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25 Years of Investing in Asia

Since Matthews Asia's founding in 1991, Asia's economic growth has outpaced that of the rest of the world. For a quarter century, we have been actively watching and researching developments in the region, which have given rise to an abundance of investment possibilities and transformed Asia into a global financial engine.

‘16

  • Change creates opportunity, and nowhere has change been as profound as it has been in Asia over the past 25 years. We are pleased to share with you our reflections on a quarter century of investing in Asia, and look forward to the opportunities that will come to define the region's next 25 years

  • Matthews Asia celebrates 25 years of investing in Asia

Matthews Asia Becomes a UNPRI Signatory
Underlining Matthews Asia's commitment to incorporate ESG considerations into the investment process, the firm became a signatory to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment.

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Do You See Volatility or Opportunity?
Robert Horrocks, PhD, CIO, discusses pockets of opportunity during weak moments in the market.

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Do you see volatility or opportunity?

25 Years of Investing in Asia
In our 25 years as Asia investment specialists, what have been the biggest challenges and lessons learned? CIO Robert Horrocks and Matthews Pacific Tiger Portfolio Manager Sharat Shroff share their thoughts.

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Lost in Translation
The imposition of negative rates on Japan’s bank reserves recently caught the market by surprise. Portfolio Manager Teresa Kong explores the possible implications for Japan and the rest of Asia.

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Lost in Translation

  • Asia Credit Opportunities Fund inception

‘15

  • China's RMB is added to the SDR currency basket

  • In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi's Opposition National League for Democracy wins enough seats in parliament to form a government, which is put in place in January 2016; Yangon Stock Exchange commences trading in late March

  • China ends its one-child policy

Asia Weekly: A Vote of Confidence for the RMB
What does the inclusion of China's renminbi to the IMF's Special Drawing Right basket mean for investors?

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Asia Weekly: A Vote of Confidence for the RMB

Sinology: China's One-Child Policy
China is relaxing its famed one-child policy. How will new family planning policies impact the country's demographic and economic trends?

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  • Asia ESG Fund inception
  • Asia Value Fund inception

‘14

  • Shanghai — Hong Kong Stock Connect launches

  • The World Bank declares India the world's third-largest economy in purchasing power parity

  • India elects pro-business Narendra Modi as its 14th Prime Minister

Matthews Asia Awarded QFII License to Invest in China's A-Share Market

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Matthews Asia Obtains GOLD LEED Certification

India Elections: Reality Check
Markets are responding with expected euphoria over the landslide win of India’s new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. But we caution investors to take a more tempered view.

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India Elections: Reality Check

Q&A: Establishment of Mutual Market Access Between China and Hong Kong Stock Markets

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Inaugural Edition of Sinology by Andy Rothman
Sinology explores the most fundamental misunderstanding about the Chinese economy.

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Inaugural Edition of Sinology by Andy Rothman

‘13

  • Development of welfare system and liberalization of the labor movement in China boosts private spending

  • Xi Jinping appointed President of China

Asia Insight: Kicking the Tires
The culture of corporate governance throughout Asia has slowly changed for the better. Portfolio Manager Kenneth Lowe examines improvements made to protect minority shareholders.

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AsiaNow: The Frontier Issue
Asia's historically volatile frontier markets are now poised to share in the growth enjoyed by their more developed neighbors.

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AsiaNow: The Frontier Issue

Asia Insight: Tapping China's Growth via Dividends
Portfolio Manager Yu Zhang explores the ways in which a dividend-investing approach can be an effective investment strategy in China.

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  • Asia Focus Fund inception
  • Emerging Asia Fund inception

‘12

  • South Korea elects Park Geun-hye to be its first female president

  • India experiences the worst electrical blackout in world history, leaving 620 million people without power

  • Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is elected to lead the main opposition party

Matthews Asia Opens London Office March 1, 2012

Matthews opens London office on March 1, 2012

Asia Insight: India — Good Growth, Bad Growth
Portfolio Manager Sunil Asnani compares and contrasts Indian investment ideas in growth areas that performed well.

