中国和西方科技巨头的东南亚对决

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When Sea Limited launched its prospectus to list on the New York Stock Exchange last month, the South East Asian ecommerce and gaming group sparked a war of words — or rather numbers — with Lazada, which disputed its rival’s claims to be the region’s top dog.
上个月,当Sea Limited公布在纽约证交所(NYSE)上市的招股说明书时,这家东南亚电商和游戏集团引发了一场与Lazada公司的关于用词(更确切地说是数字)的战争,后者对其竞争对手声称自己是该地区老大的说法提出了质疑。
The spat, between companies respectively backed by China’s tech giants Tencent and Alibaba, was part of a proxy war and shone a light on what Bain & Co dubs a “clash of the titans”: a broader battle for share in this market of 200m digital consumers, who last year spent $50bn online, according to the consultancy.
这两家公司分别由中国科技巨头腾讯(Tencent)和阿里巴巴(Alibaba)支持,它们之间的口角可以说是一场代理人之战,暴露了贝恩咨询公司(Bain & Co.)所说的“巨头之间的冲突”——一场更广泛的、在这个拥有2亿网络消费者(去年在线上支出了500亿美元)的市场上争夺份额的战争。
It involves not just Chinese and local players but also multinationals such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, the latter rolling up in Singapore earlier this year. This showdown in Southeast Asia comes after Chinese and Western players have neatly carved up the major markets: the multinationals controlling the US and Europe and Alibaba and Tencent ruling the roost in China, where Facebook, Google’s search engine and Twitter are all blocked.
这场战争不仅牵涉到中国企业和当地企业,还涉及谷歌(Google)、Facebook和亚马逊(Amazon)等跨国企业。今年早些时候亚马逊已进军新加坡。东南亚对决之前,中国和西方企业已干净利索地瓜分了主要市场:几家跨国科技巨头控制着美国和欧洲,阿里巴巴和腾讯在Facebook、谷歌搜索引擎和Twitter都被禁止的中国称雄。
“The importance of Asia is coming to the forefront,” says Karim Temsamani, president of Google’s Asia-Pacific operations.
谷歌亚太业务总裁卡里姆?泰姆萨曼尼(Karim Temsamani)表示,“亚洲的重要性正在突出。”
“Half the world’s population is here and household wealth is set to grow faster than anywhere else over the next 15 years. This is the centre of the world again, and companies that understand the people here and the way they use technology are going to win in this region.”
“世界一半人口都在这里,未来15年这里的家庭财富增速将超过其他所有地区。这里再次成为世界的中心,那些了解这里的人及其使用技术的方式的企业将在该地区取得胜利。”
As well as customers, both sides are fighting over investments. In the past few months, Alibaba has lifted its stake in Lazada to 83 per cent and bought into Indonesian ecommerce group Tokopedia; Tencent has reportedly invested in Indonesia’s ride-hailing start-up Go-Jek, while Expedia put money into regional online travel group Traveloka.
除了争夺客户外,双方也在竞相投资。过去几个月,阿里巴巴把对Lazada的持股增加至83%,并且投资了印度尼西亚电商集团Tokopedia;腾讯据称投资了印尼叫车初创企业Go-Jek;Expedia投资了该地区的在线旅游集团Traveloka。
“There’s a lot of deal activity now,” says Florian Hoppe, partner at Bain & Co in Singapore. “It’s clearly an escalating battle and the impacted sectors are getting broader and broader.”
“现在有很多交易活动,”贝恩公司驻新加坡合伙人弗洛里安?霍珀(Florian Hoppe)表示,“这明显是一场日益白热化的战争,受影响的领域越来越多。”
That wide frontline sees the groups stretching their tentacles into the ecosystems around ecommerce, such as payments and logistics, while offering other services to keep consumers hooked within a single app — such as gaming, food delivery and messaging — to capture more of their time and money.
在这条广泛的战线上,这些企业把触角伸向围绕支付和物流等电商服务的生态系统,同时它们还提供其他服务——比如游戏、外卖和通讯服务——把消费者牢牢吸引到单一应用内,以此进一步赢得客户的时间和金钱。
These models mirror those pioneered by Tencent and Alibaba in China. The Western multinationals, while increasingly flirting with similar models, are counting on customising their international offerings to capitalise on the region.
