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Thursday, February 10, 2005

China Finance Online (JRJC) wins the award for Dorky Press Release of the Year

It's only February, but it already looks like China Finance Online has beaten Amazon's entry of a few days ago to win the award for Dorky Press Release of 2005. You'll enjoy this. Here's the headline:

China Finance Online Inform Investors of Weak Chinese Stock Market Performance

Yup, investors need to be told (ungrammatically) by China Finance Online that the Chinese stock market has been weak. They might not know that. After all, they're only... investors.

But read on and you'll discover that the real reason for the press release is to inform investors in China Finance Online itself (ticker: JRJC) that "the prolonged weak Chinese stock market performance will have negative impact on the business of China Finance Online". No numbers are put on this negative pre-announcement, but later on the press release states "our revenue in Q1 and whole year of 2005 will be negatively affected".

The press release then states that China Finance Online is working to diversify its business to reduce its exposure to the stock market. Again, no details given, though JRJC will "provide an update to investors in March about its development of new strategies".

Quick comments:

  • China Finance Online had its Q4 earnings call on February 1st, and didn't provide forward guidance. Isn't it odd that so soon after the company is talking down numbers for the whole year?
  • The China Stock Blog comments: "With flat subscriber growth over the last two quarters, investors had better hope that new revenue streams start kicking in."

Competition:
Investors who own JRJC can't be happy about this. To take their minds off what will happen to JRJC in trading tomorrow, I thought I'd launch a competition:

The Challenge: See how many grammatical errors you can spot in the press release.

The Prize:
The winner will be allowed to inform investors whenever there is weak stock market performance.

JRJC chart below, and then the full press release.
Jrjc_1

Press Release
Source: China Finance Online Co. Limited

China Finance Online Inform Investors of Weak Chinese Stock Market Performance
Thursday February 10, 6:04 pm ET

BEIJING, Feb. 10 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- China Finance Online Co. Limited, a leading Chinese online financial information and listed company data provider, today informed investors that the prolonged weak Chinese stock market performance will have negative impact on the business of China Finance Online.

Since 2005, the Chinese stock market has been in the down turn. Shanghai Stock Exchange Index closed at 1189 on February 1, 2005, a record low since June, 1999. The average daily trading volume of January 2005 is only about 28% of the average daily trading volume in the same period a year ago. The Shanghai Stock Exchange Index lost nearly 6% in January 2005. This has severely dampened the investors' interests in the Chinese stock market.

"China Finance Online provides online financial information and data to Chinese investors. Our business has some correlation with the Chinese stock market. The current stock market conditions have affected the investor's demand for our service packages," said Jun Ning, Chief Executive Officer of China Finance Online. "Unless the stock market has a fundamental turn-around in the near future, our revenue in Q1 and whole year of 2005 will be negatively affected."

China Finance Online is diversifying its revenues into other business lines. The company's key strategy for year 2005 will be focusing on financial information services that are less sensitive to the stock market movement. The company plans to provide an update to investors in March about its development of new strategies.

About China Finance Online Co. Limited

China Finance Online Co. Limited specializes in providing online financial and listed company data and information in China. Through its website, http://www.jrj.com , the company offers subscription-based service packages that integrate financial and listed company data and information from multiple sources with features and functions such as data and information search, retrieval, delivery, storage and analysis. These features and functions are delivered through proprietary software that is available by download.
     CONTACT:  Junling Cai of China Finance Online Co. Limited,
               +86-10-6621-0425, or ir@jrj.com

Source: China Finance Online Co. Limited

Posted by David Jackson on February 10, 2005 at 11:23 PM in Sub-sector: China, Sub-sector: E-finance, ticker: JRJC | Permalink

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Comments

Yes, the JRJC press release is the pits. But the problem is not company specific, it's the Chinese stock market that's giving us the problem. I'm assuming that management's assessment of the situation is accurate and not within their control. They are doing the only thing they can do; they are putting their entire focus on new sources of revenue. I am impressed by the JRJC management's candor and courage in putting out the PR in a timely manner, and not making us wait until the next ER conference call to find out what's going on.

Bunker Bean

Posted by: Bunker Bean | February 11, 2005 04:06 AM

JRJC's unusual PR really surprised me; the reasons are:

1). Earnings release only announced one week ago, why didn't they say anything at that time?

2). The weak performance of the Chinese stock market is not just recently; but since last April!

3). Right now the Chinese stock market is on holiday (from Feb8 to Feb15). The last three trading days before the market closed, Shanghai stock index jumped more than 7%. I can see two big candles appeared: day one: up 5.5%, day two: down 0.8%, day three: up 2.5%.

It is an unrealized PR.

Posted by: hao | February 11, 2005 08:12 AM

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