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Why Some Of The World’s Greatest Investors Are Excited About Asia – Forbes

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Over the last four weeks I’ve had the great pleasure of personally interviewing more than 40 global investing experts including fund managers, economists, legendary traders, startup founders and early stage investors. The interviews were all part of a virtual summit on investing in Asiawhich is a very eco-friendly way of holding a conference (all online, no carbon footprint).

After hours of conversations with some of the most brilliant investors in the world, several major themes jumped out at me which are very telling of the future potential for what may be the most explosive economic growth the world has seen in an entire generation.

Overcome your home country bias

One of the most popular topics discussed with the investing greats was the concept of home country bias. For nearly the last century, the U.S. has been at the forefront of all investors’ minds and the leading proxy for economic growth and technological innovation globally. From Wall Street as the financial capital of the world to Silicon Valley as the technological epicenter of the globe, investors have always focused on the West to pave the way — until now.

China’s internet is owned by the “Big Three” Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu (Facebook and Twitter are banned in China and Google chose to withdraw due to censorship restrictions). Due to the explosive population and technology growth that China has seen in the last decade, the country has become the largest internet market in the world. Tencent’s WeChat (the equivalent of Facebook, WhatsApp, Tinder, Paypal and Slack all combined) is used by nearly 80% of entire population and more importantly, China has surpassed the West particularly in the area of mobile payments. The majority of the online consumers in China don’t even carry a wallet anymore and transact almost exclusively via mobile payments on their phone. As China’s GDP per capita rises and mobile penetration rates continue to climb, this trend of integration of technology in everyday life will only go one direction.

Bay McLaughlin, one of the summit speakers who co-founded Brinc.io a global IoT accelerator, is living proof of the significance of this trend. McLaughlin was a former Apple executive who was so compelled by the technological advances happening in Asia that he packed up and moved halfway around the world to leaving tons of his Apple stock behind.

“In five years, it will be too late,” explained McLaughlin as he outlined why now is the best time to be investing in Chinese hardware technology.

Don’t miss the forest for the trees

If technology is not your cup of tea, there are still larger trends that every global investor should be aware of. Back in 2013, Chinese leader Xi Jinping announced China’s “project of the century” which is called the One Belt, One Road Initiative (OBOR). The project’s main goal is to increase connectivity between Asia, Europe and Africa and enhance trade and economic development across all 68 countries that are involved. The “belt” and “road” concepts were essentially a recreation of the ancient Silk Road trading routes. The “belt” links countries by land along the old Silk Road through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe while the “road” links countries by sea along the Eastern coast of Africa pushing up through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean. The total spend on infrastructure for the entire project is estimated at upwards of $6 trillion.

Why Some Of The World’s Greatest Investors Are Excited About Asia – Forbes}

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