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托福双语阅读素材:科技产业是否身处泡沫之中

2018年04月27日10:36 来源:小站整理
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摘要:想要提高托福阅读能力,我们一定要在日常生活中有意识地增加英语阅读量,提升语感和熟练度,这其中比较常用也比较方便地一个方式就是利用各类英文报刊杂志文章进行精读与泛读练习。

想要提高托福阅读能力,我们一定要在日常生活中有意识地增加英语阅读量,提升语感和熟练度,这其中比较常用也比较方便地一个方式就是利用各类英文报刊杂志文章进行精读与泛读练习。下面我们来看一篇经济学人文章:科技公司是否身处泡沫之中?三个心智测试来检验

托福双语阅读素材:科技产业是否身处泡沫之中图1

IS THE technology industry in La La Land? There are alarming signs. House prices in San Francisco have risen by 66% more than in New York over the past five years. Even at the height of the dotcom bubble in 2001, the gap was lower, at 58%. Shares of technology firms trade on their highest ratio to sales since the turn of the century. Four of the world’s most valuable firms are tech companies: Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon. Snap, a tiddler with $400m of sales and $700m of cash losses in 2016, listed shares on March 2nd that gave it a valuation of over $20bn.

科技产业是否正处在虚幻之国?这不乏警示信号。过去五年旧金山房价的涨幅超出纽约66%。即使在互联网泡沫最大的2001年,这一差距也只有58%。科技公司股票市销率已升至世纪之交以来的新高。全球市值最大的四家公司均为科技公司:苹果、Alphabet、微软、亚马逊。在2016年销售额为四亿美元而现金损失达七亿美元的小公司Snap在3月2日上市,估值超过200亿美元。

For companies and investors in any industry, it is hard to work out if you are living in a bubble. To help, Schumpeter has created three sanity tests for global tech firms. These examine their cashflow, whether investors differentiate between companies, and whether forecasts of their future earnings suffer from a fallacy of composition. The exercise suggests that tech valuations are frothy, but not bubbling.

任何行业的公司和投资者都很难搞清自己是否处于泡沫之中。为此,熊彼特为全球科技公司设计了三个心智测试来帮助判断。这些测试审视公司的现金流状况,看投资者对各公司有无加以区分,并检验这些公司未来收益预测是否存在合成谬误。测试显示,科技公司的估值正在起沫,但还没有构成虚高。

The first test is cashflow, and the industry passes it with flying colours. In 2001 about half of all listed tech firms were unable to convert their sales into hard dollars. Times have changed. In the past 12 months the biggest 150 technology companies generated a mighty $350bn of cashflow after capital expenditures—higher than the total cashflow over the same period of all the non-financial companies listed in Japan, for instance.

第一个测试针对现金流,科技行业在这方面表现出色。2001年,约半数上市科技公司无法将销售转化为真金白银。时移势易。在过去一年,最大的150家科技公司在扣除资本支出后现金流达3500亿美元之巨,比同期在日本上市的所有非金融公司的总现金流还高。

In a bubble, investors bid up the value of assets regardless of their quality. The prices of good and bad tulips soared alike in 17th-century Holland, and in 2008 subprime debt was almost as valuable as Treasury bonds. So the second test is whether buyers are differentiating clearly between tech firms, of which there are three broad types. Some, such as Samsung and Apple, are mature and profitable. At other firms, including Alibaba, Tencent, Facebook and Alphabet, sales are growing at an annual rate of over 20%, with high margins. Then there are “blue-sky” firms that are unprofitable but have explosive sales growth. Uber and Snap are examples.

在泡沫时期,投资者无视资产质量而盲目推高其价值。在17世纪的荷兰,郁金香不论优劣,价格一律飙升。2008年,次级债成为几乎同美国国债一样抢手的香饽饽。所以,第二个测试是看买家对三大类科技公司有否清楚区分。有一类科技公司,如三星和苹果,发展成熟,盈利可观。而包括阿里巴巴、腾讯、Facebook、Alphabet在内的其他一些科技公司则是年销售增速超过20%,利润很高。还有一些是虽未盈利但销售呈爆炸性增长的“蓝天”公司,优步和Snap便是例子。

One way to gauge whether investors are sensibly valuing each category differently is to calculate companies’ duration, or how much of their current market worth is expected to be realised soon and how much relies on pots of gold being found far into the future (see chart). Schumpeter has crunched the numbers for the world’s ten biggest tech firms and for three rising stars, splitting their market value into three parts: value which has already been realised in the form of net cash held, the present value of expected earnings in the next four years, and the value attributable to what happens after 2020. Samsung and Apple are not growing much but are low-risk: over 40% of their value can be explained by cash and near-term profits. The raciest firms, such as Tesla, are expected to generate over 90% of their value after 2020. These firms could well crash and burn. The good news is that investors are placing their most eye-watering valuations on a fringe of smallish companies that are growing very fast indeed.

