At the annual Sohn investment conference in Hong Kong this week, hedge fund managers spoke about how to profit from Vietnam's fast-growing economy and prospects for a boost in domestic consumption amid the simmering Sino-U.S. tensions.
Their other top picks in the region included an Apple supplier and a caller identifying app.
Seth Fischer, founder and chief investment officer of activist investor Oasis Management, said he is long Vingroup, Vietnam's largest conglomerate and a proxy for the economy.
Fischer's picks include the exchangeable bonds issued by the group and its hospitality unit Vinpearl as well as Vinhomes stocks - a real estate development unit of the group.
"Vietnam is like 20 years behind China, population is really young," said Fischer, who is a long-term investor in China and Japan.
He said the demand was coming from people upgrading their own property rather than buying a second home.
The housing supply in Vietnam cannot catch up with the demand, Fischer added, which is fundamentally different from the property crisis China is facing.
Rajesh Sachdeva, CEO and founding partner at Singapore-based Flowering Tree Investment Management pitched Vietnam Prosperity JSC Bank at the conference, touting its Alipay-like ecosystem.
Sachdeva believes the private bank is likely to continue to gain market share against its state-owned competitors and said it is now among the manager's top 5 positions, rising from top 10 positions in 2018.
Fund managers also pitched companies in emerging sectors with strong research and development capabilities.
Jojo Hu, founder of Hong Kong-based Pacific Crest Partners, pitched China's "little giant" -- Sunresin New Material, a leading adsorption resin producer listed in Shenzhen, predicting a 1.3 times return on the stock by 2025.
"For investments in China, we have entered into a new stage. There are fewer good ideas in internet and consumer space. Now we must look for companies with similar characteristics in emerging sectors," said Hu.
Iris Wang, founding partner & CIO of TruMed Investment Management is bullish on Joinn Laboratories China, a top player in China's non-clinical drug safety assessment market, listed in both Hong Kong and Shanghai. Wang forecasts the company will rise between 150%-200% in three years.
Technology companies remained hot choices at the Sohn conference, despite the sell-off in the sector this year.
Wei Luo, founder of AIIM Investment, picked Unimicron Technology Corp, a major ABF substrate supplier in Taiwan and an Apple supplier.
Nishchay Goel, founder of Singapore-based Duro Capital, an India-focused investment firm, picked Truecaller, a Sweden-based, India-focused caller identifying app that tackles spam call problems and generates major revenue from digital advertising.
Fischer told Reuters his fund has invested in some Chinese real estate companies in recent months, both in equities and debt. He continues to be bullish in Japan, as it is one of the only places where inflation "might even be a tailwind".
(Reporting by Summer Zhen; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)
By Summer Zhen