI Emerging Markets Index goes smoothly, and continues to hold the view that better access to all investors is beneficial to the markets in general.

MSCI CHINA: Extensive Access to the Growing China Equity Market

MSCI China indexes are built on quality-reviewed, enriched datasets backed by 99.96% accuracy levels in index production2. They are calculated using a fully transparent and innovative maintenance methodology with a strong emphasis on enhancing investability and replicability through the use of stringent size and liquidity screens. The indexes aim to reflect the performance of a range of opportunity sets of Chinese companies, listed inside and outside China, in the form of different share classes. MSCI Index Methodology.
The flagship China indexes are:

The MSCI China Index is constructed based on the integrated China equity universe included in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, providing a standardized definition of the China equity opportunity set. The index aims to represent the performance of large- and mid-cap segments with H shares, B shares, red chips, P chips and foreign listings (e.g., ADRs) of Chinese stocks. China A shares will be partially included in this index, making it the de facto index for all of China. It can be used as a China benchmark for investors who use the MSCI ACWI Index or MSCI EM Index as their policy benchmark.

List of constituents for the MSCI China and the MSCI China A Inclusion Indexes (August 2018 Quarterly Index Review)
Impact of Unexpected Exchange Closure Scenarios (August 2018 Quarterly Index Review)

The MSCI China A Index captures large and mid-cap representation across China securities listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges. The index covers only those securities that are accessible through "Stock Connect". The index is designed for international investors and is calculated using China A Stock Connect listings based on the offshore RMB exchange rate (CNH).

The MSCI China All Shares Index captures large and mid-cap representation across China A shares, B shares, H shares, Red chips, P chips and foreign listings (e.g. ADRs). The index aims to reflect the opportunity set of China share classes listed in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen and outside of China. It is based on the concept of the integrated MSCI China equity universe with China A-shares included.

MSCI is committed to delivering innovative solutions that integrate risk and performance analysis for the opportunities and challenges ahead.



MSCI China

MSCI China A

MSCI China All Shares


The world comes to China

Loading The world comes to China...

On May 31, MSCI began to partially include China A shares to the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. Marking the significance of this occasion, James P. Gorman, Chairman & CEO, Morgan Stanley, Larry Fink, Chairman & CEO, BlackRock, and Andrew Lo, Head of Asia Pacific, Invesco, shared their insights in a video that played at the Shanghai Stock Exchange ceremony.

- A Shares: China securities incorporated in Mainland China, listed on the Shanghai or Shenzhen Stock Exchange and traded in Renminbi (RMB).
- B Shares: China securities incorporated in China and listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (USD) or Shenzhen Stock Exchange (HKD).
H Shares: China securities incorporated in Mainland China, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and traded in HK Dollars (HKD).
- Red-Chips: China securities of state-owned companies incorporated outside Mainland China, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKD).
- P-Chips: China securities of non-government owned companies incorporated outside Mainland China, listed on HK Stock Exchange (HKD).
- Overseas-Listed: China securities (including ADRs) listed on foreign exchanges outside of Mainland China and Hong Kong (traded in USD, SGD, KRW etc.)


China would comprise 31.3% of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index at 5% inclusion as of August 2018 (left panel), based on data used for MSCI’s May 2018 Semi-Annual Index Review. At a hypothetical 100% inclusion (which may or may not occur in the future), China would comprise 42% of the index, based on the current market capitalization. All figures are approximate.

2 Accuracy calculated internally based on the number of corrections performed over total number of securities or data points covered.


What does the partial inclusion of China A Shares mean for investors?

Index Consultations

Consultation on Further Weight Increase of China A Shares in the MSCI Indexes

China A shares: The journey continues

China continues to open its capital markets to global investors and accessibility standards. If adopted, our recently launched consultation on increasing the weighting of China A shares in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index could boost China A shares’ weight in the index to 3.4% by May 2020.