Consumer goods companies are providing rich pickings for investors in Asia because of demand from the increasingly wealthy populations in the region. Murray Simpson, managing director of Templeton Franklin Investment Services in Asia, said firms which produced goods like clothes and electrical goods were proving to be great 'buys' for investors. 'We are generally pretty bullish on consumer goods companies. The population in Asia is growing and people are becoming increasingly wealthy. 'The more people in the region make money, the more they have to spend and the more they want to buy consumer goods,' Mr Simpson said. He said his firm also found investors favoured profitable banking and telecommunication industries in Asia. 'However, we don't like to invest too much in any one industry. We find that diversification of investment is the best way to spread the risk for the shareholder.' Mr Simpson said that unit trusts focusing on Thailand and Korea may soon prove to be good investments with some companies becoming good bargains with their 'low' prices and potentially good long-term prospects. 'Until recently, Thailand and Korean companies were seen as pretty expensive in relation to their prospects in the long term. 'But now we are looking more seriously at these two countries because company prices are coming down and there is room for investors.' The thinking behind Templeton fund management was to search for companies which had been overlooked by other investment firms. Mr Simpson said the company sought 'bargain' stocks which involved firms having good long-term prospects and being priced below what they were worth. The company has four unit trust funds in the Asian region including the Templeton Global Strategy Fund/Asian Growth, Asian Smaller Companies, China and Korean funds. 'Our Korean fund is doing very well compared to other similar funds and is well positioned in the market. 'The fund has a good track record and we are quite positive on the potential long-term growth,' Mr Simpson said. In contrast, the Asian Growth Fund had not been doing well until recently, but now it was proving profitable for investors as a result of the growing economies in countries like Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Mr Simpson said the China fund involved firms which invested in or traded with the mainland and who had a lot of money tied up in the Hong Kong stock market. Templeton's Asian Smaller Companies Fund was launched a year ago and was still proving itself, he said. The accompanying charts show the latest figures for the company's equity funds in Asia.