Why Investors, Entrepreneurs Should Keep An Eye On Southeast Asia And Eastern Europe
Where should entrepreneurs invest their time and money?
They could go to the usual places, but Andrew Henderson, Editor-at-Large of Nomad Capitalist, thinks that entrepreneurs should be focus on a handful of unique and emerging markets.
"Countries that are growing are a better bet than those that aren't," Henderson said plainly. "I'm a big fan of Cambodia here in Southeast Asia. Where else can you find a population -- outside of undeveloped Africa, perhaps -- with a median age of 23 and nowhere to go but up?"
Henderson said that some countries like Cambodia have made it "amazingly easy" to conduct business. Entrepreneurs can skip all of the "regulatory nonsense" that prevents westerners from starting new businesses.
"I think this will be the century of the consumer -- billions of new increasingly affluent people in countries that played zero role in the last century will spend a lot of money, drive prices down, and force western entrepreneurs to innovate even better to compete," Henderson theorized. "And while many are calling for the death of China, I think Chinese companies will make big headwinds in the future."
In fact, Henderson recently purchased a Chinese-made smartphone (an Ascend 510 by Huawei) instead of an Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone.
"It's better than an iPhone at one-quarter the cost," he said. "The company makes razor-thin margins to gain share and makes money on other back-end stuff as well. I think the Chinese business model is going to be very disruptive to a lot of western companies that have had it made until now."
Henderson is bullish on long-term gold investments, thanks to the "intense demand" in China, Vietnam and other nations.
"I've seen it first-hand -- these people love gold, and that will be a trend," he said.
Henderson estimated that Cambodia will be the country that "really takes off" over the next 10 years.
He has also seen a number of Bangkok-based multinational corporations set up shop in Myanmar.
"I think there are some opportunities there, but it's more opaque than Cambodia and there's already a property bubble there," said Henderson.
He does expect there to be some players in Eastern Europe (despite "some government nonsense"), and thinks that Poland is worth watching.
"I think Latvia is making a lot of good moves," Henderson added. "And not so much from an investment standpoint, but from a capital positioning standpoint, Singapore will continue to increase its share of the wealth markets. A lot of gold is flocking there, and I think it will become the number-one hub for wealth in the mid-term."
Henderson credits himself as more of an entrepreneur than an investor. He said that, instead of investing in an ETF, he would prefer to plant himself in Thailand and start (or invest in) a business that could achieve 100x his investment.
Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
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