More than a hundred companies in East and South-East Asia have raised a total of £2.9 billion of funds on AIM to date after rapid corporate expansion in the region, according to a report by Growth Company Investor in conjunction with accountants and business advisors BDO Stoy Hayward.

China dominates the 147-strong list with 72 companies in the study managing to raise £1.7 billion from AIM investors. This number rises to 82 if ventures in the semi-autonomous regions of Hong Kong and Macau are added, taking the total raised to £1.8 billion.

Generally, the largest flotations have been for property investment funds, led by China Real Estate Opportunities’ £245 million issue and Vietnam Infrastructure’s £201 million.

And 18 out of the largest 25 flotations were for investment companies or funds of various types.

Eight AIM firms in Vietnam, including a number of investment funds that have been set up by local specialists to take advantage of the county’s economic emergence, have raised £555 million.

The natural resources sector had a total of 26 companies. Nineteen of these are in mining, which amounts to the largest number of companies in any sector in the study.

Oliver Haill, Growth Company Investor’s head of research, said: “Companies from East & South-East Asia have outperformed the larger AIM market.

Although this is based on the especially strong performances of a few companies, it supports our findings that increasingly companies focused on this region are fast-growing and profitable and exactly the sort of companies AIM needs.”

Graham Elsworth, corporate finance partner at BDO Stoy Hayward in Birmingham, said: “Despite current world economic and market conditions we remain convinced of the future potential within the region.

‘‘Undoubtedly, there is evidence of the negative effect that the current financial crisis is having on businesses in Asia.

“The export-led growth of China in recent years may slow in the short term as a result, but we should not forget that the rapid growth of internal markets has also been a driver.”

He added: “Economic growth in the region will continue.

‘‘It may not be at the recent highs of 12 per cent year on year GDP growth, but even if it were to return to the eight per cent levels of 2000 and 2001, this is still significant.

‘‘As for AIM, I have no doubt that when the capital markets pick up, we will see strong flotation candidates once again coming from East and South East Asia.”