While the US economy has been looking weak, the Chinese economy is growing like a weed. The People’s Bank of China issued its new 2007 forecast, saying it expects the country’s GDP to expand 9.8 percent for the year.
Although 9.8 percent is slightly less than the 10 percent-plus growth China has been enjoying, that kind of rise is still pretty impressive with the Chinese government consistently underestimating its country’s growth by a wide margin.
There are never any guarantees in the investment business, but there is no question that China is brimming with opportunities.
Five Basic Ways to Invest in China
A lot of investors recognize that Asia is where the growth is these days. But for some reason, they never put any money to work in foreign markets. Here are several ways to remedy this.
Exchange-traded funds: (ETFs) give a diversified stake in a particular sector, index or country. These investments have soared in popularity, and there are several that can give you direct exposure to China and its high growth neighbors.
Mutual Funds: traditional, actively-managed mutual funds with a Chinese bias are available via large fund management groups such as Fidelity, Franklyn Templeton, HSBC to name a few.
Chinese companies on US exchanges: There are some 78 Chinese companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In fact, some of the largest and most profitable companies in all of China can be found on the US stock exchange; for example, China Mobile (NYSE: CHL), China National Offshore Oil Company (NYSE: CEO), and Guangshen Railways (NYSE: GSH).
Chinese companies on foreign exchanges: If you’ve never bought a stock on a foreign stock exchange, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is. All you need is a broker with an international trading desk and the ticker symbol of the stock. A lot of really attractive Chinese companies are listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, but some can also be found on the exchanges in Singapore, London, Shenzhen, and Shanghai.
US companies doing business in China. U.S. companies have been doing business in overseas markets for a long time. But these days, some American firms are getting the bulk of their revenues from outside the U.S. For example, both Yum Brands (runs Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC; NYSE: YUM) and Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) receive more than half their sales from outside the US. Selecting certain US companies can give you very significant exposure to China.
Which of these investments is right for you? The answer depends on a lot of things: How aggressive you are in terms of risk profile, how long you want to invest, whether you wish to invest directly or through one of the other methods mentioned above plus of course, how focused you want to be in China.
All of these Chinese investments stand to do well in 2007. So make it your New Year’s resolution to add a bit of China to your portfolio this year.