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In his first days in office, President Donald J. Trump has made it clear that his tough talk on China was more than just campaign rhetoric.
He continues to criticize the world's second-largest economy for what he says are unfair trade practices. Not only that, but he's also suggested slapping up to 45% tariffs on Chinese imports.
Along the way, he has lambasted U.S. tech firms that outsource production to China and then sell those goods here at home.
And then there's the South China Sea. During his confirmation hearing, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said China should be blocked from the artificial islands it's built in this crucial shipping route.
With all this saber-rattling, now would seem to be the worst possible time to invest in anything related to China.
I don't know about you, but that kind of thinking – that kind of pessimism – just makes me dig deeper… to do more research. Because I know there's always a place to make money in any market.
You just have to find it.
And my excavations have uncovered a sizzling Chinese tech sector that lies well beyond the reach of the leader of the free world.
Today we're going to investigate a unique vehicle that allows us to tap into firms that are growing as much as 40% a year.
And that will boost your initial investment by similar amounts.
Let's dig in…
The World's Largest – and Pulling Away…
Let's get one thing cleared up right off the bat. Despite the president's bellicose language, at this point the odds he will start a trade war with China seem remote at best.
Fact is, China is our second-largest trading partner after Canada. Trump is nothing if not a businessman, and a trade war is just plain bad for U.S. firms across the board.
And then there's the question of our debt. China holds more than $1.25 trillion in U.S. Treasuries, making it one of our top creditors.
Besides, even if the president were to hit China with tariffs on imports to the United States, there's one burgeoning field where Trump can have exactly zero impact.
It's one of the hottest trends in a nation with 1.3 billion people. It covers everything from smartphones and mobile games to advertising and buying and selling cars, not to mention email, web search, and online news.
I'm talking about China's red-hot e-commerce sector.
China's e-commerce sector surpassed our own back in 2013 to become the world's largest. It now accounts for around $750 billion in yearly sales, according to McKinsey & Co. That's nearly twice as large as the U.S. e-commerce market.
Fully one-seventh of all Chinese retail sales now take place online – and that figure is set to move far higher.
That's because e-commerce in China is now fanning out to all corners of the economy: Consumers in second-tier cities are just now embracing this frictionless way of shopping. Plus, just as we're seeing here with Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), a broadening number of categories are now being bought online.
E-commerce growth pivots off of China's fast-growing middle class, which now accounts for 19% of the population, according to Goldman Sachs. That figure has been rising by more than a percentage point each year – and should keep growing at that rate for years to come.
The rapid growth in smartphone use is another key factor. There are now nearly 400 million of these e-commerce-enabling devices in China, a figure that's rising at a double-digit pace. And mobile-based spending – that is, purchases made via a smartphone or tablet instead of a PC or laptop – now accounts for 50% of all Chinese e-commerce, says eMarketer.
That compares to just 22% here in the United States.
This growth in e-commerce is coming as China's middle class continues to rise and the nation shifts away from its focus on exports and places a greater emphasis on domestic spending.
A Focused Fund
The clear play on this huge and growing "Trump proof" sector is the Emerging Markets Internet & Ecommerce ETF (NYSE: EMQQ).
Let's start with its second-largest holding – Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) – which channels more than 75% of China's e-commerce through its various portals. Alibaba, which makes up 7.7% of EMQQ's net assets, has 650,000 companies registered on its website, including both major global chains like Macy's and Costco and 10 million registered Chinese small businesses.
And Alibaba founder Jack Ma is working hard to shore up U.S. ties. He recently met with President Trump and has pledged to create 1 million U.S. jobs, which also makes EMQQ a backdoor play on U.S. growth.
Netease Inc. (Nasdaq: NTES), another EMQQ top holding, provides all of the tech needed to build and host a thriving e-commerce portal. The firm, which makes up 5.9% of the fund, also helps clients build mobile gaming platforms and ad services, and it hosts many popular email sites.
Netease grew at a 45% yearly clip in the three years ended 2015 and will discuss its 2016 results and forward growth plans in mid-February.
You'll also find Baidu Inc. (Nasdaq: BIDU) in EMQQ, where it holds a weight of 6.4%. It's known as the "Google of China." The firm's highly profitable search engine, which accounts for 90% of China's online search advertising market, is often the first page to be launched when Chinese folks go online.
Like Netease, Baidu has also been growing at a 45% average clip in recent years, and should keep growing at a fast rate as more Chinese consumers move into the middle class and spend more time online.
This fund isn't just about China. E-commerce sales topped $1 trillion across Asia in 2016 and should more than double from that level by 2020, according to eMarketer.
And so, EMQQ also provides exposure to other fast-growing regions. Naspers Ltd. (OTCMKTS ADR: NPSNY), for example, is the ETF's third-largest holding, with a 7.4% weight. This firm provides a wide range of e-commerce-related services and platforms from its base in South Africa to more than 130 countries. Naspers is now the largest company in Africa, and the seventh-largest Internet firm in the world.
Plus it owns 34% of EMQQ's largest holding, Chinese Internet operator Tencent Holdings Ltd. (OTCMKTS: TCEHY), which composes 8.1% of the ETF's assets.
Ignoring the Noise Since 2014
Launched in 2014, EMQQ has gained 22.3% over the past year – despite the slowdowns in China and Russia and all the bad press emerging markets have been receiving.
Just like we do, EMQQ fund manager Kevin Carter follows Rule No. 2 of Your Tech Wealth Blueprint. He "separates the signals from the noise." We ignore the hype and hoopla – and focus instead on the signals that potential winners send out… before they begin their explosive surges.
These five rules are the strategies we use to tap into the industry's most exciting and fastest-moving opportunities so we can safely capture wealth – and have a better life now and in retirement.
I typically tell investors not to buy ETFs with an expense ratio of more than 0.6%. However, despite this fund's 0.86% expense ratio, in this case it's worth it. That's because EMQQ is run by a strong fund manager named Kevin Carter.
Carter has shared his insights with me from time to time and is committed to targeting the top e-commerce trends in the best emerging markets.
He's clearly bullish on the road ahead. Carter has cited a study by McKinsey & Co. that says by the year 2025, annual consumption in emerging markets will reach $30 trillion. To him, he tells me, that represents "the biggest growth opportunity in the history of capitalism."
Let's be clear. This isn't the kind of fund you trade in and out of. You want to own it for the long haul. I think the best way to gain exposure is to build a position over time – and add to your position when the fund's price dips.
EMQQ trades at around $25, and the fund manages $26 million in assets. If it rises at just one-third of the 45% growth rate of the above-noted key holdings, that would still give us 15% gains – per year.
This fund is a great hybrid investment. It's clearly focused on big growth, but the fund manager has his eye on the long haul, meaning this is also a great foundational play.
- Strategic Tech Investor: When It Comes to ETFs, Keep Your Eye on These Three Metrics
- Strategic Tech Investor: Your Tech Wealth Blueprint
The post Trump's Chinese Policy Can't Touch This 40%-per-Year Sector appeared first on Strategic Tech Investor.
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is one of the top financial analysts working today. His book "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" was a prescient look at the anatomy of the nation's S&L crisis, long before the word "bailout" became part of our daily lexicon. He's a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter, lauded by the Columbia Journalism Review for his aggressive style. His 30-year track record as a leading tech analyst has garnered him rave reviews, too. Today he is the editor of the monthly tech investing newsletter Nova-X Report as well as Radical Technology Profits, where he covers truly radical technologies – ones that have the power to sweep across the globe and change the very fabric of our lives – and profit opportunities they give rise to. He also explores "what's next" in the tech investing world at Strategic Tech Investor.