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.
“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.”
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.
“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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Groups vie for Southeast Asia cloud advantage
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.
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”.
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.
Thus, the aggressive hiring of engineers and building of data centres, particularly by Alibaba and Google.
“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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BETTY.MA 发表于 2018-10-28 23:13:56 | 只看该作者
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