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Matthews Korea Fund
MAKOX

Snapshot
  • Unconstrained all cap strategy focused on secular growth opportunities in Korea
  • Fundamental bottom-up approach seeks companies with sustainable business models, strong governance and improving competitive advantages against global peers
  • Highly-differentiated portfolio offers exposure to new economy growth drivers overlooked by index

01/03/1995

Inception Date

1.31%

YTD Return

(as of 03/21/2023)

$3.87

NAV

(as of 03/21/2023)

0.00

1 Day NAV Change

(as of 03/21/2023)

Objective

Long-term capital appreciation

Strategy

Under normal circumstances, the Matthews Korea Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing at least 80% of its net assets, which include borrowings for investment purposes, in the common and preferred stocks of companies located in South Korea. The Fund seeks to invest in companies capable of sustainable growth based on the fundamental characteristics of those companies, including balance sheet information; number of employees; size and stability of cash flow; management’s depth, adaptability and integrity; product lines; marketing strategies; corporate governance; and financial health.

Risks

Investments in Asian securities may involve risks such as social and political instability, market illiquidity, exchange-rate fluctuations, a high level of volatility and limited regulation. Investing in emerging markets involves different and greater risks, as these countries are substantially smaller, less liquid and more volatile than securities markets in more developed markets. In addition, investments in a single-country fund, which is considered a non-diversified fund, may be subject to a higher degree of market risk than diversified funds because of concentration in a specific country.

These and other risks associated with investing in the Fund can be found in the prospectus.

Fund Facts
Inception Date 01/03/1995
Fund Assets $73.83 million (02/28/2023)
Currency USD
Ticker MAKOX
Cusip 577-130-305
Portfolio Turnover 56.9%
Benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index
Geographic Focus South Korea
Fees & Expenses
Gross Expense Ratio 1.13%

Performance

  • Monthly
  • Quarterly
  • Calendar Year
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As of 02/28/2023
Average Annual Total Returns
Name 1MO 3MO YTD 1YR 3YR 5YR 10YR Since Inception Inception Date
Matthews Korea Fund - MAKOX
01/03/1995
MAKOX
-7.66% -3.25% 1.05% -18.80% 5.90% -2.25% 3.86% 5.18%
Korea Composite Stock Price Index
-6.93% -0.97% 3.37% -16.69% 5.73% -1.92% 1.67% 2.88%
As of 12/31/2022
Average Annual Total Returns
Name 1MO 3MO YTD 1YR 3YR 5YR 10YR Since Inception Inception Date
Matthews Korea Fund - MAKOX
01/03/1995
MAKOX
-4.25% 18.42% -25.42% -25.42% 1.52% -3.31% 3.65% 5.17%
Korea Composite Stock Price Index
-5.52% 18.12% -28.64% -28.64% -0.72% -3.36% 1.16% 2.73%
For the years ended December 31st
Name 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Matthews Korea Fund - MAKOX
MAKOX
-25.42% -0.33% 40.77% 3.80% -22.21% 43.70% -6.32% 15.16% -0.73% 10.11%
Korea Composite Stock Price Index
-28.64% -4.79% 39.76% 4.46% -20.07% 37.71% 0.98% -4.61% -8.30% 2.90%

KOSPI performance data may be readjusted periodically by the Korea Exchange due to certain factors, including the declaration of dividends.

Source: BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc. All performance is in US$.

Assumes reinvestment of all dividends and/or distributions before taxes. All performance quoted represents past performance and is no guarantee of future results. Investment return and principal value will fluctuate with market conditions so that when redeemed, shares may be worth more or less than their original cost. Current performance may be lower or higher than the return figures quoted. Returns would have been lower if certain of the Fund’s fees and expenses had not been waived. Performance differences between the Institutional class and the Investor class may arise due to differences in fees charged to each class.

Additional performance, attribution, liquidity, value at risk (VaR), security classification and holdings information is available on request for certain time periods.

Due to current market volatility associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, funds may experience significant negative short-term performance.

Growth of a Hypothetical $10,000 Investment Since Inception

(as of 12/31/2022)

Source: BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc. All performance is in US$.

The performance data and graph do not reflect the deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on dividends, capital gain distributions or redemption of fund shares.

Ratings

  • 1 YEAR
  • 4th
  • 28 out of 32 funds
  • 3 YEAR
  • 1st
  • 8 out of 31 funds
  • 5 YEAR
  • 4th
  • 26 out of 29 funds
  • 10 YEAR
  • 3rd
  • 10 out of 18 funds
  • SINCE INCEPTION
  • 4th
  • 5 out of 5 funds

Ratings agency calculation methodology

Portfolio Managers

Michael J. Oh, CFA photo
Michael J. Oh, CFA

Lead Manager

Elli  Lee photo
Elli Lee

Lead Manager

Sojung  Park photo
Sojung Park

Co-Manager

Portfolio Characteristics

(as of 12/31/2022)
Fund Benchmark
Number of Positions 34 820
Weighted Average Market Cap $79.9 billion $71.2 billion
Active Share 68.0 n.a.
P/E using FY1 estimates 9.8x n.a.
P/E using FY2 estimates 11.1x n.a.
Price/Cash Flow 5.2 3.7
Price/Book 1.2 0.9
Return On Equity 15.1 11.1
EPS Growth (3 Yr) 17.1% 18.2%

Sources: Factset Research Systems, Inc.

