Now we know why TOM Online (NASDAQ:TOMO) has chosen an exit strategy. The wireless and online specialist posted a 28.5% year-over-year dip in quarterly revenue this morning. It also posted a small loss for the period, even though backing out a few one-time charges would have resulted in a profit.

At this point, it doesn't really matter. Parent company TOM Group owns two-thirds of the company, and earlier this week it announced plans to buy back the rest of the shares at $15.56 a pop.

It may have been cruel to see TOM Group have the shares halted all of last week as it finalized the absorption, but you almost have to feel sorry for TOM Online's likely purchaser. If it had waited until after this morning's gloomy report, it could have probably gotten away with a lower price.

Wireless services have been a thorn in China's side for several years now. Original Chinese stock highfliers like (NASDAQ:NTES), SINA (NASDAQ:SINA), and (NASDAQ:SOHU) were all heavies in providing wireless content, until governmental regulations shooed them away to master new pursuits.

TOM doesn't have the same kind of luxury. It has 88% of its revenue stapled to the slippery wireless anchor. That leaves it at the mercy of regulatory forces, as well as the whims of mobile juggernauts like China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) and China Unicom (NYSE:CHU).

Deals like the one it struck with eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) were supposed to open up the potential of growing its online traffic, but a recent Wall Street Journal report wondered whether that deal was becoming unhinged.

Along with the recent tumble in Chinese stocks, it was probably the right time for TOM to go. Conspiracy theorists who figured that TOM Group was rushing to buy TOM Online before a spectacular earnings report can go home empty-handed. Surely there must be grassy knolls and moon-landing soundstages more worthy of their time.

Speaking of moon landings, major TOM is stepping through the door and floating in the most peculiar way. And the stars -- of Chinese growth investing, anyway -- look very different today.

TOM Online, eBay, and SINA are picks in the Stock Advisor premium research service. NetEase has been recommended to Rule Breakers subscribers. To see what other Chinese stocks have caught the eyes of our Foolish advisors, try a free 30-day trial of either newsletter. Or for an all-access pass to emerging markets, give our international newsletter, Global Gains, a test drive.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of China's growth story, but he does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool's disclosure policy wants to know whose shirts you wear.