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托福双语阅读素材:中国互联网巨头燃起战火

2018年05月07日14:23 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。下面我们来看一篇经济学人文章:中国互联网巨头燃起战火。

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:中国互联网巨头燃起战火。

托福双语阅读素材:中国互联网巨头燃起战火图1

China’s internet giants

Three kingdoms, two empires

China’s internet giants battle at home and abroad

中国的互联网巨头

三国鼎立,两帝称雄

中国互联网巨头在国内外燃起战火

THERE was a time, not that long ago, when China’s big internet companies were dismissed by investors in Silicon Valley as marginal firms with a tendency to copy Western products. Not any more. Today they are monsters with increasingly hefty international ambitions.

就在不久前,硅谷的投资者还根本不把中国的大型互联网公司放在眼里,认为它们不过是些边缘企业,往往都是照搬西方的产品。时过境迁,今天这些中国互联网公司已经长成了猛兽,在国际市场上的野心不断膨胀。

Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce group, handles more transactions each year than do eBay and Amazon combined. Jack Ma, its chairman, pledges to serve 2bn consumers around the world within 20 years. Tencent, which specialises in online games and social media, is now the world’s tenth most valuable public firm, worth some $275bn. Pony Ma (no relation), its chairman, wants China to “preside over the global tech revolution of the future”. But as the two firms become global forces, the third member of China’s “BAT” trio of internet giants, Baidu, an online-search firm that came to dominate the mainland market after Google left the country to avoid censorship, is lagging behind.

中国最大的电商集团阿里巴巴每年处理的交易量超过eBay和亚马逊的总和,董事局主席马云承诺要在20年内为全球20亿消费者提供服务。专注网络游戏和社交媒体的腾讯公司现在是世界第十大最有价值的上市公司,市值约2750亿美元。董事长马化腾(和马云不是亲戚)希望中国能“领导未来的全球科技革命”。中国互联网三巨头“BAT”中的第三位是百度。谷歌为避免审查制度退出中国后,百度便称霸中国大陆的在线搜索市场。另外两大巨头已成为国际大公司,百度却落在人后。

All three firms differ from their Western peers in important ways. First, Western companies usually prefer to focus on a few core areas, whereas Chinese internet firms typically try to do everything from cloud computing to digital payments. When this works, as with Tencent’s wildly successful app, WeChat, the results can be impressive.

这三家公司与西方同行在几个重要方面有所不同。首先,西方公司通常会聚焦几个核心领域,而中国互联网公司一般涉猎广泛,从云计算到数字支付无不尝试。这样的尝试一旦成功,结果便会非常可观,腾讯大获成功的应用微信即是如此。

Second, with the exception of political censorship, the internet sector in China is lightly regulated. Facebook, Apple and Google, in contrast, face increasing scrutiny. Chinese internet firms can achieve market domination of a sort that would attract close attention in other markets.

第二,抛开要接受政治审查这一点,中国互联网行业的监管较为宽松;而Facebook、苹果和谷歌则面临日益严格的审视。以中国互联网企业能达到的市场支配地位,换在其他市场,会受到监管机构的密切关注。

The third difference is that they can succeed on a rapid and massive scale because the state-dominated economy is so inefficient. Often there is not even a physical infrastructure to leapfrog—so-called third-tier cities, for example, often lack big retail centres. Nationwide there is one shopping mall per 1.2m people.

第三个区别是,由于国家主导的经济效率低下,中国互联网企业可以快速取得大规模成功。企业发展过程中通常甚至都没有挡路的实体机构,比如在所谓的三线城市,往往都缺少大型零售中心。中国每120万人才有一个大型购物中心。

A huge home market has not stopped the trio from fighting bloody turf wars among each other. The outcome to this battle is rapidly becoming clear. Tencent and Alibaba are surging ahead; a series of own goals has left Baidu far behind. The common jibe about Baidu among local experts is that it is becoming the Yahoo of China, a once-dominant search giant that sank owing to a lack of innovation and a series of management blunders.

