Asia Growth

Matthews Korea Fund MAKOX

  • Unconstrained all cap strategy focused on secular growth opportunities in Korea
  • Fundamental bottom-up approach seeks companies with sustainable business models, strong governance and improving competitive advantages against global peers
  • Highly-differentiated portfolio offers exposure to new economy growth drivers overlooked by index


Inception Date


YTD Return

(as of 02/24/2021)



(as of 02/24/2021)

$153.25 million

Fund Assets

(as of 01/31/2021)


Long-term capital appreciation


Under normal circumstances, the Matthews Korea Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing at least 80% of its net assets, which include borrowings for investment purposes, in the common and preferred stocks of companies located in South Korea. The Fund seeks to invest in companies capable of sustainable growth based on the fundamental characteristics of those companies, including balance sheet information; number of employees; size and stability of cash flow; management’s depth, adaptability and integrity; product lines; marketing strategies; corporate governance; and financial health.


Investments in Asian securities may involve risks such as social and political instability, market illiquidity, exchange-rate fluctuations, a high level of volatility and limited regulation. Investing in emerging markets involves different and greater risks, as these countries are substantially smaller, less liquid and more volatile than securities markets in more developed markets. In addition, investments in a single-country fund, which is considered a non-diversified fund, may be subject to a higher degree of market risk than diversified funds because of concentration in a specific country.

The risks associated with investing in the Fund can be found in the prospectus.

Fund Facts
Inception Date 01/03/1995
Fund Assets $153.25 million (01/31/2021)
Currency USD
Ticker MAKOX
Cusip 577-130-305
Portfolio Turnover 36.63%
Benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index
Geographic Focus South Korea
Fees & Expenses
Gross Expense Ratio 1.15%


  • Monthly
  • Quarterly
  • Calendar Year
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As of 01/31/2021
Average Annual Total Returns
Name 1MO 3MO YTD 1YR 3YR 5YR 10YR Since Inception Inception Date
Matthews Korea Fund
2.78% 32.02% 2.78% 52.70% 4.27% 10.09% 8.61% 6.88% 01/03/1995
Korea Composite Stock Price Index
1.02% 35.12% 1.02% 52.94% 5.62% 13.19% 5.43% 4.42%
As of 12/31/2020
Average Annual Total Returns
Name 1MO 3MO YTD 1YR 3YR 5YR 10YR Since Inception Inception Date
Matthews Korea Fund
13.97% 29.53% 40.77% 40.77% 4.36% 8.88% 8.38% 6.79% 01/03/1995
Korea Composite Stock Price Index
12.86% 32.53% 39.76% 39.76% 6.38% 11.52% 5.42% 4.36%
For the years ended December 31st
Name 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
Matthews Korea Fund
40.77% 3.80% -22.21% 43.70% -6.32% 15.16% -0.73% 10.11% 24.05% -6.45%
Korea Composite Stock Price Index
39.76% 4.46% -20.07% 37.71% 0.98% -4.61% -8.30% 2.90% 18.54% -13.01%

KOSPI performance data may be readjusted periodically by the Korea Exchange due to certain factors, including the declaration of dividends.

Source: BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc. All performance is in US$.

Assumes reinvestment of all dividends and/or distributions before taxes. All performance quoted represents past performance and is no guarantee of future results. Investment return and principal value will fluctuate with market conditions so that when redeemed, shares may be worth more or less than their original cost. Current performance may be lower or higher than the return figures quoted. Returns would have been lower if certain of the Fund’s fees and expenses had not been waived. Performance differences between the Institutional class and the Investor class may arise due to differences in fees charged to each class.

Additional performance, attribution, liquidity, value at risk (VaR), security classification and holdings information is available on request for certain time periods.

Due to current market volatility associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, funds may experience significant negative short-term performance.

Growth of a Hypothetical $10,000 Investment Since Inception

(as of 12/31/2020)

Source: BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc. All performance is in US$.

The performance data and graph do not reflect the deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on dividends, capital gain distributions or redemption of fund shares.


