How to Trade Asia Markets

Jitanchandra Solanki
9 Min read

For many traders, Asia's markets now provide a welcome addition to their portfolios. The Asia region and other emerging markets are home to 85% of the world's population and are considered to be the new engines of global growth.

Whether it's trading the stock markets of the Asian Tigers - Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan - or the global powerhouses of Japan and China, the potential opportunities these markets provide can certainly not be ignored.

In this 'How to Trade Asia Markets' you will learn why the Asian financial markets are interesting for traders right now, a list of the top Asian stock markets to trade on, the Asia stock market open times, how to trade or invest in them with competitive commissions and much more.

What are the Asia Markets?

The Asia markets encompass the regional currencies of each country, as well as the regional stock market of each country in Asia. Asia stock markets are essentially run like an auction place. It's a place where traders, investors and hedge fund managers can buy and sell shares of publicly listed companies. You may already be familiar with stocks that are listed on the world's largest stock exchange, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It includes companies such as Disney, Nike and Walmart.

While the NYSE and the NASDAQ stock exchange are the two world's largest by market capitalisation, Asian stock markets are not far behind. The third-largest is the Shanghai Stock Exchange (China), and the fifth-largest is the Japan Stock Exchange (Japan), with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange of India making the top ten list. 

List of Top 10 Stock Exchanges in the World

  Stock Exchange Operator Market Capitalisation in Trillion US Dollars
1 New York Stock Exchange, United States 24.3
2 NASDAQ, United States 20.13
3 Shanghai Stock Exchange, China 6.93
4 Euronext, Europe 6.42
5 Japan Exchange Group 5.63
6 Shenzhen Stock Exchange, China 4.67
7 Hong Kong Exchanges 4.19
8 National Stock Exchange of India 3.26
9 London Stock Exchange Group, UK 3.10
10 Saudi Stock Exchange, Saudi Arabia 2.83

Source: Statista - Largest Stock Exchange Operators Worldwide by Market Capitalisation of Listed Companies as of July 2023.

It's clear to see from the data above that trading and investing in the Asian financial markets provides access to a large portion of the world's stock markets that cannot be ignored. However, within the Asia region, there is a wide variety of different economies.

At one end, you have the highly developed countries which include Japan and the four countries also known as the Asian Tigers - Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Other major players in the region include China, India and others.

It was in the early 1960s that Asian economies started a period of industrialisation that has now led to most of them exporting mass-produced products (electronics, clothing, etc) to the rest of the world. With this growth the region's financial stability has increased which has attracted more foreign investment, helping to build some of the world's most innovative companies and services.

List of Asian Stock Markets

One of the simplest ways to gain access to the Asian financial markets is through stock market indices. A stock index represents the value of a group of stocks from one country's stock exchange. Charles Dow created the first stock index in May 1896 called the Dow Jones Index (DJI). Instead of following all the individual stocks in a country, traders and investors can track the performance of a basket of stocks instead.

Many traders may be familiar with stock market indices such as the DAX (Germany 40) or FTSE 100. These represent the stock markets of Germany and the UK respectively. Asian stock markets also have Asia stock indices which can give a quick snapshot of what is happening in that stock market. A list of Asian stock market indices includes:

  1. China A50 - Tracks the Largest 50 A Share Companies on Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges
  2. Hang Seng 50 - Tracks the Performance of the 50 Largest China Companies by Market Cap on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange
  3. India 50 - The NIFTY 50 Tracks the Performance of 50 of the Largest Indian Equities on the National Stock Exchange of India
  4. Singapore Free - Tracks the Performance of 25 of the Largest Blue Chip Stocks on the Singapore Stock Exchange 
  5. Taiwan 50 - Tracks the Performance of 50 Blue Chip Stocks Listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange
  6. Nikkei 225 - Tracks the Performance of 225 Japanese Equities Listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange

These Asia stock market indices are tradable via Admirals through products such as ETFs (exchange traded funds) and CFDs (contracts for difference).

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The China A50 Index

The China A50 Index is also known as the FTSE China A50 Index as it is operated by the UK FTSE Group. The index represents the value of the 50 largest A share companies from the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange which are both located in China. This includes Chinese companies such as the Bank of China, PetroChina and the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. 

The Hang Seng Index

The Hang Seng Index is a free-float, capitalisation-weighted index of 50 of the largest companies from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The companies in the index are divided into four sub-indices which include: Commerce and Industry, Finance, Properties and Utilities. Some of the companies that make up the index include Hang Seng Bank Ltd, Sands China Ltd and China Mobile Ltd.

