Most of the professional foreign investors do not limited their investment into a single basket, meaning they put their eggs into lots of baskets – diversification is the name of the game. They realized long ago that U.S. financial markets do not give them a safe and guarantee returns not matter how good they are in their analysis. They simply do not know when the bull or bear will rule the markets. Couple that with the uncharted water of currency variation, oversea investments had proved to be rewarding not only during the fluctuation of currency rate but during crisis period such as the existing subprime mortgage problem whereby the investment elsewhere could be pulled in to cover the losses within the U.S. soils.
A platform country has a relatively small but extremely vigorous economy – Singapore’s 250 square miles in size has gross domestic product worth USD141 billion as compare to 3 million square miles Australia with USD675 billion gross domestic product.
Singapore Telecommunications (SIN: SGAPY) on its own might not be attractive but collectively with its empire of associates its’ pretax profit growth is at 16% year-on-year. It owns:
- 21% of Thailand’s Advanced Info Service (17 million subscribers and 52% market share),
- 31% of India’s Bharti Group (42 million subscribers and 29% market share),
- 45% of the Philippines’ Globe Telecom (14 million subscribers and 37% market share),
- 100% of Australia’s Optus (7 million subscribers and 33% market share),
- 45% of Bangladesh’s Pacific Bangladesh Telecom (1 million subscribers and 5% market share) and
- 35% of Indonesia’s Telkomsel (29 million subscribers and 55% market share)
Singapore’s banks are perhaps the most promising of all with the name like DBS Group (SIN: D05) and United Overseas Bank (SIN: U11). UOB’s banking subsidiaries include United Overseas Bank (Malaysia), United Overseas Bank (Thai), PT Bank UOB Indonesia, PT Bank UOB Buana and United Overseas Bank Philippines. DBS has reach out into Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, USA and India.
In addition real-estate conglomerates such as CapitaLand Limited (SIN: C31) spans more than 90 cities in over 20 countries and has residential projects in Singapore, China, Thailand and Australia with commercial developments in Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Bahrain and London. On July 30, CapitaLand announced the formation of two retail-property funds, CapitaRetail China Development Fund II and CapitaRetail India Development Fund, with a combined size of $1.2 billion. The new funds will bring CapitaLand close to its target of $18 billion in assets under management by the end of 2007.
If you intend to get exposure into the entire great platform companies mentioned, you can leverage on the ETF (exchange traded fund) which has the combination of all the champions. You can buy iShares MSCI Singapore Index Fund (NYSE: EWS).