国内市场如此巨大,却仍未能阻止这三巨头相互厮杀抢夺地盘。这场战斗的结果正迅速明朗。腾讯和阿里巴巴遥遥领先,百度则因自己一连串的乌龙球而远远落后。国内专家最常用来挖苦百度的一个说法就是它正在变成中国的雅虎。雅虎一度是占据市场主导地位的搜索巨头,却因缺乏创新和一系列管理失误而沉沦。

Its revenue growth fell to 6.3% in 2016, down from 35% in 2015 and 54% in 2014. The firm gets some nine-tenths of its revenues from online ads, but this income is plunging as marketers redirect spending from search ads on Baidu to social-media networks like WeChat and mobile-commerce platforms run by Alibaba. Meanwhile, Baidu is burning cash trying to keep its various big bets on artificial intelligence (AI), online video, virtual and augmented-reality technologies, and “online to offline” (O2O) services going. One of China’s most respected business consultants is pessimistic about its future: “There is very little chance they’ll be relevant in five years.”

百度的收入增长率在2016年下降至6.3%,远低于2015年的35%和2014年的54%。公司收入约九成都来自在线广告,但由于商家把花在百度搜索广告的钱转投至微信这样的社交媒体网络以及阿里巴巴运营的移动商务平台,百度的收入大幅下滑。同时,百度还在烧钱维系它的几个大赌注:人工智能(AI)、在线视频、虚拟和增强现实技术,以及“线上到线下”(O2O)服务。中国最受尊敬的商业顾问之一对百度的未来持悲观态度:“五年以后很可能就没百度什么事了。”

请点击此处输入图片描述

Of the other two giants, Tencent is probably the most fearsome. It already has higher revenues and profits than Alibaba (see chart). Its value is set to climb as it ramps up advertising on WeChat (provided that does not provoke a backlash from users). Its main weapon against Alibaba is its stake in JD.com, the country’s second-biggest e-commerce firm, led by Richard Liu, one of China’s most aggressive and successful serial entrepreneurs.

至于其他两个巨头,腾讯可能最令人生畏,其收入和利润都已超过阿里巴巴(见图表)。随着腾讯不断增加微信上的广告投放(只要不引起用户的反对),其价值势必节节攀升。腾讯对付阿里巴巴的主要武器是其在京东的股份。京东是中国第二大电子商务公司,领导人刘强东是中国最富进取心也是最成功的连续创业家之一。

http://JD.com has adopted an expensive “asset-heavy” business model akin to Amazon’s in America. Thus far, its vast investments in warehouses, logistics and couriers have not come anywhere near toppling Alibaba. But last year the company saw its revenues rise to $37.5bn, up from $28bn the previous year. Its share of China’s business-to-consumer market rose to 25% in 2016, up from 18% at the end of 2014. If Mr Liu’s investments in infrastructure start to pay off, much of Alibaba’s future domestic growth could be at risk.

京东采取了成本很高的“重资产”商业模式,与美国的亚马逊类似。到目前为止,京东在仓储、物流和快递方面的庞大投资还远不足以掀翻阿里巴巴。但在去年,京东的收入已从前年的280亿美元升至375亿美元。它在中国B2C市场的份额在2014年底为18%,2016年攀升至25%。如果刘强东对基础设施的投资开始收效,阿里巴巴未来国内增长的大头可能面临风险。

That threat may explain why Mr Ma is not content with Alibaba’s overall 70% share of the local e-commerce market. In 2016 it spent $1bn to win control of Lazada, South-East Asia’s biggest e-commerce firm. In March Lazada launched a new service for Singaporeans directly to shop on Taobao, one of Alibaba’s two domestic e-commerce platforms (the other is Tmall).

