China Mobile is a cheap play on Alibaba's growth: Barron's

Reuters News
Posted: May 11, 2014 1:08 PM

(Reuters) - Investors can buy China Mobile Ltd, the world's biggest wireless company, at a deep discount to international peers and get a 4 percent dividend while waiting for a turnaround, according to Barron's.

In an article for release on Monday, Barron's said China Mobile is a "cheap play" on Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant planning an initial public offering later this year.

Alibaba needs China Mobile, because substantial growth in Chinese e-commerce hinges in part on high-speed 4G data networks like the system China Mobile is rolling out ahead of its competitors, which could revive growth.

"China Mobile has been hampered by an inferior network, but the rollout of 4G has the potential to shift the advantage," said Matthew Ring, an analyst at Pzena Investment Management, in the article.

Barron's said China Mobile is currently cheap because the Chinese government, which controls 74 percent of the shares and regulates the company, forced China Mobile to adopt a home-grown wireless technology for its 3G service.

That technology proved inferior to the services offered by competitors China Telecom Corp Ltd and China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd, which used 3G services based on international standards, the article said.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Sophie Hares)