The value of Chinese funds with a climate focus more than doubled last year, passing the U.S. as the second-largest global market and bolstering Beijing’s push to meet its net-zero targets.

China’s fund assets grew to $47 billion in 2021, in a 149% increase from the previous year sparked by record inflows and outperformance by the domestic clean energy sector, according to data from research firm Morningstar Inc. In the U.S., climate funds rose to $31 billion, while Europe, by far the biggest market, almost doubled to $325 billion.

"In the West, climate protection awareness is probably a main factor driving the growth,” said Morningstar ESG analyst Boya Wang. "In China, it’s largely driven by policy. After the government officially approved carbon neutrality and net-zero targets in 2021, we saw a mushrooming of all these new climate funds.”