It wasn't a very good year for Chinese stocks, but don't assume that every stock in the world's most populous nation -- and its Hong Kong neighbor -- tanked last year.

There were plenty of companies that served up decent-size gains for patient investors.

Let's go over 10 stocks that posted gains of 20% or better in 2012.

Company

Dec. 31, 2012

Gain

Nam Tai Electronics

$13.82

160%

Xinyuan Real Estate 

$3.58

105%

Qihoo 360

$29.69

89%

Michael Kors 

$51.03

87%

Melco Crown

$16.84

75%

Yongye International

$5.83

66%

Longwei Petroleum  

$2.11

62%

Giant Interactive 

$5.41

33%

Focus Media  

$25.67

32%

China Mobile

$58.72

21%


Source: Yahoo! Finance.

All 10 of these winners had compelling reasons for their spikes, but let me key in on five that I think will bear watching in 2013.

Nam Tai provides electronics manufacturing and design services. Revenue is soaring, nearly tripling in the company's latest quarter. Patient investors are being rewarded with a juicy 4.3% yield at these levels, even after the stock more than doubled in 2012.

Qihoo 360 is the company that's been giving Baidu fits with its surprisingly popular search engine. It's not just about search with Qihoo 360. If anything, the company is just starting to monetize its search platform. Qihoo's heady revenue growth and beefy profitability these days is coming from its flagship Internet browser and suite of online security tools.

Macau has become the casino hotbed of the world, and Melco Crown is a local favorite, with its flagship gaming resort City of Dreams. Stateside investors may not have very flattering visions of Macau: Headlines cross the wires about casino operators bribing officials, and other hoops being jumped through to gain gaming licenses. However, the buzz and action in Macau is the real deal. Do investors really want to ignore that booming gaming market?

Yongye is a Chinese producer of fertilizer. The stock took off on plans to take the company private at a healthy premium late last year. Even if the deal doesn't go through, it's hard to argue against a leading low-cost producer of something that is fueling the agricultural revolution globally. 

China Mobile is the world's largest wireless carrier. There were 707.3 million customers on China Mobile's rolls as of the end of November. Yes, that's not a typo. Double the entire U.S. population and you're still not where China Mobile is right now. There is more upside here, since China Mobile has gotten this big without the iPhone. 

These stocks may not repeat their market-thumping results in 2013, but as market leaders of 2012, they clearly have the inside track to lead the likely rebound in Chinese equities in the year ahead.

Coming back home
China may be a big winner in 2013, but investors don't have to go too far to find the stock that the Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected as his No. 1 stock for the new year. Find out which stock it is in our brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." I invite you to take a copy, free for a limited time. Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

The article 10 Chinese Stocks That Soared in 2012 originally appeared on Fool.com.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of China Mobile. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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