Most investors in the UK will stick with FTSE 100 stocks. However, the FTSE is worth less today than it was five years ago. As such, those focusing exclusively on domestic stocks are not getting the sort of returns that are available elsewhere.
With that in mind, a lot of UK investors are now considering Asian stocks. Whether that’s companies listed in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, or Japan – Asian stocks operate in a high-growth marketplace.
In this guide, we explore the best Asian stocks to buy in 2021. We also discuss which UK stock brokers allow you to buy Asian stocks from the comfort of your home.
Top Asian Stocks 2021
Here’s a breakdown of the 10 Asian stocks today.
- Alibaba – Best Asian Stock of 2021 (Hong Kong) – Invest now
- Tencent – Best Asian Stock for Capital Gains (Hong Kong) – Invest now
- Nintendo – Best Asian Stock for Long-Term Investors (Tokyo) – Invest now
- OCBC Bank SGX – Best Asian Dividend Stock (Singapore)
- Kunlun Energy – Best Asian Penny Stock (Hong Kong)
- Sony – Best Tech Asian Stock (Tokyo and NYSE)
- Melco Resorts & Entertainment – Best Cheap Asian Stock (NASDAQ)
- Pinduoduo – Best Asian Growth Stock (NASDAQ)
- Meituan – Best Asian Stock for the Chinese App Market (Hong Kong)
- Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing – Best Asian Stock to Invest in Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
Best Asian Stocks UK Reviewed
Make no mistake about it – there are thousands of stocks listed in the Asian markets – most of which you can access from the UK. This can make it a daunting process when deciding which are the best shares to buy.
To help point you in the right direction, below you find the top 10 Asian stocks to invest in in 2021.
1. Alibaba – Best Asian Stock of 2021 (Hong Kong)
Alibaba is a huge Chinese company that is involved in a range of tech-based projects. At the forefront of this is its online marketplace which matches Chinese wholesalers with international buyers.
Founded by well-known figure Jack Ma, Alibaba now generates more online profits than the likes of Walmart and eBay. In terms of its stocks, Alibaba is actually listed in several countries. However, you will find a lot of trading activity on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Alibaba joined the exchange in late 2019 at a stock price of $198 HKD. Less than 12 months later, the stocks hit all-time highs of $298 HKD. This represents a healthy increase of 50%.
Since then, the stocks have tailed off slightly – owing to an ongoing investigation by Chinese authorities regarding anti-monopoly regulations. As such, at current prices of around $230 HKD, you’re able to buy this top-rated Asian stock at a huge discount.
Your capital is at risk.
2. Tencent – Best Asian Stock for Capital Gains (Hong Kong)
Tencent Holdings is another Chinese company that is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Launched in 1998, the firm specializes in video game brands. In fact, it owns some of the largest gaming subsidiaries in the world.
This includes the developer behind titles such as League of Legends, Clash of Clans, and Path of Exile. It also has stakes in gaming powerhouses such as Ubisoft, Parabox Interactive, and Activision Blizzard. As such, by investing in Tencent, you are gaining exposure to a highly diverse basket of leading video game brands.
In terms of its stock price action, early backers of Tencent have been rewarded handsomely since the firm went public in 2004. Back then, you would have paid just $0.81 HKD per share. Fast forward to early 2021 and the same Tencent shares will cost you $596 HKD each. This means that over the course of just 16-ish years, Tencent shares have increased in value by over 73,000%.
In more recent times, Tencent shares have enjoyed a very fruitful 2020 – illustrating that the stocks are somewhat immune to the wider coronavirus restrictions. For example, this Asian stock was priced at $385 HKD in early January 2020. Closing the year at $559 HKD, this translates into 12-month returns of 45%.
Your capital is at risk.
3. Nintendo – Best Asian Stock for Long-Term Investors (Tokyo)
Nintendo is one of the largest gaming companies globally. The Japan-based company is publicly-listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange with a current market capitalization of just over 8.5 trillion yen.
