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This 1 factor is a big reason why some ASX shares make HUGE returns

There are many different factors that investors point to as things to look for in shares.

A net cash position can be very useful. A high gross profit margin or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin helps grow profit quickly. A high return on equity (ROE) may be the most attractive statistic of all.

But there are plenty of shares that have one or more good features which don’t always turn out well.

There are a number of ASX shares that have produced great returns over the past decade like CSL Limited (ASX: CSL), Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG), Afterpay Touch Group Ltd (ASX: APT), Premier Investments Limited (ASX: PMV), Breville Group Ltd (ASX: BRG), Xero Limited (ASX: XRO), Altium Limited (ASX: ALU) and Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB).

They all operate very different businesses but they all have one thing in common: international growth.

Australia is a very wealthy country and businesses can do well by just operating here (and perhaps in New Zealand), they can certainly grow large – just look at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW).  

But when you open up your total addressable market to other countries like China, the US or a whole region like Europe, a business can really accelerate its growth. Xero going into the UK has really ramped things up. Afterpay’s expansion in the US has sent its potential gross merchandise volume (GMV) targets multiply. Webjet’s WebBeds international earnings has opened up large markets for the travel operator.

Foolish takeaway

If you want to find a share that’s likely to produce market-beating returns, I think it’s much more likely to be a business that’s expanding overseas. At the current prices I think it’s shares like Webjet and A2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX: A2M) that could be the best value in the ASX 200 today.

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Tristan Harrison owns shares of Altium. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO and CSL Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Macquarie Group Limited and Premier Investments Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of A2 Milk, Altium, and Xero. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Webjet Ltd. 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. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.