The Four Largest Emerging Markets

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There are many emerging markets around the world, but the four largest are known as the "BRICs" (an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, and China). Many investors believe that these markets are relatively stable and may eventually replace the G7 as the world's next superpowers. That makes them essential for any international investor's portfolio.

Key Takeaways

  • Four of the largest emerging markets in the world are Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC).
  • Some investors believe that the BRIC countries will replace the G7 countries as the world's next superpowers, making them important for any global investor's portfolio.
  • Before investing in BRIC countries, people should learn about them and the nuances of investing in them.


Before investing in the BRICs, investors should first familiarize themselves with emerging markets. With a little basic research, international investors can build a solid understanding of emerging markets and some of the ways to gain exposure to their economies.

  • Definition: The term "emerging markets" is thrown around a lot in the world of international investing, but it's difficult to pinpoint an exact definition. Instead, it is better to learn about the key characteristics of emerging markets, how to identify the most promising emerging markets, and the best way to build them into an international stock portfolio using ETFs and mutual funds.
  • How to invest: There are many ways to invest in foreign markets, and each method has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Educate yourself on the different options available and how to choose the best option for your investment portfolio.
  • Diversifying your portfolio: There are some benefits of investing in the BRICs using mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Unlike purchasing individual stocks and bonds, these securities are far easier to manage and offer greater diversification. Weigh the benefits and risks of investing in emerging market economies like the BRICs when including them in any portfolio.

The BRIC economies may all be promising emerging markets, but they differ greatly from each other in many key ways. International investors should familiarize themselves with each of these markets and the best ways to gain exposure to them, and ultimately make an informed investment decision.


Brazil has experienced nothing short of an economic miracle over the past decade. In fact, the country is now the second-largest producer of iron ore in the world and produces more ethanol than Asia and Europe combined!


Russia is commonly thought of as a Siberian desert, but it's one of the hottest investment destinations in the world. As a leading exporter of oil and natural gas to Europe, the country has benefited from the secular growth in commodities and continues to expand.


China is often cited as Asia's most promising economy, but India shouldn't be ignored. With its promising "demographic dividend" and significant farm output, investors should definitely consider adding it to their portfolios.


China is expected to surpass the United States over the coming years, which makes it extremely important for any international portfolio. But given the country's government and controversies, it's important for investors to recognize some key risks. Discover how to quantify them and invest properly in this still rapidly growing emerging market economy.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The Observatory of Economic Complexity. "Iron Ore." Accessed Oct. 25, 2021.

  2. Department of Energy. "Global Ethanol Production by Country or Region." Accessed Oct. 25, 2021.

  3. European Commission. "Form Where Do We Import Energy?" Accessed Oct. 25, 2021.

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