Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Quarry Logic: Growth that can't be stopped

As Mo'ili'ili Quarry was dug out to pave the roads of Waikiki and greater Honolulu 60 years ago, there are necessities across America and the globe that cannot be denied. So, I'm going to keep a tidy little list to remind myself of what's important not to me, but to the rest of the world. The blossoming may not happen next week or next month, but sooner or later, these companies will bear fruit. Big, juicy, awesome fruit.

• China Internet. Computers are not affordable to the vast majority of mainland Chinese. Cellphones are vastly more popular already, as is instant messaging. I once underestimated the role of China's leading wireless king. No more. The players: China Mobile (CHL), Alibaba (40% owned by Yahoo), Research in Motion (RIMM).

• China Energy. Whether it is in house "old energy" or alternative, China needs it. With gas prices just 1/3 of what we pay in the West, consumption will be rampant. But oil alone won't be enough. The players: PetroChina (PTR), CNOOC Ltd. (CEO), Suntech Power (STP), Yingli Green Energy (YGE).

• E-commerce. Yep, it's a hokey term that should've died out a decade ago, according to every bear and naysayer. And yet, Amazon has proven them all wrong, and there will continue to sprout new ideas for retail over the internet, save for Fed intervention and online taxes. Couple e-tailing (yes, another late '90s tag) with China's growing economy (up 11.9% in Q2), and there's no end in sight. Yet. The players: Amazon (AMZN), eBay (EBAY). X Factor: China still doesn't have a reliable, trusted system of online payment. PayPal China (eBay) anyone?

• Search/Advertising. Of course. The possibilities are endless in the West, but in China, we're seeing just the tip of the iceberg. (I am loaded to the gills with cheesy cliches this morning.) BIDU at $324? Scary to think it, but imagine this: 12% of China still has no internet access, and BIDU is fully protected by the government. So much growth is possible, no, probable, which means Baidu's stock is still in its first inning. The players: Baidu (BIDU), Google (GOOG).

• Fast Food. Huh? Larger salaries mean more disposable income in China. Inflation? A big factor, but not so much when families have only one child. Single children will spend, hang out at Starbucks, eat at KFC and McDonald's. I see no end in sight to the fattening of New China, Mexico, India, Brazil... The players: Yum! Foods (YUM), McDonald's (MCD), Coca-Cola (KO), PepsiCo (PEP), Starbucks (SBUX).

• Macao Gaming. Chinese are notorious gamblers, even taking discount junkets from the mainland to Macao. What Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands have done in Macao is utterly unmatched anywhere in the world. So much for Mao's version of communism. The players: Wynn Resorts (WYNN), Las Vegas Sands (LVS).

• Handhelds. The demand is insane, though I don't really relate to it. A cellphone is all I want and need, but the rest of the world is koo-koo for gadget-loaded handhelds that tell us what time it is, who's calling, where we are, while giving us songs to listen to and directions to get here and there. The players: Research in Motion (RIMM), Apple (AAPL), Garmin (GRMN), Navteq (NVT), Trimble (TRMB), Nokia (NOK), Google (GOOG), Synaptics (SYNA).

More later. I'm gonna hit the sack and try to get up in 90 minutes.

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