A lackluster economic backdrop in China shouldn't keep Wall Street from buying opportunities in the world's second-largest economy, some investors say. China stocks have come under pressure this year as Beijing deals with a beleaguered property sector and a slower-than-expected rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic. The iShares MSCI China ETF (MCHI) is down more than 7% this year. By comparison, the S & P 500 is up 16% during the same period. There are other concerns: The country is dealing with high rates of youth unemployment, consumer spending is weak and the economy is on pace to see only lackluster growth. Even so, there are still terrific stock ideas, so long as emerging markets investors know where to look, according to Thornburg Investment Management co-head of investments Ben Kirby. "China will be a slower growing country in [the] future than it has been in the past. I mean, that's in the cards," said Kirby. "But it doesn't mean that you cannot find great investment opportunities there." Consumer growth bets Kirby named Yum China as one quality stock idea. The Duke MBA expects the fast-food company behind KFC and Pizza Hut to benefit from secular trends and double the number of its stores in China over the next decade, and "maybe even more quickly than that." He also expects Yum China could still benefit from a rebound in consumer spending in China. Sure, the post-pandemic recovery is taking longer than traders hoped, but the fund manager argued that it's still happening — meaning consumer plays like Yum China will eventually see sales growth. "When you look at consensus, sell-side estimates, they're basically forecasting same-store sales growth for Yum China of about 2% to 3%, which is what you'd expect in a normal year, 2% to 3%. It's just kind of a baseline," Kirby said. "This is a year where it should be a lot higher than that, and next year should be a lot higher than that because of the pent-up demand of people who were in their homes and are able to go and do stuff now," Kirby added. Another "off the beaten path" opportunity Kirby sees is consumer health-care company Imeik Technology Development . The maker of hyaluronic acid and other biomedical materials will generate sales as middle-class consumers increasingly spend on beauty and wellness treatments. It's a spending category the fund manager doesn't expect will suffer from any weakness in the macro backdrop. "Fifteen years ago, we talked about steel consumption in China and how the Chinese economy needed way more steel consumption. Now, we're talking about consumption of Botox in China," Kirby said. "So the economy has evolved dramatically." "Overall consumption of these kinds of health and beauty products in China is still a fraction of what it is in the U.S. market," Kirby added. "So, this is another example of a company where the Chinese macro economy can grow 4% or 3%, or 5%. It's probably not going to affect the penetration growth story of a company like this." Kirby expects both companies are "fairly insulated" from the macro economy and said both are trading at attractive valuations. Yum China is higher this year by more than 4%. Imeik is only traded locally and is down 23% in 2023. Lazard Investment portfolio manager James Donald also maintains that China remains investable, naming consumer electronics company Lenovo as an attractive pick. As a multinational, Lenovo is more exposed to the global economy, rather only the domestic economy. The U.S.-listed shares are up 23% this year. While concerns still linger around the Chinese equity market, Thornburg's Kirby advised investors to pick out individual stories instead of buying the index. "I'm not super optimistic on the index level," Kirby said. "But within all the listed companies, there's a lot of great opportunity."