After announcing Q4 results last week, China Finance Online (ticker: JRJC), China's leading provider of financial information, failed to provide any future guidance on tonight's conference call. With flat growth in new subscribers and continued weakness in the Chinese stock market, JRJC's immediate prospects are unclear. Here are some key points:
- China Finance has not yet formulated a policy about providing forward guidance.
- It is currently evaluating 4-5 potential acquisitions.
- The company is developing a number of new revenue streams to offset weakness in new subscriber growth - that is largely attributed to weakness in the Chinese domestic stock market.
- It aims to be the Bloomberg of China. However, while Bloomberg provides financial information to institutions, China Finance Online is currently focused on the individual investor - which the company claims is a much bigger market in China.
- Could Bloomberg compete with China Finance Online? The company believes that its market leadership and localized content are sufficient to thwart foreign competition.
- China Finance is not aware of any strong competitors to its business.
- The company's recent strategic agreement with Ctrip (ticker: CTRP) appears to be an online understanding that allows the two companies to cross-sell their services. Nothing more.