The India 50 Index

Also known as the NIFTY 50 (National Index Fifty), the India 50 Index is the flagship index on the NSE (National Stock Exchange of India). The index tracks the behaviour of 50 blue-chip companies which are the largest and most liquid Indian securities that are domiciled in India and listed on the exchange. The index includes companies such as ICICI Bank, Reliance Industries and Tata Steel.

The Singapore Free Index

The Singapore Free Index is also known as the Singapore 25 Index as it tracks the performance of the 25 largest companies listed on the Singapore Exchange. However, the index itself follows the MSCI Singapore Free stock market index. The Morgan Stanley Capital International range of indices is well-known throughout the world and is regularly tracked by institutions and hedge funds. The index includes companies such as DBS Group Holdings, OCBC Bank and Singapore Airlines.

The Taiwan 50 Index

The Taiwan 50 Index tracks the performance of 50 companies listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange and was developed by the Taiwan Stock Exchange in collaboration with the FTSE Group. It is sometimes referred to as the FTSE TWSE Taiwan Index Series. It includes companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Chunghwa Telecom and MediaTek.

The Nikkei 225 Index

The Nikkei-225 Index is a price-weighted average of the 225 top-rated Japanese companies that are listed in the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The index was published in May 1949 and is different from other indices which use a company's market capitalisation for entry into the index. The index includes companies such as Nissan, Sony and Toyota.

Financial Products Available to Trade Asia Markets

With Admirals there are a variety of different account types to choose from to trade Asia markets:

  1. Trade.MT5 Account
    • Trade CFDs (contracts for difference) on Asia stock indices, stocks and currencies. 
    • Trade long or short as you speculate on price direction rather than own the underlying asset. 
    • Trade on margin which amplifies both winning and losing trades. 
  2. Invest.MT5 Account
    • Invest in Asia stocks from Asia regions such as Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and China (via ADRs). 
    • Invest in ETFs from the US, UK and Europe that track Asia stock market regions such as Taiwan and South Korea. 
  3. Demo Account
    • Practice trading and investing in a virtual environment until you are ready to go live.

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What Time Does the Asian Market Open?

Now you know what some of the most important Asian financial markets are called, what time are they open for trading? Below is a table showing their opening hours in both GMT and local time:

Stock Exchange Trading Hours (GMT) Trading Hours (Local Time)
Japan Exchange Group 00:00 - 06:00 (lunch from 02:30 - 03:30) 09:00 - 15:00 (lunch from 11:30 - 12:30)
Shanghai Stock Exchange 01:30 - 08:00 (lunch from 04:00 - 05:00) 09:30 - 16:00 (lunch from 11:30 - 13:00)
Hong Kong Stock Exchange 01:30 - 08:00 (lunch from 04:00 - 05:00) 09:30 - 16:00 (lunch from 12:00 - 13:00)
Shenzhen Stock Exchange 01:30 - 07:00 (lunch from 03:30 - 05:00) 09:30 - 15:00 (lunch from 11:30 - 13:00)
Bombay Stock Exchange 03:45 - 10:00 (no lunch break) 08:00 - 15:50 (no lunch break)

How to Trade Asia Markets in 4 Steps

You can trade Asia stocks, ETFs, indices and currencies through Admiral's trading platform in just four steps. 

  1. Open an account with Admirals.
  2. Click on Trade on one of your live or demo trading accounts to open the web platform.
  3. Search for your symbol at the top of the search window.
  4. Click Create New Order in the bottom window to open a trading ticket to input your trade size, stop loss and take profit level.
Source: Example of a chart and trading ticket from the Trade.MT5 web trading platform. Illustrative purposes only. Date captured: 31 July 2023.

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FAQs on Asia Markets


What time does the Asia stock market open?

The Japan Stock Exchange opens at 00:00 GMT. The Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges open at 01:30 GMT. The Bombay Stock Exchange opens at 03:45 GMT. 


Which is the largest stock exchange market in Asia?

The largest stock exchange market in Asia is the Shanghai Stock Exchange with a value of 6.9 trillion US dollars. It is the third largest stock exchange in the world after the NYSE and NASDAQ Exchanges.


What are Asia Pacific markets?

Asia Pacific markets, or APAC, encompasses 20 countries covering South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania.


About Admirals

Admirals is a multi-award winning, globally regulated Forex and CFD broker, offering trading on over 8,000 financial instruments via the world's most popular trading platforms: MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5. Start trading today!

This material does not contain and should not be construed as containing investment advice, investment recommendations, an offer of or recommendation for any transactions in financial instruments. Please note that such trading analysis is not a reliable indicator for any current or future performance, as circumstances may change over time. Before making any investment decisions, you should seek advice from independent financial advisors to ensure you understand the risks.


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