A subdued Olympics rally?
The Olympics is coming. But we are not seeing much sign of an Olympics stock market rally, both in Shanghai, or in New York. The Shanghai composite index is barely above 52 week low, at around 2800 to 2900 range. Two of the Beijing 2008 Sponsors, China Mobile (NYSE: CHL) and Sohu (Nasdaq: SOHU), were not strong performers in the US market either. For instance, Sohu reported a strong 2Q 08 (transcript seekingalpha), but its stock is down today. I guess it’s just selling on the news, 11 days before the game?
The other day I saw Charles Zhang Chaoyang on the “Boss town”, No. 1 Caijing’s (China-CBN) talk show between CEO and guest commentators. This reminded me that Chinese Internet companies are coming of age. Two interesting stories Charles told on the show:
1) Two MIT professors are the earliest investors for Sohu, they put in $ 75,000 each, and it’s worth $30 mil later. Charles is a graduate from MIT. Obviously he knows how to talk to his professor.
2) He went to New York to talk to potential investors in 1996. He wasn’t successful; and found a phone booth calling his lawyer (in crying tone). He had to insert coins to keep the line alive. People waited behind him became impatient. At that time cell phone is still rare in the US.
Keso had a good article about the current status of Chinese Internet companies.
I listened to the conference call of Sohu and Ctrip lately. Not surprisingly, both companies mentioned the positive effect of 2008 Beijing Olympics. Sohu is the Internet content service sponsor, and Ctrip should enjoy the booming of China travel industry before Olympics. But I think this Olympics effect is already priced in the stocks, and to make things worrysome, the effect may not turn out as big as people thought. The SOHU and CTRP stocks got punished partly because of this “irrational exuberance”.
On the other hand, Chinese economy is still in fast growth mode and I am bullish on some of the companies whose growth does not solely depend on Olympics. Or at least their PR person does not mention Olympics all the time 🙂
When I first came to the US in 1997, there is no Chinese web portals. We read Chinese news primarily through BBS. The Chinese language support for the browser was not widely available either. I remember a friend told me something about installing the “Chinese version of DOS” on the PC so that he can read the Chinese. Then comes the RichWin (the Sina), the Sohu and Netease. And the Internet Explorer incorporated the Chinese language support so we don’t need to install NJStar for the PC.