The firm enjoyed huge success in the 1980s and 1990s – especially in the video gaming console sector. However, the firm was unable to fend off competition from the likes of Sega and Sony – subsequently impacting Nintendo’s revenues for many, many years.
With that said, Nintendo has since increased its market share of the global gaming industry – which is fully evident in its stock price action over the past five years. For example, Nintendo stocks were priced at just 15,000 yen each in 2016.
And today? The same stocks are priced at almost 65,000 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. This means that Nintendo stockholders have enjoyed returns of over 330% in just five years of trading. Much like in the case of Tencent, Nintendo was not impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. On the contrary, the stocks increased by 54% in 2020.
Your capital is at risk.
4. OCBC Bank SGX – Best Asian Dividend Stock (Singapore)
If your main focus is that of Asian dividend stocks, you might want to consider Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC). The Chinese bank is headquartered in Singapore and thus – has its shares listed on the Singapore Exchange.
In its most recent distribution, OCBC paid a rather healthy dividend yield of 4.35%. This is an annual yield that is much higher than most FTSE 100 shares pay, which is why so many UK investors are looking to put their money in the Asian markets. When it comes to the stock price action of OCBC, the shares were relatively stable before the coronavirus pandemic came to fruition.
However, OCBC stocks collapsed in early 2020 – going from $11.23 SGD to $7.80 SGD – representing a 30% downswing. Since then, the shares have actually recovered quite nicely. At the time of writing in early 2021, OCBC shares are holding their own just above the $10 SGD mark.
This means that since the $7.81 SGD lows of March 2020, the shares have grown by 30%. Crucially, even at these levels, you can still buy this Asian stock at a discount – while enjoying a consistent dividend distribution.
Your capital is at risk.
5. Kunlun Energy – Best Asian Penny Stock (Hong Kong)
If you have a slightly higher appetite for risk and wish to target larger gains – you might be considering an Asian penny stock. For clarity, the UK defines a penny stock as a company with a share price of less than £1. Our research found that one of the most popular Asian penny shares of 2021 is that of Kunlun Energy – which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Kunlun Energy – which is owned by the China National Petroleum Corporation, is involved in both crude oil and natural gas. This covers everything from exploration and development to production and distribution. Its key markets cover Thailand, Indonesia, Oman, Kazakhstan, and Peru. In terms of its stock price history, Kunlun Energy was first listed in Hong Kong in 1998.
Since then, this popular Asian stock has gone through several peaks and troughs. This was especially the case in 2020. Much like the rest of the oil and gas industry, Kunlun Energy shares capitulated in early 2020 – going from $7 HKD to down to just $2.90 HKD in the space of two months. This represents a decline of 58%.
However – those that bought Kunlun Energy at the 52-week low of $2.90 HKD are now looking at considerable gains. This is because the stocks have since recovered and as per January 2021 – are priced at $7.23 HKD. This translates into gains of 149% in just 9 months of trading.
Your capital is at risk.
6. Sony – Best Tech Asian Stock (Tokyo and NYSE)
Sony is a huge Japan-based technology company that is dominant in a full range of industries. At the forefront of this is its video game production line – where it is behind the Playstation series. Not only does this include consoles, but video game titles.
Additionally, Sony is now the world’s second-largest record label. Some of the biggest names signed to Sony include Zara Larsson, Outkast, Alicia Keys, and Mariah Carey. Sony also has a major presence in other sectors – including but not limited to televisions, image sensory, and online media.
Although Sony is listed in its home country of Japan, the shares have a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange. This actually makes it a bit easier, as the stocks are priced in US dollars as opposed to Japanese yen.
In fact, Sony has been publicly-listed in the US since 1981. In more recent times, the shares have performed very well – largely because of the success of its Playstation series. For example, Sony shares were priced at just $23 back in early 2016. Fast forward to January 2021 and the same shares are worth $101. This represents a growth of 330% in just five years.
Your capital is at risk.
