One would think that with its phenomenal growth and jaw-dropping profit margins, NetEase.com (NASDAQ:NTES) could get a little more respect in this tenuous market. This week, the Chinese gaming specialist reported a 48% surge in earnings to $0.53 per share.

Revenue rose by 58% on the strength of a 31% year-over-year spike in advertising revenue and a gargantuan 135% surge in its online gaming business. Even though the stock is barely beating the market since its recommendation in our Rule Breakers newsletter service, the future looks bright for the company, given the region's potential and improving economy.

Online gaming is where it's at for NetEase these days. It has been weaning itself off its declining mobile phone entertainment services, the trough from which Sina (NASDAQ:SINA), Sohu.com (NASDAQ:SOHU), and NetEase were all feeding so well two years ago, until the Chinese government cracked down on some of the unregulated wireless messaging services.

NetEase hasn't minded, since online gaming is where the real growth lies these days. Last month, the company had as many as 588,000 users playing its Fantasy Westward Journey game at the same time. The sequel hasn't been doing too bad, either, drawing as many as 389,000 concurrent users at its March peak.

Yes, China is a big country, but those are still huge numbers. Think Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) would have loved that kind of active audience when it was rolling out The Sims Online? Shanda Interactive (NASDAQ:SNDA) -- another Rule Breakers selection -- has been known to draw an even bigger crowd.

Plenty of companies are looking to cash in on China, a country coming into its own in terms of entertainment and growing disposable income. But there are few publicly traded plays in this hot market. Thankfully, though, they all bear watching. The9 (NASDAQ:NCTY) is emerging on the scene in a hurry, and even Webzen (NASDAQ:WZEN), that rare fading player in booming niche, sports a cash-rich balance sheet that will serve it well through this lean period as it beefs up its gaming portfolio for 2006 and beyond.

But let's get back to NetEase. Analysts were expecting the company to earn $0.45 on each American Depositary Share, and it blew past that mark by $0.08. Wall Street was looking for the current quarter to produce $0.53 a share in earnings, and the company is now guiding its investors to expect profits to come in closer to $0.65 a share.

While bottom-line estimates that have the company earning as much as $2.70 a share this year seem a bit optimistic, they no longer seem unreasonable. The mean estimate for this year of $2.24 is already obsolete, now that the company will have blown past Wall Street's expectations by $0.20 a share through the first half of the year alone.

Revisions will now have the company trading closer to 20 times this year's earnings. Given its explosive growth and its amazing 47% -- yes, 47% -- in net profit margins, is NetEase worth a leap of faith? I think so. The risks are as obvious as they are substantial, but then again, so is the potential.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz believes in the sector, but he does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.