NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When U.S. investors are looking for the sort of growth opportunities that can be hard to find in a developed economy, many look to businesses launched in the digital world of the Internet. They may also look overseas to emerging markets.
Why not do both at once?
The Emerging Markets Internet and E-Commerce ETF (EMQQ) helps investors get more exposure to the growth of online consumption in the developing world, explained Kevin Carter, chairman of the EMQQ Index.
Carter said other emerging market ETFs focus too heavily on state-owned companies, including massive banks and oil companies, while excluding most of Internet and e-commerce companies that are actually supplying much of the economic growth. Emerging markets comprise 50% of global GDP and 80% of the world's population, but make up just 2.5% of the average U.S. investor's portfolio, Carter said.
Unlike the larger emerging market ETFs, EMQQ includes major e-commerce companies like 58.com (WUBA). "58.com is generally considered to be the 'Craigslist of China,' " says Carter. "It's a high-margin business and that's hard to replicate anywhere."
The EMQQ also holds shares of Mercadolibre (MELI), whichCarter called the Amazon, eBay and PayPal of Latin America. And it's 20% owned by eBay (EBAY) , so investors "get better corporate governance" in a region where it is often lacking.
Carter also includes Naspers (NPSNY) in his fund. Naspers is a 100-year-old South African newspaper company which about 12 years ago began investing its profits in e-commerce companies around the world. One of Naspers' largest investments is in Tencent Holdings, (TCEHY) one of the Big Three Chinese e-commerce companies along with Alibaba (BABA) and Baidu (BIDU).
Naspers was also an early investor in Flipkart, described as the Alibaba of India.
"Flipkart just raised another round of U.S. venture capital at a $15 billion valuation, up from $10 billion in the fourth quarter, when Mark Zuckerberg and Tiger Global invested in the company," says Carter. Flipkart is a big deal, and a year from now everybody will know about that company, he says.
Of the 42 stocks in EMQQ, 31 are U.S. venture capital-backed and 31 trade on the NYSE or NASDAQ exchanges. While state-owned enterprises make up about 30% of the two largest emerging markets ETFs currently on the market, there are no state-owned enterprises in EMQQ.