Helen Zhu Goldman Sachs (Asia)
The buy side says: Zhu is the best regional telecom analyst in Asia ex-Japan.
Helen Zhu of Goldman Sachs (Asia) tops the list. In January 2009, Zhu elevated Beijings China Telecom Corp. to top pick, at HK$2.71, citing its efforts to cut costs and improve efficiencies. The stock soared to HK$3.57 through May 2010, a gain of 31.7 percent that beat the sector by 23.1 percentage points.
Zhu, who earned a bachelors degree in electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, directed telecom research at ABN Amro before joining Goldman in 2006.
Haofei Chen China International Capital Corp.
China International Capital Corp.s Haofei Chen, who lands in second place, provides good ground-level research, as one portfolio manager puts it. Among the analysts best calls of the past year: An April upgrade from neutral to buy on China Unicom (Hong Kong), at HK$9.33, on improving profitability at the wireless paging and GSM mobile operator, which is headquartered in Hong Kong. Chen was confident that China Unicoms shares were undervalued and that sales were bound to pick up because the company had finally ironed out the subsidies it was offering to its iPhone and other smartphone customers. By late May the share price had climbed 2.3 percent, to HK$9.54, and outpaced the sector by 8 percentage points.
Jinjin Wang UBS
Rounding out the sector in third place is Jinjin Wang of UBS. In July 2009, Wang upgraded ZTE Corp. from neutral to buy, at an adjusted HK$20.70, believing the Shenzhen, Guangdongbased telecom equipment provider would be the main beneficiary of industry consolidation by gaining market share not only in China but also internationally. Since then the stock climbed 25.1 percent, to HK$25.90, through May 2010. Wangs insights are very well thought out and show a deep knowledge not only of the sector but of China as a whole, says one enthusiastic buy-sider.
Alan Hellawell Deutsche Bank; Jinhong (Cynthia) Meng BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research
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