上述威胁也许可以解释为何阿里巴巴在国内电子商务市场的份额虽已高达70%,但马云并不满足。2016年,阿里巴巴斥资10亿美元控股东南亚最大的电子商务公司Lazada。3月,Lazada推出了方便新加坡人直接上淘宝购物的新服务(淘宝是阿里巴巴两个国内电子商务平台之一,另一个是天猫)。

Mr Ma last year persuaded the G20 summit of leading countries to endorse his proposal for an “electronic world trade platform” (eWTP), to make it easier for small businesses to trade across borders. In March Alibaba launched a “digital free-trade zone” as part of the initiative, in Malaysia. This public-private partnership, which involves simplifying both logistics and payments, will help small merchants.

去年,为了便于小企业开展跨境贸易,马云说服二十国集团首脑会议接受了他提出的“电子世界贸易平台”(eWTP)。3月,阿里巴巴在马来西亚推出了eWTP的一个项目“数字自由贸易区”,通过公私合作来简化物流和支付,为小商户助力。

Mr Ma’s chief weapon for going global, however, is Ant Financial, which was spun out of Alibaba before the latter’s $25bn flotation in 2014 in New York. In China the unit offers services ranging from online banking to investment products; it even runs the mainland’s first proper consumer credit-scoring agency, Sesame Credit, which uses big data to work out the creditworthiness of punters. Ant already has more than 450m customers in China and is going overseas with gusto.

然而,马云迈向世界的主要武器是蚂蚁金服。2014年阿里巴巴在纽约上市,融资250亿美元,蚂蚁金服就是在这之前从集团剥离的。在中国,蚂蚁金服提供从网上银行到投资产品等各种服务。它甚至还管理着中国大陆第一个严格意义上的消费者信用评分机构——芝麻信用,利用大数据来确定客户的信用状况。蚂蚁金服在中国已拥有超过4.5亿客户,且正热情高涨地走向海外市场。

It has investments in local online-payments firms in Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore and South Korea. In America Ant is in a frenzied bidding and lobbying war with Euronet, an American rival, to buy MoneyGram International, a money-transfer firm. On April 17th Ant raised its initial offer for MoneyGram by over a third to $1.2bn, topping Euronet’s bid.

蚂蚁金服投资了泰国、菲律宾、新加坡和韩国的在线支付公司。在美国,为收购汇款服务供应商速汇金(MoneyGram International),蚂蚁正与美国竞争对手Euronet展开一场疯狂的收购和游说战。 4月17日,蚂蚁把对速汇金的首次报价提高了超过三分之一,达12亿美元,高出了Euronet的报价。

Tencent is also making bold acquisitions abroad. A consortium that it led spent $8.6bn to acquire Finland’s Supercell last year, a deal that turned Tencent into the world’s biggest purveyor of online games. Together with Taiwan’s Foxconn, a contract-manufacturing giant, the firm invested $175m last year into Hike Messenger, an Indian messaging app akin to America’s WhatsApp. It was also an early investor in America’s Snapchat, another popular messaging app, whose parent company Snap went public in March.

腾讯也在国外展开大胆收购。去年,腾讯领衔的财团斥资86亿美元收购了芬兰的Supercell,令腾讯成为世界最大的在线游戏公司。去年腾讯还联合台湾代工巨头富士康共同对印度的即时消息应用Hike Messenger(类似美国的WhatsApp)投资1.75亿美元。腾讯也是另一个流行的即时消息应用——美国的Snapchat——的早期投资者,Snapchat的母公司Snap于3月上市。

请点击此处输入图片描述

这一系列投资动作有一个原因:腾讯早些时候在国外推广微信的努力告败(包括花大价钱在欧洲进行的一次广告宣传活动,当时还请了足球运动员梅西代言)。事实证明Facebook和WhatsApp这样成熟的社交网络的地位已牢不可破。而且那些社交网络自己也照搬了微信的一些做法,而它们一旦采用了微信的创新,西方消费者就更没什么理由改用中国的社交网络了。

One reason for these purchases is that Tencent’s earlier efforts to promote WeChat abroad (including a splashy advertising campaign in Europe featuring Lionel Messi, a footballer) flopped. Established social networks such as Facebook and WhatsApp proved too entrenched to dislodge. They also did some copying of their own: once they adopted some of WeChat’s innovations, Western consumers had little reason to switch to the Chinese network.