7. Melco Resorts & Entertainment – Best Cheap Asian Stock (NASDAQ)
Melco Resorts & Entertainment is a large-scale casino and hotel developer and operator. Its largest market is based in Macau – which is often described as the Asian Las Vegas. This is because Macau is the go-to destination for Chinese residents looking to gamble. Crucially, Melco Resorts & Entertainment purchased the last six remaining casino licenses in Macau back in 2006.
This allowed it to build and operate some of the largest casino brands in the city. This includes none-other than the City of Dreams – a project that cost Melco over $2.4 billion. Although Melco Resorts & Entertainment is headquartered in Hong Kong, the firm decided to list its stocks on the NASDAQ. As such, this means that you easily buy this Asian stock from the UK.
As you might know, the hospitality industry – which includes casinos and hotels, was, and still is, heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In turn, Melco Resorts & Entertainment crumbled from $24 in January 2020 to just $11 two months later. This represents a sharp decline of over 50%.
However, the stocks have since recovered to $18.50 – a 68% increase from their 2020 lows. With that said, you can still buy this Asian stock on the cheap. After all, Macau is still close to international tourists. But, when it once again opens its doors, this is likely to have a hugely positive impact on the stock price of Melco Resorts & Entertainment.
Your capital is at risk.
8. Pinduoduo – Best Asian Growth Stock (NASDAQ)
If you’re looking to buy shares in Asian growth stocks, you might want to consider Pinduoduo. Although you might not have heard of the company, it is actually the largest interactive e-commerce platform in China. More specifically, Pinduoduo has a strong focus on rural Chinese locations.
This is a market that fellow e-commerce giant Alibaba has failed to capitalize on. Once again, although Pinduoduo is a Chinese company, it is opted to list its shares in the US. Crucially, this growth stock was launched as recently as 2015 – and only joined the NASDAQ in December 2018.
Back then, you would have paid $25 per share. As of January 2021, the shares are in all-time high territory at $176. This means that in just over two years, Pinduoduo shares have increased by over 600%.
At the time of writing, the stocks carry a market valuation of $216 billion – making it one of the biggest companies on the NASDAQ. However, when you consider the sheer size of the Chinese consumer marketplace, Pinduoduo could be worth considerably more in the near future
Your capital is at risk.
9. Meituan – Best Asian Stock for the Chinese App Market (Hong Kong)
Meituan is yet another up and coming Chinese e-commerce company that is looking to take advantage of ever-changing consumer attitudes. In a nutshell, Meituan offers a range of mobile apps that are designed to help Chinese residents make informed decisions with respect to dining, travel, and entertainment.
For example, if somebody is looking for a restaurant review, they might come across the Meituan platform. There are also Meituan apps that offer discounts and vouchers in a similar way to that of Groupon.
However, unlike Groupon, Meituan has a significant customer base in the Chinese market that now exceeds 600 million. When it comes to its shares, Meituan is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It initiated its IPO as recently as September 2018 – where the stocks were priced at just over $72 HKD.
Fast forward to early 2021 and the same stocks are worth $310 HKD. This means that had you bought the shares when they were first listed just over two years ago, you would now be looking at gains of 330%. Ultimately, although the firm now carries a market capitalization of $1.82 HKD trillion, there is still plenty of upside potential in the making.
Your capital is at risk.
10. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing – Best Asian Stock to Invest in Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
Although Hong Kong has had a turbulent time over the past 18 months, the domestic stock exchange itself is booming. Much like the London Stock Exchange Group – which facilitates the UK stock markets, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing takes care of all buy and sell orders in the country.
As such, this Asian stock benefits from increased trading volume. After all, it doesn’t matter if the Hong Kong stock markets are up or down, the company will still collect fees related to clearing and commissions. In turn, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing is a great stock to consider moving into 2021.
Back in 2005 – when it was first listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, you would have only paid $26 HKD per share. 16 years later in 2021, the stocks are now worth $449. This represents a very healthy increase of over 1,626%.
