A-shares are shares of Chinese companies listed on either the Shanghai or Shenzhen stock exchanges. They are denominated in renminbi and were originally only available to domestic investors. In 2002 foreign entities were able to gain a small amount of access via quotas issued to qualified foreign institutional investors (QFII).
The term A-share is also used to refer to a share class. Companies might issue shares with different voting rights, for example. See A/B/C share.
A-shares in the news
In November 2012 an FT writer compared the fortunes of the A-shares on the Shanghai stock exchange with the H-shares listed in Hong Kong. The Shanghai Composite was reported to be two thirds down from its peak while Chinese shares listed in Hong Kong, known as H-shares or red chips had risen 15 per cent since the end of August.
In March 2013, a commentator thought the widening of the QFII scheme bringing in more foreign participants might help rationalise the A-share market.