For most investors, buying Chinese stocks can be either an exciting proposition or an intimidating one.

Oddly enough, that's similar to the reaction you get when you ask people whether they like roller coasters. If you've followed the Shanghai Composite over the past five years or so, you can certainly feel like you've been on the Vortex at Kings Island. Consider:

2004

2005

2006

2007

YTD

(15%)

(8%)

130%

97%

(61%)

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Whew. At this point, you're either running for the bathroom, or racing to get back in line for another ride.

Was it worth it?
Despite all of that volatility, the Shanghai Composite has still risen by more than 39% during this period, while the S&P has lost 12%.

Since last October, however, the Chinese markets have plummeted. Billions of dollars in market capitalization have been erased in the cases of Ctrip.com (Nasdaq: CTRP), Baidu.com (Nasdaq: BIDU), and Sina (Nasdaq: SINA).

Some investors will inevitably view the recent plunge in Chinese shares as a comeuppance, but others see it as a fresh opportunity to put money into the Chinese markets. In fact, a few months back, Motley Fool Global Gains advisor Bill Mann called China "The World's Greatest Value."

Is he crazy?
You don't typically hear the words "value" and "China" muttered in the same breath, but there are definitely some better buying opportunities in the aftermath of the sell-off. Some shares that may have seemed too expensive to investors last October have returned to more reasonable valuations.

For example:

Company

P/E October 2007

P/E Today

5-Year Estimated EPS Growth Rate

ChinaDigital TV (NYSE: STV)

88

9

30%

Solarfun Power (Nasdaq: SOLF)

58

6

22%

Zhongpin (Nasdaq: HOGS)

50

7

28%

Sources: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's) and Yahoo! Finance.

The three companies represent three very promising industries -- application software, solar power, and consumer goods, respectively -- that are poised to grow as the Chinese economy expands. Whether these particular companies will come out ahead remains to be seen, but thanks to the dip in their share prices, they present us with three intriguing research ideas.

That's why Bill and his team of Motley Fool Global Gains analysts made their second trip to China a few months back, to meet with some of the country's most promising companies. The team also made stops in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Singapore. If you'd like to read their reports, and take a peek at all the Global Gains recommendations, a free 30-day trial to the service is yours. Click here to get started.

This article was published on June 4, 2008. It has been updated.

Todd Wenning would not want the job of amusement-park custodian, but he respects those who put on the uniform. He does not own shares of any company mentioned. Ctrip.com is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. Baidu.com is a Rule Breakers pick. Sina is a Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy hopes everyone had a great summer.