On Monday, electronic commerce provider First Data (NYSE:FDC) announced several bank and credit-card processing deals in China. The company has successfully leveraged its data-processing center in Shanghai into deals with four of the five major Chinese banks, maintaining its status as a global leader in credit- and debit-card processing.

When looking for ways to profit from China's growth, names such as PetroChina (NYSE:PTR), China Telecom (NYSE:CHA), and China Yuchai (NYSE:CYD) are probably near the top of investors' lists. But this news acts as a reminder that there are many ways to profit from growth in the Chinese market without buying companies that have "China" in their names. Multinationals such as First Data have also found ways to take advantage of the new market.

How to invest, if at all, depends on your tolerance for risk. Companies with primarily Chinese operations offer a greater potential reward than more diversified companies, but at a cost. China may be the most capitalistic Communist society on Earth, but there's still significant risk in owning assets located in countries experiencing massive transitions. Transitions by nature are bumpy. Ask shareholders of PetroKazakhstan (NYSE:PKZ) how much fun it is doing business in a country where the rules of the game change depending on whether or not the home team is batting.

The most probable scenario is that China will continue down its current path. But in the unlikely event that China suddenly reverts to its Communist ways, investors in Chinese companies will be left hanging. Investors in First Data, on the other hand, would be buffered from such an event. First Data would have to write off its Chinese operations, but the event wouldn't threaten the company's survival. So, for the risk-adverse, First Data and other multinationals offer a great way to profit from China's growth without taking on the risk of more focused companies.

This press release illustrates how dominant companies remain dominant. First Data is making billions of dollars each year by preserving its market-leading position. Consequently, when the Chinese market opened up, First Data had the resources to build a data-processing center in Shanghai, the knowledge of how to roll out these services, and the credibility to make deals with most of the major players.

Now, three years later, First Data leads the Chinese market in payments processing. That's how competitive advantage is supposed to work -- the dominant become even more dominant -- and that's why First Data remains a Motley Fool Inside Value pick.

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Richard Gibbons, a member of the Inside Value team, owns shares of First Data but none of the other companies discussed in this article. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.