  • 1 YEAR
  • 1st
  • 10 out of 46 funds
  • 3 YEAR
  • 4th
  • 41 out of 43 funds
  • 5 YEAR
  • 4th
  • 36 out of 39 funds
  • 10 YEAR
  • 1st
  • 5 out of 26 funds
  • 2nd
  • 4 out of 7 funds

Ratings agency calculation methodology

Portfolio Managers

Michael J. Oh, CFA photo
Michael J. Oh, CFA

Lead Manager

Elli  Lee photo
Elli Lee


Portfolio Characteristics

(as of 12/31/2020)
Number of Securities

Source: BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc.

P/E using FY1 estimates
P/E using FY2 estimates
$151.7 billion
Weighted Average Market Cap

Source: FactSet Research Systems

Top 10 Holdings

(as of 01/31/2021)
Name Sector % Net Assets
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Pfd. Information Technology 17.2
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Information Technology 6.7
LG Chem, Ltd., Pfd. Materials 5.5
Hyundai Mobis Co., Ltd. Consumer Discretionary 5.0
SK Hynix, Inc. Information Technology 4.8
Samsung SDI Co., Ltd. Information Technology 4.7
Kakao Corp. Communication Services 4.3
Hyundai Motor Co., Ltd., Pfd. Consumer Discretionary 4.3
LG Household & Health Care, Ltd., Pfd. Consumer Staples 3.9
Shinhan Financial Group Co., Ltd. Financials 3.8
TOTAL 60.2

Top 10 holdings may combine more than one security from the same issuer and related depositary receipts.

Source: BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc.

Portfolio Breakdown (%)

(as of 12/31/2020)
  • Sector Allocation
  • Market Cap Exposure
Sector Fund Benchmark Difference
Information Technology 41.8 35.7 6.1
Consumer Discretionary 12.3 10.4 1.9
Communication Services 11.7 8.4 3.3
Consumer Staples 10.0 5.4 4.6
Financials 7.7 7.4 0.3
Materials 6.8 9.4 -2.6
Health Care 5.9 9.3 -3.4
Industrials 2.2 10.8 -8.6
Energy 0.0 1.7 -1.7
Utilities 0.0 1.3 -1.3
Real Estate 0.0 0.3 -0.3
Cash and Other Assets, Less Liabilities 1.7 0.0 1.7

Sector data based on MSCI’s revised Global Industry Classification Standards. For more details, visit

Equity market cap of issuer Fund Benchmark Difference
Mega Cap (over $25B) 53.0 47.3 5.7
Large Cap ($10B-$25B) 23.5 19.9 3.6
Mid Cap ($3B-$10B) 8.9 15.2 -6.3
Small Cap (under $3B) 12.9 17.6 -4.7
Cash and Other Assets, Less Liabilities 1.7 0.0 1.7

Source: FactSet Research Systems.

Percentage values in data are rounded to the nearest tenth of one percent, so the values may not sum to 100% due to rounding. Percentage values may be derived from different data sources and may not be consistent with other Fund literature.


Record Date Ex, Pay and
Reinvest Date
Short Term
Capital Gains
Long Term
Capital Gains
Total Distributions
Per Share
% of NAV Nondividend Distribution (Return of Capital)
12/15/2020 12/16/2020 $0.04356 $0.00000 $0.00000 $0.04356 0.7% N.A.
View History


There is no guarantee that the Fund will pay or continue to pay distributions. 

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investment return and principal value will fluctuate with changing market conditions so that shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.


Period ended December 31, 2020

For the year ending December 31, 2020, the Matthews Korea Fund returned 40.77% (Investor Class) and 40.76% (Institutional Class), while its benchmark, the Korea Composite Stock Price Index, returned 39.76%. For the fourth quarter, the Fund returned 29.53% (Investor Class) and 29.62% (Institutional Class) versus 32.53% for the Index.

Market Environment:

South Korean equities were the region’s strongest performers in 2020. A combination of low valuations, a rebound in earnings and a cyclical bounce coming out of COVID-19 proved to be a confluence of upside catalysts, which propelled Korean equity prices higher. Early year optimism surrounding the U.S. – China trade resolution faded quickly as investors weighed potential negative spillover of the coronavirus into slower trade, tourism and demand for Korean products. Korea’s response to COVID-19 was prompt and effective resulting in a relatively fast control over the spread of cases. Upside momentum in South Korean equities continued late into 2020 with improving earnings outlook for 2021 and a rotation to cyclically oriented names driven by global pandemic recovery.  

