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Internet conglomerates surge in China

Internet companies, Chinese conglomerates

It's been decades since conglomerates were the toast of American commerce. Many formed in the 1960s and 70s broke up in the decades that followed, as the trend of diversification gave way to specialization. But in China in 2016, enthusiasm for the conglomerate form is at an all-time high, particularly among Internet companies. Last year, web titans Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent invested a total of $29 billion in 134 businesses.

美国联合大公司在商业中备受推崇已有几十年历史。随着企业多样化走向专业化,很多60年代和70年代兴起的联合大公司已经走向衰落。但是中国2016年联合大公司形式达到了前所未有的高潮,特别是在互联网行业。去年,互联网巨头百度、阿里巴巴、腾讯共投资了134家企业,共计290亿美元。

Alibaba has been the most aggressive one, investing more in 2015 than Tencent and Baidu combined through acquisitions and minority stakes in companies ranging from a language translation site to a home rental service. But they've surely bumped into each other outside some conference rooms. Alibaba and Tencent invested $1.25 billion and $350 million, respectively, in minority stakes in the food delivery site ele.me and $2 billion each in Didi Kuadi, China's largest car-hailing app.

其中,阿里巴巴是最下血本的一家,2015年,通过收购公司和购买某些公司的少数股份投资超过腾讯和百度之和,覆盖领域从语言翻译到房租租赁服务。阿里巴巴和腾讯分别投资12.5亿美元和3.5亿美元给食物外卖网站饿了么,两家分别投资20亿美元给中国最大的轿车软件滴滴快的。

Alibaba isn't abandoning its core e-commerce business, but its e-commerce strategy is evolving. One of its biggest deals last year was a $4.6 billion investment in the brick-and-mortar electronics retailer Suning. Suning's distribution network will help deliver Alibaba's orders and stock some Alibaba products in its stores, while Alibaba will host Suning's first online store on its Tmall shopping portal.

阿里巴巴并没有放弃其核心电商业务,但是它的电商策略正在扩展。去年最大的一笔投资单子是投资给实体电商苏宁电器46亿美元巨额。苏宁的经销网点将帮阿里巴巴发送订单,并帮在店内帮阿里巴巴储存货物,而阿里巴巴将在天猫开设苏宁的网上商店。

Alibaba's other significant 2015 deals were in media: a $3.5 billion takeover of online video platform Youku Tudou, and a $2 billion deal to buy the assets of publisher SCMP Group. The company's growing media empire also includes recently purchased stakes in China's largest private film company and an online animation platform, as well as a wholly owned TV and film production company and an online music platform.

阿里巴巴2015年其他的投资大单聚集在媒体方面:投资网络视屏平台优酷土豆35亿美元,投资20亿美元购买出版商南华早报集团的资产。阿里巴巴还购买了国内最大的私有电影公司的股权以及动漫平台,已经独有的电视电影制作公司以及线上音乐平台。

Why all the media investments? Because Chinese residents have growing disposable income to spend on entertainment, and the country's "culture industry" is expected to contribute 7 percent to GDP – about 6 trillion renminbi – by 2020. Alibaba also sees media as a way to drive business back to its e-commerce sites. Consumers could buy movie tickets through an Alibaba site, watch an Alibaba-produced film, and buy movie-themed merchandise on Tmall.

为什么在媒体方面投资这么多呢?因为中国居民用于娱乐方面的可支配收入越来越多,中国的"文化产业"预期将在2020年之前为GDP贡献7个百分点,约6万亿人民币。阿里巴巴将媒体看作是刺激其电商网站发展的一个途径。消费者可以通过阿里巴巴网站购买电影票、欣赏阿里制作的电影,在天猫平台购买电影主题的商品。

Tencent also has a foothold in media – including a new $100 million stake in a movie ticket app – but it has devoted the most attention to the O2O space. Short for "online to offline, " O2O businesses attract online users to purchase services for use in the real world, which includes the above investments in Didi Kuadi and ele.me. In 2015, the company also invested in a ridesharing service, a housekeeping service, and a group deals site with a food delivery subsidiary.

腾讯也在媒体方面有立足点—包括在电影票软件方面新投入的1亿美元,但是腾讯主要注意力是在O2O平台。O2O平台就是线上对线下的简称,O2O平台吸引线上客户购买实际生活中的服务,包括滴滴快的和饿了么平台。2015年,腾讯可在顺风车服务、家政服务和食物外卖团购服务方面有投资。

Tencent tends to form partnerships rather than making outright acquisitions. As a result, it completed more deals than Alibaba in 2015 – 68 to Alibaba's 45 – while spending $10 billion less. Its foray into O2O food delivery may prove particularly lucrative. The food delivery market has grown from 58.6 billion renminbi in 2010 to 216 billion in 2015, and online orders are expected to account for more than 12 percent of all food delivery in 2017, up from just 0.15 percent in 2010.

腾讯的投资战略主要是形成合作伙伴,而不是直接的收购。结果,腾讯在2015年比阿里巴巴完成更多的投资单子,腾讯68个,阿里45个。食物外卖方面,交易量从2010年586亿增长到2015年2160亿,线上外卖订单预计在2017年占据食物外卖的12%,比2010年增长0.15%。

Baidu has also entered the food delivery business – not through M&A, but by developing its own platform, Baidu Food. That's just one of several homegrown Baidu businesses that Credit Suisse analysts say are indicative of a more organic growth strategy. Other examples include an autonomous car business, an education business, and an online bank developed in partnership with a brick-and-mortar bank, China Citic Bank.

百度也进入了食物外卖服务,但是不是通过兼并收购,而是发展了自己的平台—百度外卖。瑞士瑞信银行分析师说百度外卖只是百度国内的几个商业服务之一,并且百度外卖是百度增长势头很强劲的策略之一。其他例子包括自主的车辆服务,教育机构和和中国花旗银行合作的线上银行服务。

Baidu, like Tencent, limited itself to minority stakes last year, its largest being a $1.2 billion investment in Uber China. But Baidu is also pouring money into a major acquisition from 2014: the group-buying site Nuomi. The company announced last June that it would spend $3 billion to make Nuomi more competitive in the O2O space. In doing so, Baidu has an advantage others don't: it is China's dominant search engine.

去年,百度和腾讯一样将投资主要集中在少数股权上,其最大的投资是投资于中国优步的12亿美元。但是百度自2014年在大型收购方面也下过血本:如团购网站百度糯米。去年六月,百度发出声明说将把糯米投资成更加具有竞争力的O2O平台。百度拥有其他人没有的优势:百度是中国最大的搜索引擎。

The Internet giants are cash-rich, and Credit Suisse analysts expect their investment boom to continue despite macroeconomic headwinds. They may also face less competition than in recent years. Though the Chinese government directed some $231 billion to venture capital funds last year, Credit Suisse analysts say the funds have grown more cautious. Consumer spending growth, however, is outpacing GDP growth. That's good news for the Internet giants, who are increasingly prepared to sell just about anything consumers want to buy.

互联网巨头都是土豪,瑞士信贷银行分析师期待,互联网巨头公司能不惧宏观经济的不利形势继续投资。互联网巨头公司近几年面临的竞争力将逐渐减少。尽管去年中国政府下拨了2310亿美元的创业基金,瑞士信贷银行分析师说,这笔资金引起了人们的谨慎。消费者支出增长超过国内生产指数增长,这对于互联网巨头来说是个好消息,他们更加积极地向消费者销售有需求的商品。

2016-06-22

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