Last week was a good one for tech stocks, but it was particularly awesome for Chinese Internet stocks as Dangdang (NYSE: DANG ) , SouFun (NYSE: SFUN ) , and Qihoo 360 (UNKNOWN: QIHU.DL ) all came through with double-digit percentage gains.
Dangdang, SouFun, and Qihoo 360 rose 10%, 11%, and 14%, respectively, as investors continued to buy into Chinese Internet companies that have successful counterparts that are relatable to stateside investors.
After all, Dangdang may be losing money as the leading online bookseller in China, but we all know that that's how Amazon.com started out. It worked out just fine for Amazon.
SouFun is a leading real estate and home related product and services portal. Closer to home, Zillow has been one of this year's hottest stocks as the housing market remains strong. SouFun does far more than smoke out leads for real estate pros, offering content and a marketplace for everything from furniture to electronics.
Qihoo 360 runs China's most popular Internet browser and security software suite, but it became a market darling last year when it dared to take on Baidu in search. Baidu continues to command the vast majority of the country's search queries, but Qihoo 360's strong showing -- and its previously unheralded growth in its flagship areas of expertise -- have made it one of China's hottest stocks over the past year.
Naturally it's not just a matter of having a larger company that the Western world is smitten with -- Amazon, Zillow, and Baidu -- to be a market winner. There are plenty of companies vying for dot-com supremacy in China. However, Dangdang, SouFun, and Qihoo 360 are earning respect.
Dangdang isn't expected to turn the corner of profitability anytime soon, but we're looking at a popular Web-based retailer growing its sales at a projected 25% clip this year and 23% come 2014.
SouFun is profitable, and analysts see its top line climbing 38% this year and 20% next year. It's also the potential value find among the three winners, fetching just 16 times next year's expected earnings despite growing a lot faster.
Then we have Qihoo 360 taking top honors in the speed round. Analysts are banking on revenue to nearly double this year before climbing another 57% in 2014. Investors that spotted this growth early have been rewarded. The shares have more than quadrupled over the past year. Most of Qihoo 360's growth has little to do with its nascent search engine, and that's probably welcome news to Baidu shareholders that enjoyed a new all-time high of their own yesterday.
Dangdang will continue to be the most vulnerable, at least until it follows Amazon's lead into becoming a larger and profitable online retailer. SouFun and Qihoo 360 -- despite monster runs recently -- still trade at a discount to their growth rates. There's an opportunity there for investors willing to take on overseas risk in exchange for a shot at some overseas sizzle.
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