When the novel coronavirus first starting infecting Americans on our shores, the immediate response was one of inevitability. Microbiological threats neither respect borders nor intentions, making them awfully effective. Not surprisingly, Americans quickly stocked up and clamped down, just like folks did in China and across the world. Naturally, social networking platforms like Momo (NASDAQ:MOMO) absorbed substantial damage. With a global health crisis underway, MOMO stock fundamentally and technically lost its appeal.
Even with the company many months removed from the initial onset of the pandemic, it remains disappointing, especially compared to other publicly traded firms that bounced strongly off the March doldrums. For Momo stock, it’s still trading as if the Chinese government failed to contain the coronavirus, with shares down nearly 58% year-to-date. In many ways, this is a worrying signal.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic is a major distraction, it’s also a contrarian opportunity for dating-related networks. For example, Match Group (NASDAQ:MTCH) has outperformed this year, up 55% against the January opener. Yes, MTCH crumbled during the initial lockdown orders. But as we entered the new normal, the company experienced profound relevance.
Obviously, there’s the element of getting to know that special someone while practicing social distancing. On one end of the dating spectrum, it’s very weird to foster a meaningful connection online. However, as a PBS report detailed, Covid-19 could be a blessing in disguise. One dating app user stated, “Watch the pandemic be the reason why I might get into a meaningful relationship, because we had to take the time to get to know each other.”
That’s a very good point. Not only that, I believe it will translate very well to Momo stock. Fundamentally, the love game isn’t complicated. We humans have a need to connect with each other.
Home Market for Momo Stock Has a Clear Advantage
Adaptability, including in the dating arena, has been the key to our sanity during this crisis, facilitating some sense of normalcy in an otherwise upside-down world. But if online dating is taking off in the U.S. because of the coronavirus, you would expect that Momo stock has a clear advantage in its home market.
Primarily, this is because China has successfully contained the coronavirus, according to The Lancet. Interestingly, the peer-reviewed medical journal quoted this observation from a medical expert:
In China, you have a combination of a population that takes respiratory infections seriously and is willing to adopt non-pharmaceutical interventions, with a government that can put bigger constraints on individual freedoms than would be considered acceptable in most Western countries…
Commitment to the greater good is engrained in the culture; there is not the hyper-individualism that characterises parts of the USA, and has driven most of the resistance to the countermeasures against the coronavirus… China does not have the kind of raucous anti-vaccine, anti-science movement that is trying to derail the fight against COVID-19 in the USA.
Now, I must say that I take many things the communist Chinese government says with a grain of salt. Therefore, I reserve some personal skepticism regarding the true nature of China’s coronavirus cases. Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly agree that the Chinese (as with other Asian groups) value the greater good more so than individualistic Americans. It’s very possible, then, that Chinese society will return to full normal much quicker than the U.S.
Given this sociological and cultural reality, I wouldn’t begrudge a speculative bet on Momo stock. With China’s high-trust society, there is a clear roadmap for regular Chinese folks who are using Momo’s platform to take their communications to the next level: in-person meet ups, long-term relationships, marriages, you get the idea.
In the U.S., this trajectory is less credible. Due to political divisions, social unrest, rampant conspiracy theories, just to name a few challenges, we arguably live in a low-trust society. Therefore, when people are online dating in this country in the post-pandemic era, the end game isn’t clear.
I mean, with new daily coronavirus cases surging again, the incentive to physically meet someone new has greatly diminished.
It’s Not the Most Confident Play
Despite the positives of being levered to the high-trust (or at least higher-trust) Chinese market, MOMO stock isn’t the most confident investment idea. Again, shares have really underperformed relative to other social networking platforms. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend MOMO stock for those who are risk averse.
But the bottom line is that Momo is an opportunity to advantage the cultural differences between China and the west. While I disagree with Chinese communist governmental policies, the society overall is much more conducive to thinking for the greater good. That could very well pay off and perhaps sooner than you might anticipate.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.