衡量投资者是否明智地对各类科技公司做区别性估值的一个办法是计算这些公司的股票久期,即其市场估值有多少能于近期实现,多少要依靠在未来发掘的价值(见图表)。熊彼特计算了全球最大的十家科技公司及三大后起科技公司的数据,将其市值分为三部分:已经以留存净现金的形式实现的价值、未来四年预期收益的现值、2020年后实现的价值。三星和苹果的增长不大,但风险低:其价值中超过40%为现金和近期利润。而特斯拉等最独特而有活力的公司90%的估值要在2020年后才会实现。这些公司很可能撑不到那个时候。好消息是,投资者给出最大胆估值的那群小公司确实增长迅猛。

The third test is whether there is a fallacy of composition. In a bubble the bullish claims of individual companies aren’t plausible once you add them all up. In the dotcom era the market-share targets of internet-service providers added up to well over 100%. In the subprime crisis every bank claimed that it had offloaded its risks onto other banks. The technology industry is less vulnerable to criticism on this front. The aggregate profits of the top five tech firms are expected to rise from 6% of American corporate earnings last year, to 10% by 2025: bold, but not implausible. Managers are not anticipating the same profit stream twice. For example, Facebook is not expected to become a force in search, while Google is not expected to conquer social media.

第三个测试检查是否存在合成谬误。存在泡沫时,只要把各家公司的豪言汇总,就会发现它们各自的说辞并不合理。在互联网泡沫时期,网络服务供应商的市场份额目标加起来远超过100%。在次贷危机中,每家银行都说自己已把风险转移到其他银行身上。在这方面科技行业的可指摘之处较少。到2025年,前五大科技公司的总利润在美国企业盈利的占比预计将从去年的6%上升至10%——这是一个大胆的预测,但并不离谱。高管们没有预期通过复制别人的业务带来利润流,例如,他们并不期望Facebook成为搜索巨头,也没想让谷歌称霸社交媒体。

Although the lunatics have not taken over the asylum, there are, however, pockets of excess. Even though their valuations are now starting to deflate, there are still too many privately held technology firms with stretched valuations of $1bn-10bn. Worldwide, such companies have a total worth of $350bn. When it comes to facing up to failure, too, the industry’s record is bad. Twitter’s sales may shrink by 14% this quarter compared with a year earlier, and it is losing money. Past company failures in the tech business suggest that once decline sets in, it takes only two years or so for a firm to lose a quarter or more of its sales. Yet Twitter is sticking to its line that rapid growth will soon return.

虽然情况尚未失控,但确有虚浮之象。尽管这些科技公司的估值开始下降,仍有太多私有科技公司估值过高(在10亿至100亿美元之间)。在全球,这些公司总值达3500亿美元。而说到应对挫折,科技业过往的表现也不妙。推特本季度的销售额可能比去年同期下降14%,而且正在亏损。业界记录显示,科技公司一旦遭遇衰退,只消两年左右,其销售额便会蒸发四分之一或更多。然而,推特仍坚持既定路线,认为快速增长会很快恢复。

Truly amazing

Another worry is Amazon. It is one of the most optimistically valued firms, with 92% of its current worth justified by profits after 2020. Outside investors have a lot at stake because it is huge, with a market value of $410bn. About a third of this value is justified by its profitable cloud-computing arm, AWS. But the rest of the firm, which straddles e-commerce, television and films, as well as logistics, barely makes money despite generating large sales. Nor is it growing particularly fast for its industry. To justify its valuation you need to believe that it becomes a sort of giant utility for e-commerce which by 2025 cranks out profits of around $55bn a year, or probably more than any other firm in America.

确实惊人

另一个忧虑的焦点是亚马逊。作为估值最乐观的公司之一,其当前价值的92%需依赖2020年后实现的利润。外部投资者的风险很大,因为这是一个市值高达4100亿美元的巨无霸。其中约三分之一的估值是基于它的一个盈利部门——AWS云计算服务平台。而该公司横跨电子商务、影视、物流领域的其余部门尽管销售额巨大,却盈利甚微。按科技行业的标准来看,亚马逊目前的增长也不是非常快。如果认为其估值合理,你需要相信,到2025年,亚马逊将成为年利润约达550亿美元(很可能超越美国任何其他公司)的巨型电子商务平台。

The final worry is that technology firms are flouting the laws of corporate finance, which hold that there is a relationship between a company’s market value, its profits and the sums it has invested. New entrants should be attracted by the fact that companies are winning huge valuations from tiny investments, in turn dragging profits and valuations back down. As a group, the biggest ten technology firms have $8 of market value for every dollar they have sunk in net fixed physical and intangible assets. For Snap the figure is $36, and for Tencent it is $53. If new competitors do not, or cannot, emerge, then competition authorities are likely to intervene more than they do now. It sounds odd, but the main valuation risk for many of the world’s tech giants is that they rake in too much money.

最后的一个忧虑是,科技公司无视企业融资的规律。这些规律认定公司的市值、利润及投资总额之间要保持一定关系。新进入者应该会留意到,在位公司从微小的投资获得巨大的估值,从而吸引它们进入这一领域,如此一来就会把利润和估值都压下来。整体来说,最大的十家科技公司每投入一美元到固定和无形净资产,便可获得八美元的市场价值。对Snap来说,这一数字为36美元,腾讯则为53美元。假如新的竞争对手没有或无法出现,竞争监管机构很可能比现在介入更多。听来奇怪,但对世界许多科技巨头而言,估值的主要风险是它们敛财太过。

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