It wasn't a very good year for Chinese stocks, but don't assume that every stock in the world's most populous nation -- and its Hong Kong neighbor -- tanked last year.

There were plenty of companies that served up decent-size gains for patient investors.

Let's go over 10 stocks that posted gains of 20% or better in 2012.


Dec. 31, 2012


Nam Tai Electronics (NYSE:NTP)



Xinyuan Real Estate 



Qihoo 360 (NYSE:QIHU.DL)



Michael Kors 



Melco Crown (NASDAQ:MLCO)



Yongye International (NASDAQ: YONG)



Longwei Petroleum  



Giant Interactive 



Focus Media  



China Mobile (NYSE:CHL)



Source: Yahoo! Finance.

All 10 of these winners had compelling reasons for their spikes, but let me key in on five that I think will bear watching in 2013.

Nam Tai provides electronics manufacturing and design services. Revenue is soaring, nearly tripling in the company's latest quarter. Patient investors are being rewarded with a juicy 4.3% yield at these levels, even after the stock more than doubled in 2012.

Qihoo 360 is the company that's been giving Baidu fits with its surprisingly popular search engine. It's not just about search with Qihoo 360. If anything, the company is just starting to monetize its search platform. Qihoo's heady revenue growth and beefy profitability these days is coming from its flagship Internet browser and suite of online security tools.

Macau has become the casino hotbed of the world, and Melco Crown is a local favorite, with its flagship gaming resort City of Dreams. Stateside investors may not have very flattering visions of Macau: Headlines cross the wires about casino operators bribing officials, and other hoops being jumped through to gain gaming licenses. However, the buzz and action in Macau is the real deal. Do investors really want to ignore that booming gaming market?

Yongye is a Chinese producer of fertilizer. The stock took off on plans to take the company private at a healthy premium late last year. Even if the deal doesn't go through, it's hard to argue against a leading low-cost producer of something that is fueling the agricultural revolution globally. 

China Mobile is the world's largest wireless carrier. There were 707.3 million customers on China Mobile's rolls as of the end of November. Yes, that's not a typo. Double the entire U.S. population and you're still not where China Mobile is right now. There is more upside here, since China Mobile has gotten this big without the iPhone. 

These stocks may not repeat their market-thumping results in 2013, but as market leaders of 2012, they clearly have the inside track to lead the likely rebound in Chinese equities in the year ahead.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.