Unlike the vast majority of the domestic stock market, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing benefited greatly from the covid pandemic and lockdowns. Once again, this is because the more trading activity there is, the more the firm makes. At the start of 2020, the shares were priced at $269 HKD. 12 months later the shares closed at $425 HKD – representing gains of 57%.
Your capital is at risk.
How to Choose the Best Asian Stocks for You
Although we have discussed the 10 top Asian stocks to invest in of 2021 – this is, of course, the result of our subjective analysis. In other words, there are thousands of Asian stocks to choose from – meaning that the ones we have discussed on this page might not necessarily be suited for you and your financial goals.
As such, we would suggest reading through the following sections to ensure you are able to do your own research and this – find the best Asian stocks for you.
Specific Asian Market
First and foremost, you need to think about the specific Asian market you are interested in making an investment in. After all, there are heaps of stock exchanges based on the continent – each of which comes with its own potential risks and rewards.
To give you an idea of where UK investors have been known to inject capital into – check out the main Asian stock exchanges below.
- Hong Kong Stock Exchange
- Korea Exchange (South Korea)
- Shanghai Stock Exchange (China)
- Shenzhen Stock Exchange (China)
- Singapore Exchange
- Taiwan Exchange
- The Stock Exchange of Thailand
- Tokyo Stock Exchange (Japan)
Although the exchanges listed above are the most liquid, you can buy shares in other Asian markets too. This includes everything from Vietnam and Indonesia to the Philippines and Cambodia.
However, as a retail client in the UK, access to these less popular Asian markets is going to be somewhat limited. The main workaround to this is investing in an ETF that tracks hundreds of different Asian stocks from several marketplaces. More on this shortly.
Industry or Sector
You then need to think about which industry or sector you plan to invest in. For example, a lot of up and coming technology stocks are based in Asia. Additionally, e-commerce and online retail platforms are becoming more and more popular in the region – especially in China.
Most importantly, you need to have a firm understanding of the stock you are investing in. Not only does this include the niche area that the company sells its products and services, too, but how it compares to competitors that are already in the market. Once again, a good way to circumvent the risks of investing in a single industry is to opt for an Asian stock ETF.
Growth or Dividends
Much like any investment decision, you need to determine how you plan to increase the value of your money. In the case of the top Asian stocks right now, this means focusing on companies that are likely to return capital growth via an increased stock price.
Or, you might want to buy stocks that pay a competitive dividend yield. In some cases, you might be able to locate a stock that offers both. Most of the Asian stocks that we discussed on this page offer returns in the form of capital gains, as opposed to dividends.
Although Asia is one of the fastest-growing regions globally, you are taking on an extra bag of risk by targeting this segment of the investment space. This is because there is less capital in these markets in comparison to the UK and US stock exchanges. In turn, this means that investing in Asian stocks can be a lot more volatile.
At one end of the spectrum, buying shares in large-scale Japanese firms like Toyota, Softbank, or Sony is relatively low-risk. After all, these are highly established global brands with a considerable market capitalization.
But, at the other end of the spectrum, buying shares in emerging Asian markets like Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia can be extremely risky. As such, just make sure that you understand how much risk you are taking by buying your chosen Asian stocks.
Brokers and Fees
Although we cover the best brokers to trade Asian stocks from further down, we can’t stress enough just how important this is. In other words, you might find an Asian stock that you are interested in adding to your portfolio. But, you need to make sure that you have access to a broker that allows you to purchase it.
After all, the Asian markets are nowhere near as popular with UK investors as those based in the US. In addition to this, you can be all-but-certain that your chosen stock broker charges a premium to invest in stocks. This might come in two forms. Firstly, you’ll likely need to pay a flat commission that is charged when you buy the shares and again when you cash out.
Secondly, the broker will usually charge an FX fee that is multiplied by your stake. For example, Hargreaves Lansdown charges a 1% FX fee in addition to its £11.95 share dealing commission. This means that by buying £500 worth of Asian stocks at the broker, you’ll pay £16.95 (£11.95 + £5).