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Asia Weekly: Postcard from Japan
After a week spent crisscrossing Tokyo to meet with various companies, Portfolio Manager Yu Zhang finds Japan making a rather swift recovery.

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AsiaNow: The Politics Issue
In a year of political transition in Asia and the U.S., investors may wonder what the impact will be.

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‘11

  • Japan devastated by earthquake and tsunami

  • China surpasses Japan to become world’s second largest economy

Asia Insight: Twenty Years of Investing in Asia
Paul Matthews and Mark Headley share their thoughts on 20 years of investing in Asia.

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AsiaNow: The Capital Markets Issue
If Asia is to sustain its growth, emerging companies need capital to finance innovation.

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Asia Insight: China as an Asset Class
China has increasingly commercialized its economy, first by embracing market forces and then by transitioning from a centrally planned economy to one that is driven by changing consumer preferences.

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Asia Insight: China as an Asset Class

Asia Weekly: Japan — In the Face of Tragedy
In March, the largest earthquake on record in Japanese history struck northeastern Japan.

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  • China Small Companies Fund inception
  • Asia Strategic Income Fund inception

‘10

  • Cambodia establishes securities exchange

  • China exceeds U.S. in auto sales

  • Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is released from house arrest

Matthews Asia Expands Global Distribution

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Matthews Asia Opens Hong Kong Office

Matthews Asia opens Hong Kong office

Asia Insight: Evolution of the Asian Bond Market
Portfolio Manager Teresa Kong explores a key development in the history of Asia’s capital markets: the deepening of domestic bond markets.

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Asia Insight: In China's Shoes
China seems to want the full benefits of access and membership to the global system while maintaining unfair advantages.

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‘09

  • Sri Lanka declares end to 26-year civil war with Tamil Tigers

AsiaNow: The Growth Issue

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Asia Weekly: Postcard from Sri Lanka — Winds of Change
Sri Lanka puts an end to a 26-year civil war, and seems poised to enter a new era of peace and economic growth.

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Asia Insight: All Things Great and Small
We see Asia shifting away from economies dominated by government-owned entities and embracing deregulation. Are small companies coping well?

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Asia Insight: All Things Great and Small

  • China Dividend Fund inception

‘08

  • The world ecomomy experiences a global financial crisis

  • China hosts the Summer Olympics

Asia Insight: The Game Plan
While China’s extravagant US$42 billion Olympic budget is telling of its economic strength, it’s also controversial.

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Asia Insight: The Game Plan

Asia Insight: Three Precious Commodities
The U.S. is in crisis—the foundation of credit on which economic activity rested is crumbling. How is it that less than a decade ago U.S. productivity sustained 3% growth?

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Asia Insight: Three Precious Commodities

Asia Weekly: Bailout Impact
The U.S. bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may help with demand for new loans. What might this mean for Asia?

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  • Asia Small Companies Fund inception

‘07

  • Vietnam joins the World Trade Organization

  • A breakthrough new property law in China gives individuals the same legal protection for their property as the state

Asia Weekly: Postcard from Vietnam — The Changing Road to Development
What's it really like to be on the ground in emerging markets?

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Asia Weekly: Postcard from Vietnam — The Changing Road to Development

Asia Insight: Hong Kong's Handover — A Look Back
Over the course of a weekend, the Hong Kong dollar collapsed—losing some 15% of its value.

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Asia Insight: The Evolving Asia Pacific
The two fastest growing economies in the world, China and India combined forces in a way never seen in past bull markets, resulting 2007 as banner year for Asia.

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Asia Weekly: China Passes Property Laws
A breakthrough new property law in China gives individuals the same legal protection for their property as the state.

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‘06

  • Thailand's military claims control after coup

  • China's foreign exchange reserves approach $1 trillion (10% of world total)

Asia Insight: A Stock for its Dividends
Investors once valued shares primarily for their ability to pay consistent and growing dividends. But are dividends now just an afterthought?

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Asia Insight: Coups, Kings and Airports
ASEAN is something of the forgotten entity in Asia these days as investors obsess over China and India.

