Over the past month, the U.S. stock market has held its ground and shot off a nice rally, but what lies ahead for exchange traded funds (ETFs) and the markets in Asia?

Those who follow Asian markets know that Japan is the big dog when it comes to ETF products. In fact, some believe that there is too much overlap between products offered on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

For example, there are three ETFs that track that the Nikkei and three ETFs that track the Topix.  Japan is somewhat of a complex place.  It is very difficult to cross-list ETFs in Japan, states Paul Hoff, managing director of FTSE for the Asia-Pacific markets, in an interview with Rita Raagas De Ramos of Asian Investor.  For this reason, FTSE is introducing the first theme-based ETF in Japan.

In regard to other regions of Asia, FTSE will be introducing a new thematic ETF in Malaysia on plantations.  This will be launched on FTSE’s custom index that it launched for Malaysia.  China will be an interesting market to keep an eye on as well.  The Shanghai Stock Exchange has a nice initiative to get foreign ETFs listed on the domestic market.