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CLSA Identifies Alibaba and Two Other Companies as 'Cheapest AI Plays' with Over 50% Upside

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CLSA Identifies Three "Cheapest AI Plays" with Strong Growth Potential

Analysts at capital markets and investment group CLSA have identified three global stocks that they believe will benefit from the lucrative potential of artificial intelligence (AI). The analysts estimate that the global AI market could reach $1 trillion by 2026, with generative AI driving productivity and innovation worth $100 billion. While the United States is expected to account for 55% of this growth, China is projected to become the world's second-largest AI market with over a 6% share. CLSA's analysts highlight that computing power is crucial for AI development, and companies like ByteDance, Tencent, Alibaba, and Baidu are among the world's second-largest buyers of AI chips.

China's Growing AI Computing Power

Referencing data from a report by the International Data Corporation, Inspur, and Tsinghua University, CLSA's analysts emphasize that China's AI computing power is set to increase eightfold by 2026. This growth will be driven by AI cloud services, which are expected to play a significant role in the expansion of AI capabilities.

Stock Picks: Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent

CLSA identifies Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent as the "cheapest AI plays" that will lead China's AI innovation. These companies are projected to experience over 20% annual growth in their cloud components as they shift away from low-margin and highly customized projects. Alibaba, in particular, is recognized for offering the best cloud infrastructure for large language models. CLSA estimates that the revenue of Alibaba's cloud subsidiary, AliCloud, will resume a 20% three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR), while its international e-commerce division will also see accelerated growth.

Investment Recommendations

CLSA has given Alibaba a buy call with a target price of $158, representing a 78.9% upside from its previous close. The investment house also recommends buying shares of Baidu and Tencent, with target prices of $184 and 500 Hong Kong dollars ($63.81), respectively. These targets indicate potential upsides of 33.2% and 55.3%. CLSA notes that the sector profit is at a historical high while valuations remain low, with Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent trading at attractive price-to-earnings ratios. The analysts believe that the cloud business of these companies, particularly Alibaba, holds significant value and represents a substantial portion of their market capitalization. In conclusion, CLSA's identification of Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent as the "cheapest AI plays" highlights the growth potential of these companies in the AI market. With China's increasing AI computing power and the shift towards cloud services, these companies are well-positioned to lead China's AI innovation. Investors may find opportunities in these stocks given their attractive valuations and the projected growth of their cloud businesses.

Conclusion: Potential Impact on New Businesses

CLSA's identification of Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent as the "cheapest AI plays" provides a valuable insight for new businesses, particularly those in the AI and tech sectors. This analysis highlights the significant growth potential of the AI market, which is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2026, and the increasing importance of AI cloud services.

Emerging Opportunities in the AI Market

For startups and emerging companies, this trend presents both challenges and opportunities. The dominance of large players like Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent could create high barriers to entry. However, the rapid growth of the AI market and the shift towards AI cloud services could also open up new avenues for innovation and growth.

Strategic Implications

The focus on AI cloud services underscores the importance of cloud computing in the development and deployment of AI technologies. New businesses should consider this when developing their business strategies and product offerings.

Investment Considerations

For investors, CLSA's recommendations suggest that Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent offer attractive investment opportunities due to their strong growth prospects and low valuations. This could have implications for the funding landscape for new businesses, as investors may be more inclined to invest in established players with proven track records and strong growth potential. In conclusion, while the dominance of Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent in the AI market presents challenges for new businesses, it also opens up opportunities for innovation and growth. By understanding these market dynamics and adapting their strategies accordingly, new businesses can position themselves for success in this rapidly evolving market.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/13/alibaba-and-more-clsa-names-cheapest-ai-plays.html
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