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Asia Insight: Coups, Kings and Airports

Asia Weekly: Coup D'etat
Thailand's military declares its loyalty to Thailand's monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The national constitution is revoked, and parliament suspended under martial law.

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AsiaNow: The Banking Issue
Banks across Asia are undergoing a profound transformation—cultural as well as operational — in an effort to capitalize on the region's growth.

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  • Asia Dividend Fund inception

‘05

  • Asian consumer spending rises becoming an increasingly important engine of global growth

  • China revalues its currency higher against the dollar and says it will no longer have the RMB tied to a fixed rate against U.S. currency

Asia Insight: A Decade of Consumption in Asia
Can Asia’s households play an even greater role in the future of the region’s economies?

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AsiaNow: The Consumer Issue
A new generation of Chinese now has many more choices than its parent’s did. Increased consumption is a function not only of an increased ability to spend, but also the willingness to do so.

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Asia Insight: Without A Net
The People’s Bank of China announces that China’s currency, the renminbi “will no longer be pegged to the U.S. dollar.”

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Asia Insight: Without A Net

Asia Insight: Japan's Recovery — What Japan Is and Is Not
The world is starting to take notice of Japan’s fourth year of economic recovery.

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  • India Fund inception

‘04

  • A magnitude 9.0 earthquake hits the Indonesian island of Sumatra, triggering a tsunami

Asia Insight: Is Japan For Real This Time?
Japan has been the land of disappointment for investors for a very long time. What to make of its 20-year low.

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AsiaNow: Asia Demystified
It’s time for investors to blow away Asia's cloud of exoticism and look at the numbers beneath.

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A Decade in Asia
Ten years of Asia’s ups and downs may have taught us a few things. But economists still lack a crystal ball.

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A Decade in Asia

‘03

  • China sends its first astronaut into space

  • SARS and bird flu epidemics hit Asia

Asia Insight: What is Asia?
As active, "off-benchmark" investors, we think of Asia in terms of cultures, economies, financial structures, trade lows, domestic spending and capital investment.

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Asia Weekly: SARS: Common Stocks and the Uncommon Cold
SARS, which was traced back to China in 2002, appears to now be contained in Asia, with short-term economic impact to aviation and tourism.

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AsiaNow: The Demographics Issue — Generation Next
Demographic trends are a start to evaluating a country's growth potential. AsiaNow explores these trends as well as those of education, health care and urbanization.

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Asia Weekly: Two Asian Anniversaries

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  • Asia Growth Fund inception

‘02

  • Taiwan joins the World Trade Organization

AsiaNow Inaugural Edition: China Opens a Window—and a Door—of Opportunity

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Asia Insight: Asia: Value Play, Growth Play, Currency Play?
A search for growth should lead many to Asia. Whether the interest comes from value opportunities, growth or just a nice currency pop, Asia, at least, offers hope.

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Asia Insight: Asia: Value Play, Growth Play, Currency Play?

Asia Weekly: Reflections on China
This week the world witnessed a historic moment for China's Communist Party — the successful transition of power to a younger generation.

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‘01

  • On September 11, terrorists coordinate multiple attacks on the U.S., including New York's World Trade Center

  • Foreign direct investment rises in anticipation of China's entry into the World Trade Organization

  • Mainland investors allowed entry into China's market via Shanghai and Shenzhen B shares, previously open only to foreigners; Mainland investors also allowed to trade on Hong Kong exchange

Asia Insight: Why Micro Trumps Macro in Asian Investing
Most international investing has historically been driven from a macro or top-down perspective. So why does Matthews Asia focus on bottom-up investing?

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Asia Insight: Why Micro Trumps Macro in Asian Investing

‘00

  • China is granted permanent normal trade relations status with U.S.

  • The global technology "dot-com" bubble bursts

Asia Insight: The Asia Allocation Question
Why bottom-up growth and diversification are good reasons for investors to consider a direct allocation to the Asia region.

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Asia Insight: The Asia Allocation Question

‘99

  • The growth of global technology cause markets to boom

  • Cambodia becomes the tenth member of ASEAN, finally linking every nation in the region in one movement

Tracking the Tigers: China: 30 + 20 = 50 (The Party Rolls On)
Modern China has just turned 50 years old—an age that can clearly be divided into two eras: 30 years of communism and 20 years of capitalism.

