27 October 2016
Airbnb and Uber show that a bright future awaits the right internet-based companies. Photos: Bloomberg, Reuters
Airbnb and Uber show that a bright future awaits the right internet-based companies. Photos: Bloomberg, Reuters

Why quality internet stocks are worth investing in

Christmas holidays are on their way.

It’s a good time to travel, with a strong Hong Kong dollar.

However, accommodation in popular tourist destinations will be extremely costly during the peak season.

Why not give home-sharing app Airbnb a try?

You can find information about vacation apartments around the world, including their availability, the homeowners’ profiles and user reviews.

The type of accommodation varies, and prices are lower than for hotel rooms.

Is it safe to have a stranger in your home or to stay at a stranger’s place?

In my experience, Airbnb works quite well for developed countries like those in Western Europe and Japan.

My friends and I went skiing in Switzerland months ago.

The six of us shared a 2,000 square foot Swiss style hut for only HK$2,000 (US$258) per night.

The service quality is also improving overall, as the model has proven to be profitable for homeowners.

Airbnb was established in 2008. It covers 190 countries, 3,400 cities and more than 35.6 million users.

Its valuation is now over US$20 billion, much higher than those of hotel operators StarWood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (US$12 billion) and Hyatt Hotels Corp. (US$7 billion).

Another outstanding and unlisted internet company I want to mention is Uber, the ride-hailing app that is disrupting the taxi industry.

It has a valuation of US$62.5 billion.

The revolution Uber is bringing to the taxi industry may be just part of its long-term plan — some predict that driverless vehicles may be widely adopted within a decade.

Advanced technologies and the internet are the reasons why Airbnb and Uber can change the world.

The new economy will have a larger impact on the world as technologies improve.

Hong Kong’s stock market touched a short-term low Monday, but the market focus was on the restructuring plan of the two biggest mainland shipping companies.

Is it a good or bad thing to have less competition in an industry?

Do you really want to invest your money in such merger and restructuring plans with high policy risks or to bet on companies which have the potential to change the world?

The present wave of internet companies is different from those in the year 2000, because the value of most of the quality internet stocks are supported by their business performance.

As the outlook for the mainland and Hong Kong stock markets are dim, quality internet companies become more attractive.

When the US stock indexes decline, investors may consider buying such companies.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec. 16.

Translation by Myssie You

[Chinese version中文版]

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Columnist at the Hong Kong Economic Journal

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