Sometimes the best investments are the most uncomfortable to make. Remember how financial stocks and oil stocks crashed during the March 2020 sell-off? Those were some of the highest-upside investments one could have made at the time.
With tech stocks now in a downdraft, the January sell-off may have opened up a great long-term opportunity, provided, of course, you pick the right stocks that can withstand higher rates. Here are two tech stocks -- one high-growth stock and one value stock -- with significant upside from today's levels.
There aren't many companies with as many open-ended growth opportunities as Sea Limited (SE 0.76%). Sea began as a video game distributor named Garena in 2009 and decided to develop its own e-commerce platform called Shopee in 2015, along with its digital payments segment, SeaMoney, that same year. 2017 was a watershed moment for Garena, when Sea's in-house development team came up with the mobile game Free Fire, which has become an international smash hit and maintained its status as the highest-grossing mobile game in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and India in the recent quarter, even four years after launch.
Meanwhile, Shopee has incredibly leapfrogged established competitors in the diverse region of Southeast Asia, to become the region's leading e-commerce platform by monthly active users and time spent. Sea Money has also gained traction in a big way this year, as paying users grew 120% last quarter, while increased monetization saw Sea's digital financial services revenue increase more than 800%.
Sea has several paths to even more explosive growth. Even in the core markets of Southeast Asia, the digital economy is in its early innings. Since 2019, the number of internet users in the region increased from 360 million to 440 million to 75% penetration, according to a study by Bain & Co. Meanwhile, thanks to the pandemic, that increasingly digital region has become more and more used to e-commerce purchases. Bain & Co. also projects Southeast Asia's e-commerce gross merchandise volume (GMV) will grow from $170 billion in 2021 to over $1 trillion by 2030.
Not only does Shopee have a long runway in Southeast Asia, but Sea's management is also pushing into new geographies. After landing in Brazil in 2019, Shopee has already garnered the second most monthly active users in the country, according to App Annie. Meanwhile, Shopee continues to plant its flag in other Latin American markets, and it also just began testing the waters in both India and Europe in the third quarter 2021.
Sea is currently generating hefty net losses, to the tune of about half a billion dollars per quarter, which is why it has been sold off so hard in the recent interest-rate scare. But down nearly 60% from all-time highs, Sea has growth opportunities that seem larger than ever. While this year may be difficult if inflation doesn't abate, over the long term, I see lots of upside in Sea.
Super Micro Computer
While a high-growth stock like Sea has explosive upside, explosive gains can also come to investors when a value stock gets rerated as a growth stock. That could happen with server-maker Super Micro Computer (SMCI 1.90%), a specialist in customized hardware for enterprise data centers.
Super Micro Computer trades at just 11.8 times this year's earnings estimates and 9.5 times next year's earnings estimates. While those are definitely value stock numbers, Super Micro Computer is posting impressive growth. Last quarter, revenue surged 41%. For the full year, management expects 24% growth over 2021, and that's in spite of supply chain headwinds.
Investors may still be skeptical of Super Micro Computer. In 2017, the company was unable to file its financial statements in a timely manner, and the stock was delisted in late 2018. During that time, Super Micro's growth stalled as it fixed its financial controls. The good news is that the problem was completely due to the timing of revenue recognition, not any fake sales or cash flow. Meanwhile, management fixed the problem over two years ago, and the stock was relisted to the Nasdaq in early 2020.
During that time, Super Micro never stopped innovating, and has opened up new growth opportunities. The company just finished its new Taiwan campus last year, which will give it lower-cost manufacturing closer to Asian customers, opening up the hyperscale cloud data center market. Meanwhile, the emerging 5G buildout and edge computing industry is increasing demand for data center servers. Super Micro management said on the recent conference call that the 5G/telco segment more than doubled sequentially in the December quarter.
Super Micro has also been transitioning from a hardware provider to a "total IT" provider, with new and emerging software and services offerings to help manage IT infrastructure. Software and services tend to be higher-margin, especially relative to the lower-margin hardware products that made up Super Micro's core. That has the potential to expand the company's margins over time.
While Super Micro spent the years of delisting fixing its internal financial controls, the company now seems primed to resume above-market growth. Founder and CEO Charles Liang has outlined a $10 billion revenue target in the next few years, up from $4.2 billion over the trailing 12 months.
If Super Micro achieves its goals, the stock is screamingly cheap, considering its low P/E ratio. That leaves the door open to potentially explosive gains as the demand for high-end servers for artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and 5G grow over the next decade.