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Tracking the Tigers: Asia Tigers are in a Bull Market
So you think the NASDAQ is hot? Up 46% since September. Over the same period, the MSCI Far East Free ex Japan Index is up 55%.

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Tracking the Tigers: Asia Tigers are in a Bull Market

  • Asia Innovators Fund inception

‘98

  • Nearly every Asian market posts a double-digit gain of 13% to 14%. Malaysia's market gains 23% and Japan declares a recession

  • Indonesian President Suharto resigns after 32 years in power

Author Michael Lewis Joins Mark Headley and Paul Matthews on a Research Trip

Author Michael Lewis joins Mark Headley and Paul Matthews on a research trip

Tracking the Tigers: Who's the Crony Now?
Corruption has contributed to Asia's difficulties. But clearly, a vast discount has been placed on Asian assets, partly due to the perception of corruption.

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Tracking the Tigers: Market Commentary, July 1998
While Japan's yen dominates discussions of Asian markets, the real factor underlying the region is the increasing reality of recession.

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  • China Fund inception
  • Japan Fund inception

‘97

  • The Asian Financial Crisis causes significant market drops throughout the region

  • Revolutionary Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping dies

  • Hong Kong officially joins mainland China

Mark Headley Introduces Matthews Asia's Storied Pool Table as a Welcome Diversion Amid The Market Turmoil

Mark Headley introduces Matthews Asia's storied pool table as a welcome diversion amid the market turmoil

Asia Report: Regional Overview
Floating the Thai baht is exciting as a major cloud has been lifted over Southeast Asian markets.

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Asia Report: 4Q 1997
The political will is in place for the next stage of China's market reforms to commence. Capitalism is integral to China's new socialism.

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Tracking the Tigers: Market Commentary, September 1997
August found Southeast Asia plunging into financial crisis with both markets and currencies hammered.

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‘96

  • Taiwan holds its first direct presidential election

Asia Insight: August 1996
Asia's developing markets have not dazzled the world for over 30 months. But is there really cause for concern? The region continues to adjust to structural issues.

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Asia Insight: August 1996

Portfolio Manager's Report: March 1996
Local investors sought to pre-empt foreign buying ahead of an increase in the foreign limit, and stocks that have long been the favorites of foreigners were particularly sought after.

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‘95

  • Vietnam and U.S. restore diplomatic ties; Vietnam becomes ASEAN member

The First Open Ended Korea Fund Launches in U.S.

The first open ended Korea fund launches in U.S.

Portfolio Manager's Report: December 1995
Investor sentiment has been focused on the potential negative impact that recent political turmoil might have on the real economy in 1996.

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  • Korea Fund inception

‘94

  • Deng Xiaoping's radical shift toward a "socialist market economy" significantly betters the lives of Chinese citizens and propels China to economic prominence on the world stage

Matthews Asia Launches Family of Funds

Signing Ceremony in South Korea to Allow For the First Open-ended Korea Fund

  • Asian Growth and Income Fund inception
  • Pacific Tiger Fund inception

‘93

  • North Korea withdraws from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

  • South Korean President Roh Tae-woo succeeded by Kim Young-sam, a former opponent of the regime and the first civilian president of the country's modern democratic era

  • Leaders of APEC, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, meet for the first time in Seattle and outline APEC's vision

‘92

  • Chris Patten appointed the last governor of Hong Kong, dubbed the "Last Imperialist" because of his role in overseeing the transfer of sovereignty to China and the withdrawal from the British Empire's last outpost

  • At the 1992 ASEAN Summit in Singapore, ASEAN initiated the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), which laid out a comprehensive program of regional tariff reduction

‘91

  • Japan's stock index, the Nikkei 225 falls to 20k

  • Central Asia catapults to independence when five Central Asian republics are forced to become independent nations

  • Japan's "Lost Decade" begins

  • G. Paul Matthews founds Matthews International Capital Management