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7 Reasons to Remember China

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The Olympic Games in Beijing are over, but the opportunities keep coming.

Back in February, I singled out seven companies that were well positioned to shine during last month's athletic events. I was early, but that's the key to investing sometimes.  

Unfortunately, it's been a rough run lately for Chinese stocks in general -- and my picks in particular. Let's take a look at how the companies have fared since the opening ceremonies.




Gain/(Loss) (Nasdaq: CTRP  )




Focus Media (Nasdaq: FMCN  )



19.8% (Nasdaq: SOHU  )




ChinaMobile (NYSE: CHL  )




AirMedia (Nasdaq: AMCN  )




Home Inns (Nasdaq: HMIN  )



(7.2%) (Nasdaq: BIDU  )




In short, just two of the seven stocks are trading higher since the Olympian-sized catalyst. Let's explore my original thesis on each company and why I still feel that the future is bright for these stocks, now mostly trading at discounted prices. 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.

China's leading online travel site continues to grow quickly. This story doesn't end after last month's games, since the company's real target market is the 1.3 billion people living in China. The booming economy should help Ctrip's fortunes long after the Olympic torch moves on. A bonus tidbit to prove that Ctrip is more than just an event-driven success: It has beaten Wall Street's profit targets in each of the past six quarters.

Focus Media
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.

Focus Media is the big winner over the past month, as a result of a smoking quarterly report issued two weeks into the Olympics. Revenue more than doubled, and earnings easily topped expectations.
All Web portals should score nicely, but Sohu is the official Olympics partner.

Sohu continues to grow nicely, expanding into hotbed areas like multiplayer fantasy games, where rich margins follow. We won't know how well its partnership deal with the games panned out until it checks in with its quarterly report by the end of next month, but this is yet another company that has been gaining earnings momentum without the Olympian push.

China Mobile
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.

Did you know that China Mobile is trading at just 14 times trailing earnings at the moment? The cell-phone and smartphone revolutions are a global phenomenon, but imagine cashing in on the wireless trend in a country with as much serious upside as China? 

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.

If you want heady growth, it's hard to pass on AirMedia. The company's revenue and earnings more than tripled in its latest quarter. There will naturally be lofty expectations for the current quarter, but there is still room to run. Despite its breakneck speed lately, AirMedia is trading for less than 13 times next year's projected profitability.

Home Inns
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. 

Unlike most of the other stocks here with models that are somewhat inexpensive to scale, Home Inns is paying the price for its aggressive expansion. New hotels aren't cheap, so earnings have been anemic, despite the revenue surges. It's hard to argue against the company's strategy. If it wants to become the market leader in reasonably priced lodging, it needs to get as big as possible.
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. 

Baidu keeps rocking. It remains China's undisputed search engine champ, and the opportunities that come with the pole position there are really only beginning. The company's recent move into Japan or auction website plans may be gravy, but the company's flagship business will give it plenty of room to run for several more years.

Isn't that the point, after all? This was never really about last month's Olympics. It's a mile marker, but not the ultimate destination. As long as all seven of these companies keep growing, they will be big market winners in four years, even if their names never come up as stock fodder in anticipation of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Other ways to see things:

Focus Media Holding Ltd. is a Motley Fool Global Gains recommendation. International Ltd. is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. Focus Media Holding Ltd. and are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been to mainland China just once, but he's longing to brush up on Mandarin and make another go in the future. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. Rick is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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