Many consumers probably don’t realize the importance emerging markets play in their everyday lives. Not only as providers of the raw materials powering their favorite high-tech devices, but also as drivers of innovation in areas like electric vehicles, green energy and as providers of information technology (IT) services. Rapid technological changes have also opened up a diverse set of opportunities in emerging markets for investors.
A significant part of the “next billion” of middle-class consumers will come from emerging markets, which we believe will continue to drive both consumption growth and premiumization. “Premiumization” essentially means an emphasis on producing premium, higher-quality products (that consumers are willing to pay more for) over cheaper, often inferior goods.
Consumer penetration and premiumization
Emergence of online platforms and supporting infrastructure of logistics and payments have augmented the growth in middle class to drive penetration and premiumization of both goods and services in many emerging markets. This has created growing opportunities across e-commerce, logistics, food, mobility and financial services.
For example, India now boasts a unique digital payment system, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which has accelerated growth in mobile app-based payments—total UPI-based transactions rose to US$84 billion in fiscal year 2023, with transaction value up 65% year-over-year.1 Many of the key financial services of lending and insurance are also provided online, which has enhanced reach and speed of delivery.
High tech and renewable energy
Emerging markets dominate segments of the technology and renewable energy industries, which include semiconductors and solar panels as well as information IT services.
Demand for semiconductors is forecast to grow in the coming years, with demand for increased processing power to drive artificial intelligence applications and the internet-of-things. Taiwan currently produces over 60% of the world’s semiconductors and over 90% of the most advanced ones.2 While developed markets including the United States are striving to reduce their reliance on markets overseas for these vital components by building manufacturing plants at home, emerging markets are participating in that asset creation process even though it might be a costly and lengthy process.
National commitments to reduce carbon emissions are also driving renewable energy demand, and emerging markets have a vital role to play. Technology advancements in renewable energy will enable a lower cost of generating electricity for many of the thermal energy-dependent emerging market economies, which should further support their growth.
The theme of this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) was “Unlocking the renewable energy future in emerging markets,” recognizing the vital importance of renewable energy for these markets. The WEF stated that accelerating the deployment of renewable energy can be a significant opportunity for individual countries to bolster their energy security, reduce reliance on fossil fuel, and meet their net-zero targets.
The definition of growth stocks is changing
New industry groups are emerging, including electric vehicles, batteries and renewable energy, which are growing rapidly, but are coming from a low base. The definition of what constitutes growth in the market keeps changing and investors must keep this in mind. Many sectors in emerging markets which were once considered growth are no longer growing as fast. We think it’s important for investors to be selective—we look at prospects of individual companies rather than make distinctions between growth and value. Geopolitical risks are always a consideration within emerging markets, as policy can quickly change course.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
All investments involve risks, including possible loss of principal.
Equity securities are subject to price fluctuation and possible loss of principal.
International investments are subject to special risks, including currency fluctuations and social, economic and political uncertainties, which could increase volatility. These risks are magnified in emerging markets.
The government’s participation in the economy is still high and, therefore, investments in China will be subject to larger regulatory risk levels compared to many other countries.
There are special risks associated with investments in Greater China, including less liquidity, expropriation, confiscatory taxation, international trade tensions, nationalization, and exchange control regulations and rapid inflation, all of which can have a negative impact. Investments in Taiwan could be adversely affected by its political and economic relationship with China.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFORMATION
This material is intended to be of general interest only and should not be construed as individual investment advice or a recommendation or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any security or to adopt any investment strategy. It does not constitute legal or tax advice. This material may not be reproduced, distributed or published without prior written permission from Franklin Templeton.
The views expressed are those of the investment manager and the comments, opinions and analyses are rendered as at publication date and may change without notice. The underlying assumptions and these views are subject to change based on market and other conditions and may differ from other portfolio managers or of the firm as a whole. The information provided in this material is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region or market. There is no assurance that any prediction, projection or forecast on the economy, stock market, bond market or the economic trends of the markets will be realized. The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount that you invested. Past performance is not necessarily indicative nor a guarantee of future performance. All investments involve risks, including possible loss of principal.
Any research and analysis contained in this material has been procured by Franklin Templeton for its own purposes and may be acted upon in that connection and, as such, is provided to you incidentally. Data from third party sources may have been used in the preparation of this material and Franklin Templeton (“FT”) has not independently verified, validated or audited such data. Although information has been obtained from sources that Franklin Templeton believes to be reliable, no guarantee can be given as to its accuracy and such information may be incomplete or condensed and may be subject to change at any time without notice. The mention of any individual securities should neither constitute nor be construed as a recommendation to purchase, hold or sell any securities, and the information provided regarding such individual securities (if any) is not a sufficient basis upon which to make an investment decision. FT accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss arising from use of this information and reliance upon the comments, opinions and analyses in the material is at the sole discretion of the user.
Issued in the U.S. by Franklin Distributors, LLC, One Franklin Parkway, San Mateo, California 94403-1906, (800) DIAL BEN/342-5236, franklintempleton.com – Franklin Distributors, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC, is the principal distributor of Franklin Templeton U.S. registered products, which are not FDIC insured; may lose value; and are not bank guaranteed and are available only in jurisdictions where an offer or solicitation of such products is permitted under applicable laws and regulation.
Products, services and information may not be available in all jurisdictions and are offered outside the U.S. by other FT affiliates and/or their distributors as local laws and regulation permits. Please consult your own financial professional or Franklin Templeton institutional contact for further information on availability of products and services in your jurisdiction.
CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are trademarks owned by CFA Institute.
1. Source: National Payments Corporation of India.
2. Source: The Economist. “Taiwan’s dominance of the chip industry makes it more important.” March 6, 2023.