Jinjia, launched in 1996, makes packaging for more than a dozen domestic cigarette brands -- all controlled directly or indirectly by China Tobacco -- as well as customers in Russia and Indonesia.

Also working in favor of the new venture are recent government initiatives that may eventually ban smoking in some public areas and restrict smoking at government functions. The country's health authorities have been urging tougher tobacco restrictions for years, but cigarettes are still inexpensive in China and smoking in restaurants, for example, is common.

E-cigs, battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine vapor without burning or smoke, could be marketed in China as an alternative to standard smokes that are easy on the lungs. FirstUnion's web page brags that the company "changes the world with healthy smoking."

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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