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Pro: China 'most durable growth story in the world'

A Prada store in Beijing.
Feng Li / Staff | Getty Images
A Prada store in Beijing.

Forget the critics: China is still the best investment opportunity globally, according to a prominent developing markets mutual fund manager.

"The most interesting opportunities at the moment ... are really in and around this idea that there's a lot of misnomers associated with China's ultimate demise," said Justin Leverenz, portfolio manager of the $41 billion Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund. "China is the most durable growth story in the world ... there's nothing in the world like it."

Leverenz, speaking Thursday at the Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago, cited international luxury companies like Prada and spirits companies like Pernod Ricard that had been hurt by worries over slower Chinese growth.

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"These are extraordinary companies. And these are companies with really high barriers to entry," he said.

Leverenz said such European companies have also been hurt by a strong euro, a situation he said is likely to change.

"The euro is a massively overvalued currency—they've also suffered from a currency issue, which is that much of the developing world has rebalanced in terms of currency and the euro strengthened a lot," Leverenz said.

"I don't think that's a persistent feature of the worldcertainly not in my investment horizon which is three, four, five yearsso I think there's some real, extraordinary value in those sorts of companies," he added.

Leverenz also said there are "one or two" Chinese real estate companies that are "really extraordinary." He did not name them.

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His Developing Markets Fund has 15.4 percent of its assets in China, making it the largest single-country allocation before Brazil, India and Russia. Its top 10 holdings include both Chinese search engine Baidu.com and Chinese media and Internet company Tencent Holdings.

The fund is up 5.21 percent this year through June 18. It has averaged annual returns of 13.81 percent since inception in 1996. Leverenz has managed the fund since 2007.

—By CNBC's Lawrence Delevingne

  • Jeff Cox is finance editor for CNBC.com.

  • Lawrence Develingne

    Lawrence Delevingne is the ‘Big Money’ enterprise reporter for CNBC.com and NetNet.

  • Stephanie Landsman is one of the producers of "Fast Money."

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