Let's simplify this debate. Japan is hardly immune to valuation problems. (Sony (NYSE: SNE ) at 41 times earnings? Anyone? Hello?) And the drubbing that supposedly produced bargains in the region hit India far worse. So, please, don't get suckered by cries of "it's overvalued!"
Instead, ask yourself: Over the long haul -- and if you're investing, you'd better be thinking five years or more -- which would you rather invest in: a region that's close to fully valued but where there was a 20% haircut recently, or a region loaded with obscure small caps making money hand over fist, where there was an even bigger haircut?
Remember, there are two sides to the classic valuation equation -- price and earnings. IBM (NYSE: IBM ) didn't just agree to spend $6 billion in South Korea. Motorola (NYSE: MOT ) won't invest $100 million in Japan to expand handset production. But both will spend that moola in India. Affected workers no doubt will spend some of the inevitable windfall on building homes and buying cars while saving what they can. And that, in turn, is likely to create added earnings for local construction companies, auto dealers, and banks. You know, the kinds of firms market-beaters such as India Fund (AMEX: IFN ) , Fidelity Southeast Asia (FUND: FSEAX ) , and Matthews Asian Growth & Income (FUND: MACSX ) are investing in now.
Color me crazy, but I'm just not willing to bet all of these proven pros are wrong.
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Developed Asia is facing India and Southeast Asia in this Investing World Cup second-round match. Go back to the intro page to navigate your way to another part of this contest, and then vote for the region that you think should advance to the final round of the tournament!
Fool contributor Tim Beyers has worked with many Indian firms over the years. He's been impressed every time. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what is in his portfolio by checking Tim's Fool profile.
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