What happened

Bitauto Holdings Limited (NYSE:BITA) stock climbed 67.9% in 2017, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The Chinese online auto specialist recorded strong sales growth across the stretch, solid performance for its Yixin subsidiary in the lead-up to its initial public offering (IPO), and a string of generally favorable ratings coverage from analysts.

So what

Bitauto's strong fiscal performance, promising outlook for its main business and Yixin offshoot, and a bullish market for Chinese technology stocks combined to power shares to nearly 140% gains through the first 10 months of the year. The stock hit a 52-week high in October in anticipation of Yixin's IPO. 

A person touching a car icon.

Image source: Getty Images.

Shares of Bitauto sold off as Yixin's post-IPO stock performance lagged some investor expectations, but the the company still posted strong gains on the year and has big growth opportunities ahead. Bitauto retains a roughly 47% stake in Yixin, and the offshoot auto-financing business has the potential to be a major positive catalyst for the parent company's stock.

Now what

Bitauto stock is priced at roughly 19 times forward earnings and 1.7 times forward sales -- levels that still leave room for substantial capital appreciation. The company's September-ended quarter saw it post a 54% year-over-year increases for both sales and gross profit, and impressive adoption for some of its growth businesses and the fact that Chinese internet penetration still has a room for substantial expansion bode well for the business. 

While growth for the company's auto advertising segment appears to be slowing down, its transactions service is still growing rapidly -- with revenue up 145.7% year over year in its most recent quarter. With big growth opportunities thanks to a leading position in its market niche and the expansion of the Chinese middle class and internet availability, Bitauto stock looks like a compelling investment opportunity at current prices. 

Keith Noonan has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.