With ETFs, investors, advisors and institutions can access the emerging markets through specific countries, instead of relying on broad emerging funds based on indices like the cap-weighted MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

Consequently, investors can over- or underweight countries using ETFs based on their own outlooks. For instance, Indonesia only makes up 2.7% of the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: EEM), which tracks the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. While EIDO outperformed with a 15.6% return year-to-date, EEM has declined 5.4% so far this year.

For more information on developing economies, visit our emerging markets category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.