The 2013 All-China Research Team: Telecommunications, Second: Xinnian (Sydney) Zhang
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The 2013 All-China Research Team: Telecommunications, Second: Xinnian (Sydney) Zhang

Xinnian (Sydney) Zhang

Bank of America

Merrill Lynch

First-place appearances: 0

Total appearances: 2

Analyst debut: 2012

Leaping to second place from runner-up is Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Xinnian (Sydney) Zhang, whose “insightful thematic research,” as one supporter describes it, merits particular praise. Zhang’s attitude toward the sector is one of cautious optimism in the near term, he reports. He is concerned, in part, about uncertainties in the regulatory environment — regarding mobile-number portability, tax reform and the potential awarding of a fixed-line broadband license to Hong Kong–based China Mobile, the nation’s biggest mobile wireless name, by revenue — and in relation to the government’s plans to allow telecommunications companies to offer fourth-generation mobile services (which is expected to happen by the end of this year). However, over the long run, Zhang is “positive on the growth potential of Chinese telcos’ mobile-data services,” he says, “driven by expanding mobile-data usage and tiered data pricing.” Currently, the analyst has buy ratings on Hong Kong’s China Unicom (Hong Kong) and Beijing’s China Telecom Corp., the second- and third-largest wireless providers in the country, respectively. He maintains an underperform rating on China Mobile. These positions, he notes, are based primarily on the outlooks for the companies’ revenues and earnings growth over the next 12 months, as well as their relative valuation metrics. — Carolyn Koo

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