The rise of Asian tech

Information Technology has been one of the top performing global sectors in recent years – as compa-nies continue to cash in on major advances in themes such as mobili-ty, big data and automation. Last month, the tech-heavy Nasdaq index finally surpassed its previous record set in March 2000 during the dot com boom – no doubt propelled by today’s tech titans such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook.

Anh Lu T. Rowe Price

But while most of the major news flow is centred on these US-based global giants, fund managers are identifying an increasing number of compelling opportunities in emerg-ing markets, particularly Asia. Jorry Rask Nøddekær, manager of the Nordea Emerging Stars Equity Fund, has 31% of his portfolio in IT.

“Our exposure is clustered in three areas,” Nøddekær says. “The first is what we call the ‘any factor’ – any-where, anytime, any device. It is often called the ‘internet of things’. “We are also bullish on the semi-conductors – in companies such as TSMC, eMemory and MediaTek. Then there is automation in high manufacturing. Chroma ATE is an amazing company, working in many areas such as the Tesla and BMW electric cars.” T. Rowe Price Asian ex Japan Equity Fund manager Anh Lu is looking to tap into continued growth in the online economy – in companies like Chinese discount retailer Vipshop.

Lu says: “Vipshop already generates most of its transactions through mobile devices, and still has a huge runway for growth.” “The focus is on user growth, and out of 350 million plus online shop-pers in China, Vipshop still has just 24 million active users.

Lu also believes some Korean and Taiwanese exporters will benefit from rising global technology spend, for example TSMC. Gary Greenberg, head of Hermes Emerging Markets, is also bullish on a number of areas in Asian tech – including Chinese social network and online game company Tencent. “Tencent’s social media platform Weixin/WeChat has become nearly ubiquitous in China and has trans-formed itself into a vibrant ecosys-tem – generating mobile revenues from gaming, e-commerce and advertising,” Greenberg adds. “Tencent is now beginning to mon-etise mobile as the transition from the PC intensifies.”

Greenberg is also exposed to Indi-an software services – through Tech Mahindra and HCL Technologies.