At Matthews, we believe in the long-term growth of Asia. Since 1991, we have focused our efforts and expertise within the region, investing through a variety of market environments. As an independent, privately owned firm, Matthews is the largest dedicated Asia-only investment specialist in the United States.
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On a recent trip to Jakarta, I detected a palpable sense of excitement and support for the city’s current governor, Joko Widodo, who is vying for president in the upcoming election—and who has already proven to be a capable leader in many respects. A few days later, in India, I felt a similar vibe among Indian voters who were gearing up for their own impending national elections.
Although we often receive questions on mainland China’s A-share equities, which trade on the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges, we currently invest in Chinese equities primarily via Hong Kong-listed companies and also by way of U.S.-listed Chinese firms. China’s domestic A-share market remains largely closed to foreign institutional investors.
I have been spending an increasing amount of time in “frontier” Asian countries, exploring such fascinating locales as Mongolia and Myanmar. But only recently did I make my first trip to Pakistan.
On a recent research trip, I went to Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Melbourne and spoke with Internet companies in industries as diverse as automotives, travel and real estate.
China has begun a long-term transformation of its health care industry. Much of this industry is still fragmented and in the early stages of consolidation.
Australia, which is among the largest polluters per capita in the developed world, is exploring ways to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and has set a target for reducing emissions at 5% below 2000 levels by 2020.
The gyrations in Chinese money markets in the last few weeks have caused much alarm in the financial press. The moves in these markets  are not only inline, but healthy for an economy looking to increase the role of the market in allocating resources.
Following a recent research trip to Korea, I was able to spend some time there with my family. Three consecutive weeks away afforded me the opportunity to observe changes in spending patterns among Korean consumers as well as the improving competitiveness of the country’s service industries.
My last research trip to Asia included eight flights and nearly 50 grueling hours in the air. During this time, I had the opportunity to ponder a question I am frequently asked, “How do you define a frontier market?”
It’s tough to keep your head at times when the financial markets are behaving like they are. It may be especially tough when you are the governor of the central bank of a country with a 4% current account deficit and 6% inflation.
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