The introduction of a new COVID variant that is already confirmed in over 20 countries has seen border closures and travel bans thrown into place as governments race to try and contain and protect. In China, where the border has been closed essentially since the beginning of the pandemic last year, life is going on as usual, reports Bloomberg.
Most countries are taking a very conservative approach to handling Omicron while much is still unknown; an abundance of caution is seen as preferable to the alternative, and so with travel bans going into place this week, economies and investors are left guessing for now what the long-term impact will be. For China, which enacted its COVID Zero approach last year that closed borders indefinitely and shuts down regions when necessary, it’s just more business as usual.
China has taken an approach that has been largely criticized, whereby the goal is to eradicate every single infection instead of learning to live alongside the virus. On top of rolling border and travel restrictions within the country, China has also enacted a series of curbs that have all but isolated the population. Now, with Omicron threatening the recovery of rebounding countries, China’s approach is one that is allowing their economy to continue steadily along.
“Omicron is a booster shot for Covid Zero,” said Huang Yanzhong, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. “If Western countries are walking back on their reopening and closing borders, they’ll lose the grounds for accusing China of sticking to what they say is an unsustainable and incorrect approach.”
The COVID Zero approach could very well put China ahead of the rest of the world in dealing with the new variant, and any other variants that may crop up. While much is unknown about the dangers of Omicron, for now, the rest of the world is bracing; in China, it’s just another day.
Investing in China’s Continuing Economy
For investors looking for access to China’s economic performance in the midst of global pause through the A-shares market, the KraneShares Bosera MSCI China A Share ETF (KBA) invests in Chinese A-shares — specifically, the MSCI China A Share Index.
The ETF captures mid-cap and large-cap representation of Chinese equities listed on the Shenzhen and Shanghai Stock Exchanges, which have been historically closed to U.S. investors. At $738 million in assets under management, KBA remains the largest MSCI-linked China A-share ETF available in the U.S.
Holdings in KBA include Kweichow Moutai, a major alcohol producer in China, at 5.43%; Contemporary Amperex Technology, a Chinese battery manufacturer, at 3.54%; and China Merchants Bank, the first shareholder commercial bank to be entirely owned by corporate legal groups in China, at 2.28%.
KBA carries an expense ratio of 0.59%.
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