5 Chinese Stocks Under $10

The world isn't paying attention to China the way it used to. Between the fiscal calamity in Europe and the sense that the economy is improving closer to home, investors seem to have forgotten the upside potential of the world's most populous nation. That's a pity, because the country offers compelling values for those willing to take on its geopolitical risks.

As a fan of the right kind of low-priced stocks, I certainly don't have a problem with the plentitude of Chinese stocks trading for single-digit share prices on U.S. exchanges. I actually see this as an opportunity to hop into China during a market lull. I've assembled five stocks that I find compelling right now.

Universal Travel Group (NYSE: UTA  ) -$7.64
Everybody knows Ctrip.com (Nasdaq: CTRP  ) , China's popular travel portal. How about a show of hands for those familiar with Universal Travel? The somewhat obscure Chinese booker of tour packages, airline flights, and hotel nights -- through both online sites and a fleet of customer service reps -- has a small yet loyal following. It also commands a top five-star rating in Motley Fool CAPS.

The stock's allure has a lot to do with its attractive valuation. It has been making the most of its fragmented sector, acquiring several smaller agencies. It sees revenue and earnings growing 45% to 55% this year. Obviously, that growth won't be entirely organic, given the company's acquisitive nature.

The lone analyst tracking the company expects Universal Travel to earn $1.41 a share this year, and $1.70 a share in 2011. We'll get a clearer picture when the company reports quarterly results tomorrow, but it's hard not to like this company's chances of taking off, should it land anywhere near Wall Street expectations.

7 Days Group Holdings (NYSE: SVN  ) -$9.31
If we take the travel thesis one step deeper, we stumble across value-priced lodging chain 7 Days. The fast-growing hospitality company is hoping to convert as many as 200 hotels this year (with well over a third of those as leased and operated locations, and the balance simply managed properties).

7 Days went public at $11 a share less than six months ago, but the market has turned its back on the promising hotelier. Analysts see 7 Days earning $0.32 a share this year and $0.49 a share come 2011. A year-ahead multiple in the high teens for a hospitality player may not seem like a screaming bargain, but its heady expansion and growth targets make 7 Days an unloved stock worth checking out at this point.

Shanda Games (Nasdaq: GAME  ) -$6.28
There was a fair deal of head-scratching when Shanda Interactive (Nasdaq: SNDA  ) decided to spin off its bread-and-butter online gaming business. It hasn't gone well. Shanda Interactive was a market darling, but Shanda Games has yet to beat analyst profit estimates in its first two quarters as a stand-alone company.

Happily for Shanda Games investors, the stock currently trades at a ridiculously cheap earnings multiple. The pros see Shanda Games earning $0.72 a share this year, and $0.82 a share next year. There may be challenges to the online gaming industry if China decides to tighten the screws in the sector, but the only thing I like more than growth stocks with single-digit prices is growth stocks with single digit P/E ratios.

China Finance Online (Nasdaq: JRJC  ) -$6.88
A high-octane bet on China's stock market, this company operates sites that offer investing research, primarily for individual investors. Sound familiar?

China Finance knows how to draw a crowd, with 14 million registered users across its sites, though its 117,900 premium subscribers deliver most of the company's revenue. Growth and profitability have been erratic over the past year and change, which has hindered the stock's performance.

The upside for patient investors is that China Finance is flush, closing out 2009 with just more than $5 per American Depository Share in cash and equivalents on its balance sheet. As long as it's able to stay marginally profitable and keep its cash pile intact, the stock should have a floor here.

Noah Education (NYSE: NED  ) -$3.99
Like Universal Travel, Noah Education sports another five-star rating in Motley Fool CAPS. The interactive educator has been consistently profitable since going public at $14 in 2007, but that clearly hasn't been enough to keep its stock price from shrinking.

Wall Street sees Noah earning $0.39 a share this fiscal year (which ends next month) and $0.52 a share in the year ahead. Noah has actually beaten analysts' bottom-line expectations in five of the past seven quarters, so it hardly has a history of disappointment -- aside from its stock chart.

While a low price doesn't necessarily make a stock cheap, these five candidates might be too much of a bargain to pass up.

China Finance Online and Shanda Interactive are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. Ctrip.com is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz speaks two languages fluently; Mandarin isn't one of them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. He is also 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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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2010, at 3:57 PM, zieprophet wrote:

    Hey Einstein,

    Noah Education (NED)

    You forgot to mention the company has $117m cash and no debt, on a market cap of $150m.

    It's as if you were telling someone why they should buy a ferrari for $150k, but failing to mention that it came with a suitcase sitting in the front seat loaded with $117k of cash.

    I think you're out of your league writing this article. Do your homework next time.

  • Report this Comment On May 13, 2010, at 5:11 PM, hepa1 wrote:

    To this list I would add Subaye (SBAY).

    Earnings call scheduled for the 18th of MAY. P/E of 3 and eps of $3.00

    The potential is huge. A hidden gem in a fast growing area of Corporate videos in China. In the midst of a huge expansion, and the launch of the first 3_D shopping mall.

    Recurring revenues from members ( over 17,000 paying members) who total 76,000 and growing fast.

    $6 million in cash. B2BC and SaaS sales to members! Just uplisted to NASDAQ.

    Just waiting to be discovered.

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