这些模式复制了腾讯和阿里巴巴在中国开创的模式。日益尝试类似模式的西方跨国企业,正依靠提供定制化的国际服务在该地区获利。
The US groups, says Mr Hoppe, are enjoying record quarters in the region on the back of growth there. “Facebook is playing a massive role on mobile, and YouTube is a real asset [for Google] out here. They are making good money on ads, and benefit from the fragmentation of the ecosystem, as recommendations and search matter a lot more in Southeast Asia than in mature online markets with dominant digital players.”
霍珀表示,在东南亚经济增长的背景下,美国企业正在该地区享受创纪录的季度业绩。“Facebook正在移动领域大展拳脚,YouTube是(谷歌)在这里的实际资产。它们在广告上赚得盆满钵满,并从生态系统碎片化中获益,因为比起已经有主导性数字企业的成熟线上市场,推荐和搜索服务在东南亚重要得多。”
Mobile ad spending in the six countries that make up Southeast Asia — Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore — is expected to reach $1.4bn next year and surpass $2bn in 2020, according to eMarketer. Sea, formerly known as Garena, controversially includes Taiwan in its greater Southeast Asia definition.
据eMarketer预计,印尼、马来西亚、越南、菲律宾、泰国和新加坡这六个东南亚国家的移动广告支出明年有望达到14亿美元,并在2020年超过20亿美元。原名Garena的Sea在大东南亚区的定义中纳入了台湾,此举颇具争议。
The region, notes Max Bittner, Lazada chief executive, is far from homogenous — it has different languages, religions and cultures — but what the countries have in common is “an exploding middle class, comparable to China a decade ago”.
Lazada首席执行官马克斯?比特纳(Max Bittner)指出,该地区各国差异很大——拥有不同的语言、宗教和文化——但各国的相同之处在于“中产阶级爆炸式的增长,可以与10年前的中国相媲美”。
“In Southeast Asia, this middle class explosion is happening simultaneously with the ongoing smartphone revolution, and all the growth in retail is driven solely by ecommerce,” he adds, noting that the catalyst was the $100 smartphones that began going on sale in late 2012.
“在东南亚,与中产阶级激增同时出现的是正在进行中的智能手机革命,电子商务独自推动了全部的零售业增长,”他补充称,并指出这一发展的催化剂是2012年末市面上开始销售的100美元的智能手机。
Making money on ecommerce is a tougher proposition, notes one player: “We’ve seen competitors come and go quite frequently over the past five years.”
通过电子商务赚钱是一件更难做到的事,一名业内人士指出:“在过去5年里,我们看到竞争者相当频繁地进入和退出。”
Sea’s initial public offering prospectus makes the same point, warning “we may fail to monetise our business effectively” and “we have a history of net losses and we may not achieve profitability in the future”. Its operating loss grew to $205m in its latest fiscal year and $150.5m in the first six months of this year.
Sea的首次公开发行(IPO)招股说明书提出了相同的观点,警告称“我们也许无法有效把业务变现”,并且“我们有一段净亏损的历史,在未来也许不会实现盈利”。上一财年,该公司的营业亏损增加至2.05亿美元,今年上半年则为1.505亿美元。
This partly reflects bloated operating and marketing costs. Logistics are tough — unlike the US or Europe, some of these markets lack a large efficient postal network or big regional players like UPS or DHL — and the land-grab means companies are using big subsidies to woo customers.
这部分反映出过高的经营与营销成本。物流很艰难,与美国或欧洲不同,这些市场中有一些缺少一个高效的大型邮政网络或诸如联合包裹(UPS)、敦豪(DHL)的大型地区性物流公司。而圈地意味着,各公司在用高额补贴招徕顾客。
Analysts and investors note that connections and local knowledge hands an advantage to domestic players. Tiang Lim Foo of Seed-Plus, an early-stage investor, says it was local knowledge that helped Indonesia’s Go-Jek, as it filled its fleet with motorbikes in traffic-jammed Indonesian cities, reducing Uber to the sidelines.
