On the back of a 110% gain in 2006, China's Shanghai Exchange has risen another 192% (in dollar terms) this year! Similarly, India's Bombay Exchange has had a nice run this year -- it's up 62%.

Investors the world over have wondered whether this type of outsized growth is sustainable. Nowhere, perhaps, is the debate livelier than on Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's investing community, where more than 70,000 investors rate their favorite -- and least favorite -- stocks.

Despite the red-hot growth on the other side of the Pacific, only one Asian company ranked among the top 50 stocks that CAPS investors rated this month. Back in December, Aluminum Corp. of China held the No. 1 spot; it's since surged 213%. Aluminum Corp. now has a four-star CAPS rating, after a few brave bears reared their heads and helped to drop the stock a bit in the overall rankings.

Moving westward?
While Asian stocks are still generally favored among CAPS investors, stocks from other regions, including Europe and South America, have become more common in the top 50. Investor sentiment may be shifting westward for now, but the growth potential in Asia is still too great to ignore.

Without further ado, here are the top five Asian stocks, according to CAPS.

Company

Country

iShares MSCI Singapore Index Fund

Singapore

Siliconware Precision Industries (NASDAQ:SPIL)

Taiwan

Silicon Motion Technology (NASDAQ:SIMO)

Taiwan

BLDRS Asia 50 ADR Index (NASDAQ:ADRA)

Asia - General

POSCO (NYSE:PKX)

South Korea

Please bear in mind that these are not formal recommendations, but rather jumping-off points for further research.

A scattershot approach to Asia?
For the first time, two of the top five Asian stocks are not stocks at all -- they're ETFs. The high ratings for the diversified portfolios of both the iShares MSCI Singapore Index (discussed here) and BLDRS Asia 50 ADR Index may be cluing us into a trend: Are investors more comfortable spreading their bets when it comes to the high-growth Asian markets?

Last February, my colleague Tim Hanson aptly warned investors against making sector calls rather than hand-selecting the top companies in the market. But after such scorching growth in the Asian markets over the past few years, investors may be growing more concerned about paying too much for any one company. Instead, they may prefer to bet on the regional trends.

The BLDRS ETF, which has top holdings in giants like Toyota (NYSE:TM), BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP), and China Mobile (NYSE:CHL), has generated 22% annualized returns since September 2004, but has actually lagged the MSCI EAFE index over the period. So what makes it a good pick right now?

Over on CAPS, 50 of the 51 players who have rated the BLDRS ETF think it will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. Only a few players have given their reasoning for their pick, but general sentiment revolves around the Asian market's outsized growth potential relative to the U.S. market.

What do you think? Are investors better off betting on the general Asian sector, or hand-picking only its finest stocks? To make your voice heard, register for CAPS. It's 100% free, and don't let the lofty positions of the top players intimidate you. There's room for everyone.

Fool contributor Todd Wenning is ranked 1,030 out of more than 72,000 CAPS investors. He does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. POSCO is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick, and China Mobile is a former recommendation of Global Gains. The Fool's disclosure policy is well-traveled.