Starting from Monday, global investors who crave for a bite of China's economic growth dividends have more channels.
Nearly 1,100 companies listed on China's A-shares market became eligible for investment by certain overseas funds and other institutional investors as these shares were officially included in a widely-tracked global benchmark.
FTSE Russell, a leading global multi-asset index, data and analytics provider, Monday included China's A-shares in the FTSE Global Equity Index Series (FTSE GEIS) as a secondary emerging market.
Implementation of phase 1 will run from June 24 till March 23, 2020, during which 25 percent of the investable market capitalization of eligible large-, mid-, and small-cap China A-shares will be added to the FTSE GEIS and derived indexes.
At a launch ceremony held at the Shenzhen Stock Exchange last Friday, FTSE Russell's CEO Waqas Samad said the inclusion would be an important mark of the development and opening-up of China's stock market.
FTSE Russell will continue to provide benchmark indexes and innovative analytics solutions to meet the demands of global investors and promote investment in Chinese stocks and bond products, Samad said.
The FTSE inclusion of A-shares was expected to bring 10 billion U.S. dollars of inflow in total, including 2 billion dollars in June, according to Thomas Fang, Head of China Equities at UBS.
Central bank data showed that foreign investors held 1.68 trillion yuan of A shares by end-March 2019, accounting for 3 percent of the total market cap of the onshore equity market, up from 0.8 percent in November 2015.
Foreign investors as a group have surpassed insurers as the largest A-shares holder, and with the help of the weight increase of various indexes, are likely to rival domestic mutual funds soon, according to Fang. "We expect the largely retail-driven A-shares market to become more institutionalized over time."
Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said the inclusion fully reflected the trust of the international investment community in China's positive economic fundamentals and long-term trajectory as well as the reform and opening-up of its capital market.
Chinese stocks closed mixed on Monday, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index up 0.21 percent, at 3,008.15 points. The Shanghai Composite Index has risen by over 20 percent so far this year.
The FTSE inclusion came after the Shanghai-London Stock Connect program opened for trading last week and global index provider MSCI decided earlier this month to increase index weighting for China A-shares.
China is embarking on the next stage of its integration into global financial markets with the inclusion of Chinese stocks and bonds in a large number of global indexes, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a blog last week.
"It is a stage that is likely to see a fresh flood of overseas investment, improved liquidity, better governance, and a broader range of instruments," the blog said.