The 2014 All-Asia Research Team: Internet, No. 1: Wai (Eddie) Leung, Sung Hwan (Sean) Oh & team
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The 2014 All-Asia Research Team: Internet, No. 1: Wai (Eddie) Leung, Sung Hwan (Sean) Oh & team

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Wai (Eddie) Leung, Sung Hwan (Sean) Oh

& team

Bank of America

Merrill Lynch

First-Place Appearances: 5

Total Appearances: 8

Team Debut: 2000

Bank of America Merrill Lynch captures first place on this roster for a fifth year running. The squad, co-captained by Wai (Eddie) Leung and Sung Hwan (Sean) Oh, is deemed “very knowledgeable, with good insights into companies” by one portfolio manager. Working from offices in Hong Kong and Seoul, these five analysts remain bullish on the South Korean Internet subsector because they believe Internet content providers will “continue to capitalize on increasing telecommunication network speeds and capacity for both mobile and fixed lines around the world,” says Leung. South Korea’s Internet names rocketed 98.6 percent over the 12 months through late April, against the 103.1 percent gain by the wider sector and the 3.8 percent rise in the broader regional market. Among the South Korean stocks they prefer is Naver Corp., whose products include a search engine, online gaming and content development services. Naver’s Line Corp. instant messaging service is enjoying rapid growth and is set to capitalize on global mobile Internet industry growth trends, explains Leung, who adds that those trends are driven by rising smartphone use, higher mobile network speeds and advertisers’ increasing acceptance and use of mobile devices for placement. Regarding China’s industry players, the squad believes that “the gradual shift of economic drivers to consumption will benefit e-commerce companies and advertising channels, including search companies,” he notes. The researchers are also monitoring an industrywide M&A trend whereby providers with focused mobile strategies will benefit from an increasing shift from online to mobile, citing as examples Facebook’s pending acquisition of WhatsApp Messenger and Rakuten’s purchase of Viber Media. In China, they advise, a similar consolidation shift is under way, which can help address the industry’s margin issue. “The team is very experienced,” offers another booster.


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