The labor shortage in China caused by the combination of an aging population and a low birth rate has created a vacuum in the heavy-labor industry, in which women are are hiring more and more, reports the Wall Street Journal. Women can now work in construction, transport and other sectors historically dominated by men, giving them greater financial freedom and greater flexibility of work.
Women working in labor-intensive sectors represent one third of the 286 million rural workers who do not work in the agricultural sector. They find jobs closer to home to care for their aging parents, return to more rural areas and forgo trips to factory jobs in cities.
The settlement of rural areas has been a push from the country’s president, Xi Jinping, with incentives and cash injections in the form of loans and grants for businesses outside of urban areas.
The population of 15-59 years of working age fell to 63% in 2020, from 70% ten years earlier. The government is trying to cope with this decline by encouraging more children in families and considering raising the retirement age. In the meantime, women are catching up, although they are almost always paid less than their male counterparts.
Nearly a third of workers at urban construction sites are now women, according to estimates by researchers studying labor and gender issues in China, a number that has risen from around 10% a decade ago . While paid less, many now have money to spend in one of the world’s largest economies.
‘KBA ‘performs well in the midst of regulations
Recent regulations in China have created extreme volatility and stock declines related to Chinese companies and markets. KBA is investing in mainland Chinese fundamentals, which KraneShares says remains strong. A-share markets are largely compromised by investors in China, with foreign investors currently accounting for only around 5% of spending.
Brendan Ahern, CIO of KraneShares, told ETF Trends that “I would say that the disparity between domestic Chinese investors and foreign investors has arguably never been greater.” As external fears continue to fuel volatility, investors in China have mostly continued to invest in the daily drivers of Chinese markets.
For investors seeking access to the Chinese A-share market, the KraneShares Bosera MSCI China A Share ETF (KBA) invests in Chinese A shares, in particular the MSCI China A Share index.
The ETF captures a representation of mid and large cap Chinese stocks listed on the Shenzhen and Shanghai stock exchanges, which have historically been closed to US investors. With $ 777 million in assets under management, KBA remains the largest MSCI-linked Chinese A-share ETF available in the United States
KBA offers exposure in a wide variety of sectors, with 18.28% invested in finance, 16.10% in consumer staples, 14.53% in industry, 14.31% in consumer technologies. information and 11.19% in health.
Stakes in KBA include construction companies in China that increasingly rely on female labor. Sany Heavy Industry Co., Ltd., the third largest heavy equipment manufacturer in the world and headquartered in Hunan Province; Anhui Conch Cement, the largest cement manufacturer in China; and Power Construction Corp. of China, a state-owned company engaged in heavy construction and civil engineering, are all owned within KBA.
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