Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn was spending two hours each day on Chinese lessons back in 2006. But Mr. Wynn is of retirement age and already worth a couple of billion dollars.

But at the time, the Wynn Macau -- Mr. Wynn's latest megacasino -- was just getting set to open just off the coast of China. That's right on the doorstep of some three billion potential customers.

Big bets for big paydays?
In hindsight, perhaps that looks like a waste of time. After all, the business climate in Macau has suffered from a slowing global economy and visa restrictions imposed by mainland China. Yet Mr. Wynn’s next project in Macau -- the Encore -- remains on track to open in 2010. And competitor Melco Crown (NASDAQ:MPEL) is quite happy to be opening its City of Dreams resort early in 2009.

The fact of the matter is that while there will be near-term difficulties, given Macau’s proximity to China and the economic growth that continues on that side of the world, both of these companies expect that Macau will be a very good long-term bet.

And at Motley Fool Global Gains, we agree.

We’re not the only ones
But there are hundreds of companies -- many of them American icons -- that continue to believe that the greatest growth over the next decade will come from the emerging markets of Asia and Latin America. Take Pepsico (NYSE:PEP), for example. The company announced recently that it’s going to invest $3 billion over the next five years to build its brands in Mexico. That follows on announcements to invest $1 billion in China and $500 million in India.

This year also saw Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) increase its investment stake in China Construction Bank, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) devote a $500 million technology investment fund solely to China, and even beleaguered automakers Ford (NYSE:F) and GM (NYSE:GM) continue to invest significant amounts in developing new products specifically for the Chinese market.

The question we have to ask
Each of these companies has a clear emerging markets strategy. The question is -- and you had to know I was coming around to this -- do you?

We think every investor needs have intelligent exposure to China, Latin America, and the rest of the emerging world. If you're looking to do just that, one place I'm set to start is at our Global Gains international investing service. You can see our top stocks for new money now by joining free for 30 days. Just click right here.

This article was originally published on Jan. 19, 2007 as “Here’s What the Billionaires Are Buying.” It has been updated.

Tim Hanson owns shares of Wynn Resorts and Melco. The Fool owns shares of Intel as well as covered calls on Intel. Melco is a Motley Fool Global Gains recommendation. Bank of America is an Income Investor pick. Intel is an Inside Value selection. No Fool is too cool for disclosure.