Chinese Internet play Sina (NASDAQ:SINA) had a tough time of it last week when it delivered on its earlier prognostications of quarterly distress. If you had looked into your crystal ball -- well, actually, in this case, the crystal ball was part of the problem.

Back in March, Sina said that wireless revenues were going to be problematic, given Chinese governmental bans of advertising for some of Sina's revenue-producing businesses, including mobile fortune-telling advice. It may seem superstitious, but fortune-telling was one of the most popular sources of content in that country before the government cracked down.

Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick Sina said that first-quarter profits fell by 36% to $10.3 million or $0.18 per share. Sales for the quarter, however, rose 11% to $45.8 million, with advertising revenues increasing 27%, metrics that don't sound half bad under the circumstances.

As far as the outlook goes, Sina said it expects sales of between $44 million and $48 million, which is slightly less than what Wall Street analysts had previously expected. Gross margins are an area to watch; the company correlated the fact that these fell slightly in the quarter to the decreased advertising revenues and flat advertising costs.

Although shares of Sina suffered last week when it released its quarterly numbers, long-term investors who see the opportunities in China should take the news in stride. China is one of the most exciting markets for the Internet. In fact, Internet usage is expected to skyrocket, with users seen increasing by 28% this year alone.

That's why many people are examining China-centric Internet companies like Sina, ShandaInteractive (NASDAQ:SNDA), (NASDAQ:SOHU), and Netease (NASDAQ:NTES). While the risks of doing business in that country remain an important consideration when deciding to buy such stocks, the potential for growth can certainly outweigh some of the concerns -- as well as some short-term bumpiness.

Meanwhile, Sina continues to bulk up its content offerings as a major portal in China. For example, by the end of the current quarter, Sina will have its in-house search engine up and ready to go. It doesn't take much imagination to see that that's an important element to the company's growth strategy. It's also already pulling a Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) by upping its free mail to 1.5 gigabytes of storage, and is echoing many U.S. counterparts by offering instant messaging service. It also offers popular games to its users, as do many of its competitors.

After last week's share price fallout, Sina shares ticked up a tad today. Some likely recognize Sina as a leader in a space that's gearing up for major growth -- as well as a company that continues to have an impressive balance sheet with $283 million in cash -- and realize that in the pursuit of growth, short-term machinations are likely just a blip on the radar screen.

Read more on Chinese Internet plays in the following recent Foolish commentary:

China is in these days: Sina is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick and Shanda is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. If you'd like to talk more about companies that are doing business in China, check out our China Connection discussion board.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.