On the technology front, Asia already ranks as an export powerhouse. More recently, gearheads have started talking about the potential for innovation in emerging markets like China and India. But Michael Oh, the San Francisco-based lead manager of the (MATFX) Matthews Asian Technology Fund , sees things from an investor's standpoint.
"I think the most important story about Asia is Asian consumers," says Korean-born Oh, a former research analyst at Matthews Funds who was promoted to head the seven-year-old, $96 million fund in January.
There's no reason Asian tech firms shouldn't follow in the path of their U.S. counterparts, he says. "One of the key reasons why U.S. tech companies have been so successful for the past fifty years or so is that they have had the world's biggest consumer market as their home market. They could test new technologies that would then become basically the standard for the global market."
The rising middle class in China and India offers similar growth potential for Asian technology outfits, Oh maintains. "We tend to like companies that are domestically oriented and have very broad exposure to domestic consumers. You can find some very interesting companies that have such exposure, especially in the telecom and Internet sectors."It's been a profitable approach so far: Over the past five years, the fund has averaged annual returns of 19.7%.