Consider an ETF
If you are looking to choose the best Asian stocks of 2021 because you want to invest in the region itself, why not consider an ETF? There are heaps of ETF providers that now concentrate partly, or fully on the Asian markets.
For example, For example, the iShares MSCI EM Asia UCITS ETF has a basket of over 880 different Asian stocks. Breaking the portfolio down further, you’ll have 43% of your investment allocated to Chinese stocks, 17% in South Korea, 15% in Taiwan, and the rest split between India and Thailand.
There are several reasons why you might consider an ETF as opposed to trying to pick and choose individual Asian stocks. For example, you’ll be investing in hundreds of companies through a single trade – so you are building a hugely diversified portfolio at the click of a button.
Taking the ETF route also eliminates the need to research prospective stocks to invest in. This is because the ETF provider determines which stocks to buy and sell. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, FCA broker eToro allows you to invest in ETFs commission-free from just $200 (about £160) upwards.
How to Buy Asian Stocks: Best Stock Brokers
So now that you know how to find Asian stocks yourself, we are now going to discuss the best UK stock brokers and stock trading apps that give you access to this high-growth marketplace. Our pre-vetted selections all offer competitive fees and a fully-regulated status.
1. eToro – Buy Asian Stocks with 0% Commission
eToro is now one of the most popular stock brokers globally – with more than 13 million investors using the trading platform to buy and sell financial assets. In the UK, eToro is authorized and regulated by the FCA. It is also covered by the FSCS – so the broker offers a safe and secure way to invest from the comfort of your home.
In terms of what stocks you can buy at eToro, the broker is home to almost 2,400 companies. These are listed on 17 different UK and international exchanges, so it’s easy to diversify. In particular, eToro gives you access to hundreds of shares listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Many of these companies are actually located in China, but they opt for a Hong Kong listing to attract international investors.
Additionally, eToro also offers a great selection of ETFs – many of which focus on Asian stocks. When it comes to pricing, eToro is also one of the cheapest stock brokers in the UK. This is because you can buy shares – both domestically and internationally-listed, without paying any commission. If you are also planning to buy UK shares, you won’t need to pay any stamp duty – which is usually charged at 0.5%.
There are no monthly or annual account fees at eToro, either. In terms of getting started, it takes just 10 minutes to open a share dealing account and deposit funds. You will need to meet a minimum deposit of $200 at eToro. But, you can invest from just $50 into your chosen Asian stock. It’s simply to get money into and out of this FCA broker, as it supports UK debit cards, credit cards, and even e-wallets like Paypal and Skrill. UK Bank transfers are also supported, but this takes slightly longer to process.
- Super user-friendly online trading platform
- Buy stocks without paying any commission or share dealing charges
- Trade CFDs in the form of stocks, indices, commodities, forex, and more
- 2,400+ stocks listed on the UK and international markets
- 150+ ETFs
- Deposit funds with a debit/credit card, e-wallet, or UK bank account
- Ability to copy the trades of other users
- FCA and FSCS protections
- Not suitable for advanced traders that like to perform technical analysis
75% of retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site
2. DEGIRO – Great Low-Cost Broker With Thousands of Asian Stocks
This is because the broker is home to tens of thousands of stocks from dozens of marketplaces. This includes stocks listed in Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong. You can also access a huge selection of ETFs at Degiro that track Asian stocks.
Degiro is popular with UK investors because of its low-cost pricing structure. For example, you will pay just £1.75 + 0.014% when buying shares that are listed on the London Stock Exchange, and even less when investing in US companies. However, Asian stocks are slightly on the high-side.
This is because Degiro charges €10.00 + 0.06% per trade – which you will need to pay when you buy your chosen Asian stock and again when you sell. Additionally, you also need to pay an annual fee of €2.50 for each Asian stock exchange that you buy shares from.