Risk Metrics (3 Yr Return)

(as of 12/31/2022)
1.84%
Alpha
0.88
Beta
93.89%
Upside Capture
93.34%
Downside Capture
0.03
Sharpe Ratio
0.33
Information Ratio
6.88%
Tracking Error
94.61

Fund Risk Metrics are reflective of Investor share class.

Sources: Zephyr StyleADVISOR

Top 10 Holdings

(as of 02/28/2023)
Name Sector % Net Assets
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Pfd. Information Technology 17.2
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Information Technology 7.2
SK Hynix, Inc. Information Technology 5.9
Samsung SDI Co., Ltd. Information Technology 3.9
Yuhan Corp. Health Care 3.8
S-Oil Corp. Energy 3.4
BGF Retail Co., Ltd. Consumer Staples 3.4
KoMiCo., Ltd. Information Technology 3.3
DongKook Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Health Care 3.2
LEENO Industrial, Inc. Information Technology 3.1
TOTAL 54.4

Top 10 holdings may combine more than one security from the same issuer and related depositary receipts.

Source: BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc.

Portfolio Breakdown (%)

(as of 12/31/2022)
  • Sector Allocation
  • Market Cap Exposure
Sector Fund Benchmark Difference
Information Technology 43.6 28.8 14.8
Consumer Discretionary 10.1 9.6 0.5
Health Care 9.7 7.6 2.1
Consumer Staples 9.0 4.9 4.1
Communication Services 7.7 6.7 1.0
Industrials 6.4 18.8 -12.4
Materials 4.4 10.3 -5.9
Energy 3.7 1.8 1.9
Financials 3.5 9.6 -6.1
Utilities 0.0 1.4 -1.4
Real Estate 0.0 0.5 -0.5
Cash and Other Assets, Less Liabilities 1.9 0.0 1.9

Sector data based on MSCI’s revised Global Industry Classification Standards. For more details, visit www.msci.com.

Equity market cap of issuer Fund Benchmark Difference
Mega Cap (over $25B) 41.0 38.7 2.3
Large Cap ($10B-$25B) 10.5 16.8 -6.3
Mid Cap ($3B-$10B) 22.6 22.4 0.2
Small Cap (under $3B) 24.1 22.2 1.9
Cash and Other Assets, Less Liabilities 1.9 0.0 1.9

Source: FactSet Research Systems.

Percentage values in data are rounded to the nearest tenth of one percent, so the values may not sum to 100% due to rounding. Percentage values may be derived from different data sources and may not be consistent with other Fund literature.

Distributions

Record Date Ex, Pay and
Reinvest Date
Ordinary
Income
Short Term
Capital Gains
Long Term
Capital Gains
Total Distributions
Per Share
% of NAV Nondividend Distribution (Return of Capital)
12/13/2022 12/14/2022 $0.00000 $0.00000 $0.43797 $0.43797 10.3% N.A.
View History

 

There is no guarantee that the Fund will pay or continue to pay distributions. 

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investment return and principal value will fluctuate with changing market conditions so that shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.

Commentary

Period ended December 31, 2022

For the year ending December 31, 2022, the Matthews Korea Fund returned -25.42% (Investor Class) and -25.39% (Institutional Class), while its benchmark, the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), returned -28.64% over the same period. For the fourth quarter, the Fund returned 18.42% (Investor Class) and 18.19% (Institutional Class), while the benchmark returned 18.12%.

Market Environment:

2022 was a volatile year for markets, with a healthy dose of uncertainty from quarter to quarter, tied partly to the unevenness with which countries reopened their economies. Though some reopened in early 2022, the notable exception was China which finally began reopening late last quarter. Though Korea was open much earlier in the year, its heavy economic reliance on exports posed a headwind throughout 2022 and weighed on sectors and individual stocks.

The prevailing uncertainty also resulted in an uneven year from a style-leadership perspective, with some quarters value-led and others (notably, the fourth quarter) growth and turnaround story-led.

From a headlines standpoint, inflation and monetary policy were among 2022’s dominant stories. Korea’s central bank largely followed the U.S. Federal Reserve, by increasing rates throughout the year. Banks in Korea were key beneficiaries of this approach and performed well, bolstered by low valuations. On the inflation front, we finally saw some companies able to increase prices—including auto parts and food and beverages companies. From here, the question will be the demand outlook.

