gmo.jpg[Updated] GMO Group
is the latest China play to join AIM, London's junior stock market.
Investing in small Chinese companies is risky, but investing in small
Chinese companies hoping to ride the wireless boom is strictly for the
brave — just remember what happened to MonsterMob.

With
that disclaimer issued, let's have a look at GMO. The
Beijing-headquartered company is targeting China's market for SMS-based
wireless value-added services (WVAS) such as interactive voting, gaming
and mobile entertainment.

This market was growing at 20% a year until China's regulator recently clamped down on dubious marketing practices — see this
earlier story. GMO is keen to distance itself from such practices and
says it is only interested in WVAS offered on an opt-in basis.

GMO
has a short yet complicated history — it was founded by Malaysia's
mTouche and two other Malaysia-listed tech companies — and its press release is heavy-going, being liberally sprinkled with three-letter acronyms, some of which even I cannot decipher — RBT, anyone?

But
from what I can work out, GMO sells a core messaging platform as well
as applications and services to allow network operators to handle and
provision wireless content from different providers. It wants to use
this technology to create a “mobile transaction network” linking
different content providers and operators.

GMO also a
relationship with one of the limited number of Chinese service
providers which owns a common nationwide access code, meaning services
can be accessed the same code from anywhere in China — an important
requirement when marketing services nationally.

On the
technology front, I cannot see much to differentiate GMO from several
better-established western firms that specialise in mobile content
provisioning technologies. However, its Asian roots may give it an
advantage when it comes to winning over Chinese customers. More on
mTouche and the Malaysian connection here.

[Update]
The company's share price is up 18% in its first week of trading — and
already more than double its 50p placing price — so who is the bigger
fool?

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