The 2013 All-China Research Team: Internet, First: Wai (Eddie) Leung

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Wai (Eddie) Leung
Bank of America
Merrill Lynch

First-place appearances: 2

Total appearances: 2

Analyst debut: 2012

It’s two years in a row at the top for Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Wai (Eddie) Leung, who “understands the fundamentals and has a good grasp of market timing,” as one client puts it. Leung, 39, expects revenue momentum and mobile monetization to be central concerns in the near term, “as investors digest the margin downtrends in the sector of the past two years and refocus on growth and emerging business models,” he says. He’s also tracking possible regulatory changes, like the opening up of the market to overseas gaming companies, as well as stricter controls over social media and mobile applications. Although the dynamics are fluid, as of mid-October, Leung is cautiously optimistic. After two years of lackluster demand, the online advertising market is showing signs of a rebound, he notes, especially in spending by such cyclical industries as autos and real estate. The trend will buoy media companies with a greater exposure to these segments, including Shanghai-based Sina Corp., which operates the country’s leading microblogging service; and Beijing’s Sohu.com, majority owner of China’s third-largest search engine, and SouFun Holdings, which runs the nation’s largest real estate website. Smaller media companies that were cut off by advertisers during the downturn should also benefit, he adds. Leung joined the firm in 2007, after covering the sector at Deutsche Bank. He has earned multiple postgraduate degrees, including a master’s in information technology management from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College. — Carolyn Koo

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