Performance Contributors and Detractors:

At the sector level, our stock selection in financials and consumer discretionary were the largest contributors to relative performance for the year. Among individual stocks, Shinhan Financial and Coupang were the biggest contributors to relative performance. In the first half of 2022, the Fund was overweight banks given the inflationary environment and the likelihood that Korea would follow the U.S. from a monetary perspective. Coupang—which can be thought of as the Amazon of Korea—was able to accelerate its market-share gains during COVID. We believe the company will be able to increase ad revenues while maintaining its discipline on promotions costs, ultimately turning free cash-flow positive and strengthening dominancy in e-commerce industry.

Conversely, the Fund’s underweight to the materials sector detracted from relative results, though our individual holdings outperformed benchmark peers. We have maintained our below-benchmark exposure to materials as we have tended to find valuations—particularly among companies involved in the battery value chain in Korea—to be high, alongside high market expectations, making it challenging for us to increase our exposure and weighing on relative results. Given these high valuations, we have preferred to maintain exposure specifically through battery-cell makers, which tend to have more proven track records.

At the individual holdings level, Samsung Electronics preferred shares and SK Hynix were among the biggest detractors to relative performance. Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix faced headwinds amid high semiconductor inventory levels and weak demand. Looking forward, we find Samsung’s valuation and balance sheet attractive and believe expectations have largely been reset heading into 2023.

Notable Portfolio Changes:

We capitalized on the market’s rebound last quarter to make some portfolio adjustments—including introducing new positions in Orion and Hyundai Mobis while exiting our positions in Shinhan Financial Group and SK Innovation.

Orion is a leading confectionary company in the region. Its presence in Korea represents less than 35% of its business while China, Vietnam and Russa make up the balance. Orion has continued to build strong brand equities in each country by introducing new products and managing distribution channels efficiently.

Hyundai Mobis manufactures and sells automotive parts globally. The Fund has been overweight to Korean autos, which we believe are doing well—however, we have lowered our weights in original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in favor of companies like Hyundai Mobis, which are parts suppliers to innovative areas of the auto business, including autonomous vehicles. With the shares at an attractive valuation and the company paying a dividend, we chose to purchase the stock in the fourth quarter.

Conversely, we exited our position in Shinhan Financial as the valuation recovered. SK Innovation is one of the few battery-cell makers for electronic vehicles globally and certainly has room to take market share. However, we felt its capabilities relative to its competitors were inferior and that we have more attractive options to own some of its peers. We consequently chose to exit our position.

Outlook:

We expect uncertainty in the markets to persist into 2023. Given Korea’s overall reliance on exports, we are attentive to the global demand outlook. We simultaneously remain intently focused on bottom-up, fundamental analysis, with attention on whether companies are staying innovative and taking share relative to their competitors.

From a research perspective, we are focused on finding new companies that can benefit from global innovation—the next generation of what are currently smaller-cap names that could potentially be mid cap (and maybe beyond).

Top 10 holdings as of December 31, 2022. Current and future holdings are subject to change and risk.

 

Average Annual Total Returns - MAKOX as of 12/31/2022
1YR 3YR 5YR 10YR Since Inception Inception Date
-25.42% 1.52% -3.31% 3.65% 5.17% 01/03/1995

All performance quoted is past performance and is no guarantee of future results. Investment return and principal value will fluctuate with changing market conditions so that shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Current performance may be lower or higher than the return figures quoted. Returns would have been lower if certain of the Fund's fees and expenses had not been waived. Please see the Fund's most recent month-end performance.

Fees & Expenses
Gross Expense Ratio 1.13%

Investments in Asian securities may involve risks such as social and political instability, market illiquidity, exchange-rate fluctuations, a high level of volatility and limited regulation. Investing in emerging markets involves different and greater risks, as these countries are substantially smaller, less liquid and more volatile than securities markets in more developed markets. In addition, investments in a single-country fund, which is considered a non-diversified fund, may be subject to a higher degree of market risk than diversified funds because of concentration in a specific country.

 

Visit our Glossary of Terms page for definitions and additional information.

Index Definitions

The information contained herein has been derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of compilation, but no representation or warranty (express or implied) is made as to the accuracy or completeness of any of this information. Neither the funds nor the Investment Advisor accept any liability for losses either direct or consequential caused by the use of this information.

The views and opinions in the commentary were as of the report date, subject to change and may not reflect current views. They are not guarantees of performance or investment results and should not be taken as investment advice. Investment decisions reflect a variety of factors, and the managers reserve the right to change their views about individual stocks, sectors, and the markets at any time. As a result, the views expressed should not be relied upon as a forecast of the Fund's future investment intent. It should not be assumed that any investment will be profitable or will equal the performance of any securities or any sectors mentioned herein. The information does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any securities mentioned.