分析师和投资者指出,人脉关系和本地知识赋予了本土企业一种优势。早期投资机构Seed-Plus的Tiang Lim Foo说,正是本地知识帮助了印尼的Go-Jek,该公司在交通拥堵的印尼城市里用摩托车组建了车队,把优步(Uber)挤到了市场边缘。
Amazon, meanwhile, whose entry into Singapore earlier this year was marred by being forced to halt orders when demand exceeded its ability to ship goods, has been reduced to co-opting Uber cars to deliver, according to local players.
另一方面,本地人士表示,今年早些时候进入新加坡的亚马逊出师不利,由于需求超过货物配送能力,其被迫暂停订单,如今不得不用优步的车辆配送货物。
With a big and growing market at stake, there is little to suggest any reining in of spending any time soon, as competition for online business in the region intensifies.
事关这样一个庞大、不断增长的市场,面对该地区在线业务竞争的加剧,各公司短期内几乎没有抑制支出的丝毫迹象。
As Sea warns would-be investors in its prospectus, this means the odds of success are weighted in favour of the biggest players: “As ecommerce in [Greater South East Asia] is relatively new, competition for market share is particularly intense?.?.?.?Global ecommerce companies?.?.?.?in particular may have greater access to financial, technological and marketing resources than we do.”
正如Sea在招股说明书中警告潜在投资者的那样,这意味着,大公司拥有更大的成功机会:“由于电子商务在(大东南亚地区)相对较新,市场份额争夺尤其激烈……尤其是,跟我们相比,全球性电商公司可能获得更多的金融、技术和营销资源。”
Groups vie for Southeast Asia cloud advantage
延伸阅读:各集团在东南亚争夺云优势
Behind all ecosystems looms the cloud — vast data centres capable of storing the troves of data thrown off by gamers, shoppers and all the other users of internet services offered by the big US, Chinese and local players.
所有生态系统背后都笼罩着云——即巨型数据中心,能够存储游戏玩家、购物者、以及大型美国、中国和当地公司提供的互联网服务的所有其他用户产生的海量数据。
Demand for cloud services is compounded by different regulatory regimes across the region, some of which require local data to be held onshore. Google, one of the big cloud providers globally, clearly intends to be a player in Southeast Asia too — toilet cubicles at its Singapore offices were recently plastered with ads appealing: “Google Cloud team is looking for customer engineers in APAC”.
该地区各国的不同监管体制使对于云服务的需求复杂化。有些国家要求把本地数据存储于境内。作为全球范围内的大型云服务提供者之一,谷歌明显打算也在东南亚成为本地公司——不久前其新加坡办公室的卫生间隔间贴上了广告:“谷歌云团队正在亚太地区寻找客户工程师”。
Sea’s IPO filing, lamenting the region’s lack of qualified technical talent, notes its dependence on third-party data centre providers, echoing Snap’s admission of reliance on Google’s cloud services in its own IPO documentation earlier this year.
Sea在IPO申请中哀叹该地区缺乏合格的技术人才,指出了其对第三方数据中心提供商的依赖,跟Snap在今年早些时候自己的IPO文件中承认对谷歌云服务的依赖类似。
Thus, the aggressive hiring of engineers and building of data centres, particularly by Alibaba and Google.
所以,各公司都在大张旗鼓地招聘工程师,建造数据中心,尤其是阿里巴巴和谷歌。
“There’s an arms race with cloud,” says Niranjan Arasaratnam, Singapore-based global head of the TMT sector for Linklaters, the legal firm. “Microsoft, [Amazon Web Services] and Google are all pushing [ahead], but my money’s on Alibaba and Tencent, because they will have the connections and cash and know-how to grow that business.”
“云领域发生了一场军备竞赛,”年利达律师事务所(Linklaters)驻新加坡的全球TMT行业主管尼兰詹?阿拉萨拉特纳姆(Niranjan Arasaratnam)说,“微软、亚马逊网络服务(Amazon Web Services)和谷歌都在向前冲刺,但我的资金投给了阿里巴巴和腾讯,因为它们将拥有发展云业务的人脉、资金和专业知识。”

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