As a relatively young investor, you likely have a couple of decades to grow your portfolio before you need to draw on it in retirement. One of the best ways to maximize the benefits of your long-term investment horizon is to seek out businesses with high optionality.
These kinds of businesses have the ability to pursue different market opportunities as trends emerge, and they can often grow at above-market rates for far longer than many investors expect. For investors, they can create vast wealth over time.
If that sounds intriguing, read on to learn about an outstanding business that has some of the most powerful optionality in the market today.
Tencent Holdings (NASDAQOTH:TCEHY) is a Chinese internet juggernaut. It is the largest gaming company in the world, owns the most popular messaging app in the world's most populous nation, and has a thriving online advertising business, just to name a few of Tencent's revenue drivers.
Multiple ways to win
Video games are a massive and rapidly growing industry. The global games market will grow to $137.9 billion in 2018, according to Newzoo, driven by 2.3 billion active gamers across the world. Tencent owns and distributes some of the most successful games of all time, including the massively popular League of Legends and Honour of Kings. The company also owns a 40% stake in Epic Games, the creator of the Fortnite, which has recently taken the gaming world by storm. Combined with a host of other successful games, these franchises position Tencent as a prime beneficiary of the exploding growth of both esports and mobile gaming.
Yet the crown jewel of Tencent's empire is WeChat, the most popular messaging app in China. More than 1 billion people use WeChat every month, and the app has become a sprawling ecosystem with an ever-growing stable of ancillary services. In fact, WeChat is more akin to a mobile operating system like iOS than a stand-alone app. Within WeChat, people can do things like message friends and family, watch videos, listen to music, and make digital payments. Incredibly, WeChat is responsible for almost 30% of all the time people spend using mobile apps in China.
WeChat's staggering popularity -- along with the success of Tencent's other services such as its online video and news platforms -- is also helping to fuel the growth of the company's advertising business, which surged 55% to RMB 10.689 billion (about $1.6 billion as of June 29, 2018) in the first quarter. With mobile potentially accounting for as much as 60% of total media ad spending in China by 2021, according to eMarketer, Tencent's torrid ad sales growth is likely just getting started.
Value in disguise
Despite its incredible growth prospects, far too many investors look at Tencent's $460 billion market cap and automatically assume that it's overvalued. Don't make that mistake. At less than 27 times analysts' forward earnings estimates for 2019, Tencent's shares are actually quite a bargain for a competitively dominant business that's projected to grow its earnings per share at nearly 40% annually over the next five years.
Moreover, Tencent's current price is even more attractive if we consider the value of its impressive investment portfolio. It owns 18% of Chinese e-commerce powerhouse JD.com, 5% of electric car leader Tesla, and 5% of digital entertainment giant Activision Blizzard, along with stakes in a host of other fast-growing businesses such as ride-sharing company Lyft and Indian e-commerce star Flipkart. Tencent is also a powerful force in the world of venture capital, which helps to further round out its portfolio.
All told, Tencent gives investors many ways to win. Despite its already massive size, this Chinese titan enjoys strong optionality in its business that should allow it to grow at impressive rates for years -- and potentially even decades.
As such, it's the type of stock that can fit well into the portfolio of someone with a long investing time horizon ahead of them.
Joe Tenebruso has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Activision Blizzard, JD.com, Tencent Holdings, and Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.