- Very low fees to buy and sell stocks
- Thousands of stocks across multiple international markets
- One free ETF trade per month
- Also offers bonds and funds
- Good reputation
- Newly designed website makes it easy to invest
- Takes days to get your account set up
- Does not accept debit/credit cards or e-wallets
Investing at this trading platform involves risk of loss.
Investing in Asian Stocks UK: Tutorial
If you’ve made it this far through our guide, you should now know which Asian stocks take your fancy. You should also have a firm idea of which UK stock broker you wish to use to buy your chosen stocks.
If you’re ready to invest right now but you want a little guidance, the steps below show you how to buy Asian stocks in the UK with FCA broker eToro.
Step 1: Open an Account and Upload ID
The end-to-end registration process at eToro takes less than 10 minutes to complete. First, head over to the broker’s website and click on the ‘Join Now’ button.
You will then be asked to enter some personal information – such as your name, home address, date of birth, national insurance number, and email. eToro will send you a text message with a unique PIN, which you’ll need to enter to confirm your mobile number.
Step 2: Confirm Identity
eToro is authorized and regulated in the UK by the FCA. As such, it is legally required to collect some verification documents from you.
This includes the following:
- Valid passport or driver’s license
- Utility bill or bank account statement
As soon as you upload the above, eToro’s automated system should be able to validate them instantly.
Note: If you are not depositing more than $2,250 (about £1,800), you can upload the document later – but this does need to be before you can make a withdrawal.
Step 3: Deposit Funds
eToro supports a range of popular UK payment methods, including:
- Debit cards
- Credit cards
- Bank transfer
The minimum deposit is $200 – or about £160.
Step 4: Search for an Asian Stock
Now it’s time to find your chosen Asian stock. Click on the ‘Trade Markets’ button, followed by ‘Stocks’. You will then be presented with a full break down of what stocks are on offer at eToro – across 17 exchanges.
If you already know which Asian stock you want to buy, simply search for it. In our example, we searching for Hong Kong-based Meituan – which we discussed earlier in our list of the 10 best Asian stocks to buy today.
Step 5: Buy Asian Stock
Finally, you now need to place an order to buy your chosen Asian stock.
This is simple at eToro, as you only need to your stake – ensuring you meet a $50 minimum, To clarify, it doesn’t matter which Asian stock exchange your chosen company is listed on – all stakes at eToro are denominated in US dollars.
To complete your commission-free stock investment at eToro, click on the ‘Open Trade’ button.
In summary, UK investors are being starved of growth on the FTSE 100. As such, many are turning to the best Asian stocks. The good news is that it’s now really easy to buy Asian stocks online in the UK.
In fact, if using our top-rated FCA broker eToro – you can start investing in Asian stocks without paying any share dealing commission or account fees. Further, you can invest from just $50 per trade – which allows you to diversify with ease.
eToro – Buy Asian Stocks with 0% Commission
75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
What are the best Chinese stocks to buy now?
Perhaps the most popular Chinese stock at present is that of the e-commerce giant Alibaba. The stocks are also listed in the US, making an investment easy.
How do I invest in Asian stocks UK?
When using FCA broker eToro, you can invest in Asian stocks in less than 10 minutes. Simply open an account, make a deposit with your UK debit/credit card or e-wallet, and choose which Asian stocks you want to buy. The process is 100% commission-free at eToro, too!
What are the best Asian stocks to buy?
With thousands of Asian stocks to choose from, singling one out is somewhat difficult. Moving in 2021, UK investors are particularly interested in the likes of Nintendo, Alibaba, and Sony.
Is there an Asian stock ETF?
Yes, there are dozens of popular Asian stock ETFs that you can invest in. While some focus exclusively on Asian-listed stocks, others also give you exposure to alternative marketplaces.
What is the largest Asian stock market?
In terms of market capitalization and trading volume, the largest stock exchanges in Asia include the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Shanghai Stock Exchange, and Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Other stock exchanges include the Hang Seng, KOSPI and Nikkei 225 exchanges.