No, I'm not suggesting that you're fit to fling a discus or work magic on the parallel bars. I'm talking about something a little more passive, but ultimately just as rewarding as bringing home the gold this summer. The Olympic Games in Beijing offer some tantalizing investment possibilities, and it's about time you begin thinking about them.
Ctrip.com is an obvious play as media, athletes, and tourists congregate in mainland China later this year. China's leading travel site is growing quickly and will keep folks moving during the actual games and beyond.
Who else should investors be checking out these days? Here's a list of publicly traded companies that I think stand the most to gain this summer from the Olympics:
- Focus Media (Nasdaq: FMCN ) : A leader in display advertising commanding a huge fleet of high-tech billboards, low-tech elevator poster ads, and countless video monitors in heavily traveled areas that pepper content with sponsored spots.
- Sohu.com (Nasdaq: SOHU ) : All Web portals should score nicely, but Sohu is the official Olympics partner.
- China Mobile (NYSE: CHL ) : Wireless is a booming business in China, and usage will surely spike as locals check up on Olympic results or stay in touch as they travel to and from related events.
- AirMedia (Nasdaq: AMCN ) : Focus Media is bigger in outdoor advertising, but AirMedia's specialty is airport ads. Obviously, airports are going to be quite busy during the games.
- Home Inns (Nasdaq: HMIN ) : Beyond the obvious lodging requirements, this value-minded chain stands to benefit greatly if China becomes a popular vacation destination after all of the global exposure.
- Baidu.com (Nasdaq: BIDU ) : China's leading search engine is going to be a popular online source for information during the Olympics, but it's also going to be a major beneficiary as the world becomes more intrigued by China (and vice versa). It's not a coincidence that Baidu is launching a consumer-to-consumer marketplace site later this year. You have to strike while the website is hot.
There will be even more winners, of course. Silver and bronze medals will also go out to companies that make the most of the money and attention trickling into China later this year. As investors, your Olympian training challenge is to unearth these eventual victors now (with additional research, of course), before everyone else catches on.
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