It seems pretty alarming at first glance. Many of China's leading online destinations have been floundering lately, according to traffic watcher Alexa.com, a subsidiary of Amazon.com. Baidu.com
The next site on the global list is Tencent's QQ.com. The instant-messaging platform has surrendered three slots on the way down to ninth place -- and it doesn't get any prettier from there. SINA
What's going on? Has China turned its back on the Internet? Hardly. Keep in mind that this is a seasonally sleepy quarter in the world's most populous nation. The country celebrated the start of the new lunar year last month, and holidays are typically accompanied by a dip in cyberspace traffic. The March quarter is typically the weakest period of China's Web-based players.
If you're still not convinced, you're welcome to wait another three months and check again. Maybe the malaise sticks. Maybe the Chinese stocks dip even lower. I wouldn't bet on it, though. Remember that you're dealing with a country where just a tenth of the population has regular online access. There are certainly geopolitical risks to consider, yet all trends point to aggressive Internet adoption rates over the next several years.
The seasonal lull is a tap on the pause button. Hit "stop" or "eject" at your own risk, my friend.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been to mainland China just once, but he's longing to brush up on his Mandarin and make it another go of it. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.