Performance Contributors and Detractors:

From a sector perspective, stock selection in information technology and communication services was a notable contributor for the full year. By market cap, stock selection among mega-cap and mid-cap stocks was also a contributor. Among individual stocks, a contributor was Kakao Corp., South Korea’s largest chat platform. The company’s return on investment improved significantly from 2019 with successful monetization into advertisement and commerce revenue. Its financial and content platforms are turning profitable with scale. We expect it to continue to strengthen its network effect within domestic users in Korea even after the COVID-19. LG Chem, a lithium ion battery (LiB) manufacturer for automobiles, was another contributor. The company’s management has been establishing solid brand equity and technology in automotive LiB over the last few years. We view management’s decision to separate the LiB business from its existing chemical business to continue focusing on global expansions to be positive in the longer term.

On the other hand, stock selection in consumer staples, including LG Household & Health Care, was a detractor. LG Household and Health Care produces cosmetics and health care products. The company’s high-end cosmetic brand ‘Whoo’ is especially popular amongst Chinese customers and tourists. With the COVID-19 outbreak, travel bans negatively affected LG Household & Health Care sales in its tourist platform while it continued to maintain and improve brand equity in China. We continue to see the company attractive at this valuation with strong brand equity and the marketing capability of the management team.

Notable Portfolio Changes:

In the fourth quarter, we re-initiated a position in Amorepacific Corp, which had previously been a long-held position in the Fund. It recently had a new management team come in to improve channel and brand strategy for both Korea and China. We believe Amorepacific has a solid heritage in its brands and revamping its marketing strategy could improve its bottom line. We continue to monitor the progress of its new management team and how well the team can execute on its strategy in China. We also added Korea’s largest steel mill, POSCO. As the global economy improves, we believe demand for high-end steel will increase.


Looking ahead, we expect global consumption to see some recovery in 2021 with COVID-19 vaccinations. As always, we believe active security selection is essential to capturing South Korea’s long-term growth potential. We continue to look for companies that can benefit from domestic consumption within Korea, as well as those companies headquartered in Korea that are effectively competing and innovating in global markets. As bottom-up investors, we look for companies that can grow organically without the assistance of strong macroeconomic tailwinds. We also look for companies who can further strengthen business models and bargaining power over the next few years against customers and peers.

As of 12/31/2020, the securities mentioned comprised the Matthews Korea Fund in the following percentages: Kakao Corp., 4.2%; LG Chem, Ltd., Pfd., 4.8%; LG Household & Health Care, Ltd., Pfd., 4.1%; Amorepacific Corp., 1.0%, POSCO, 2.0%. Current and future holdings are subject to change and risk.

Average Annual Total Returns - MAKOX as of 12/31/2020
1YR 3YR 5YR 10YR Since Inception Inception Date
40.77% 4.36% 8.88% 8.38% 6.79% 01/03/1995

All performance quoted is past performance and is no guarantee of future results. Investment return and principal value will fluctuate with changing market conditions so that shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Current performance may be lower or higher than the return figures quoted. Returns would have been lower if certain of the Fund's fees and expenses had not been waived. Please see the Fund's most recent month-end performance.

Fees & Expenses
Gross Expense Ratio 1.15%
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Visit our Glossary of Terms page for definitions and additional information.

Index Definitions

The information contained herein has been derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of compilation, but no representation or warranty (express or implied) is made as to the accuracy or completeness of any of this information. Neither the funds nor the Investment Advisor accept any liability for losses either direct or consequential caused by the use of this information.

The views and opinions in the commentary were as of the report date, subject to change and may not reflect current views. They are not guarantees of performance or investment results and should not be taken as investment advice. Investment decisions reflect a variety of factors, and the managers reserve the right to change their views about individual stocks, sectors, and the markets at any time. As a result, the views expressed should not be relied upon as a forecast of the Fund's future investment intent. It should not be assumed that any investment will be profitable or will equal the performance of any securities or any sectors mentioned herein. The information does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any securities mentioned.