腾讯的这些投资一直是在其核心领域,远离阿里巴巴和百度的地盘。有时候,虽然不是有意为之,三巨头倒也成为了合作者。BAT都投资了本身也有意打入国际市场的网约车公司滴滴出行。但在其他方面,三巨头在国内的战火正在向国外市场蔓延。

Such investments have been in Tencent’s core areas, away from turf occupied by Alibaba and Baidu. Sometimes, the trio end up co-operating, if not by design. All three BAT firms are backers of Didi Chuxing, a ride-hailing firm with global pretensions of its own. But in other ways their domestic war is spilling into foreign markets.

印度便是它们在海外的一个战场。4月,腾讯与eBay和微软合作,向印度领先的网络零售商Flipkart投资14亿美元。据报道,阿里巴巴和蚂蚁金服已对印度最大的在线支付公司Paytm投资近9亿美元。2月,Paytm在印度推出了一个类似阿里巴巴天猫的电商门户,与Flipkart和亚马逊印度抗衡。

India is one such battleground. In April, together with eBay and Microsoft, Tencent invested $1.4bn into Flipkart, a leading Indian online retailer. Alibaba and Ant together are reported to have invested nearly $900m in Paytm, India’s top online-payments firm; in February, Paytm launched an e-commerce portal akin to Alibaba’s Tmall to take on Flipkart and Amazon in India.

在其他方面,腾讯于3月推出了一项服务,将允许欧洲的公司通过微信在大陆展开销售。这样这些公司便可直接进入中国,省去了繁琐的审批程序。腾讯最近还向电动及自动驾驶汽车先行者美国特斯拉投资18亿美元。这对把自身未来赌在机器学习和AI上的百度来说尤其是个挑战。

Elsewhere, Tencent unveiled a service in March that will allow firms in Europe to use WeChat to sell on the mainland. This will let them sell directly into China, avoiding red tape. Tencent also recently invested $1.8bn in America’s Tesla, a pioneer in electric and autonomous vehicles. That is a particular challenge to Baidu, which is betting its future on machine learning and AI.

百度推进海外市场主要是为了获得这些领域的人才。最近,百度启动了在斯坦福大学麻省理工学院等美国顶尖大学的首次招聘活动。百度在硅谷有一间颇有声望的AI实验室,尽管AI专家吴恩达最近已离职。不过百度并没有阿里巴巴和腾讯那样雄厚的资金实力。它的搜索引擎曾尝试征服日本等国外市场,但未能得手。4月,百度向对手开放了自己的无人驾驶技术,和特斯拉在2014年的做法一样。但要在这一领域产生影响力,百度还有很长的路要走。

Baidu’s push abroad is mainly a way to get access to talent in these fields. The firm has just started its first recruiting campaign at top American universities, including Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It has a respected AI laboratory in Silicon Valley, despite the recent departure of Andrew Ng, an AI expert. But Baidu does not have the same firepower as Alibaba and Tencent. It tried but has failed to conquer foreign markets such as Japan with its search engine. In April it opened up its self-driving technology to rivals, as Tesla did in 2014, but it has a long way to go before it makes an impact in autonomous driving.

BAT有关全球目标的豪言壮语不能全信。忽视有利可图的国内市场无异于犯错。投资银行高盛认为,到2020年,中国的在线零售市场规模将至少翻一番,达到1.7万亿美元。正如邓肯·克拉克(Duncan Clark)最近在他关于阿里巴巴的书中指出的那样,不管马云和其他互联网大佬在海外拓展过程中做出了什么引人瞩目的举动,“要脱离中国市场的强大引力可没那么容易。”但不论是在国内还是国外,有一点很明确:中国的互联网巨头不容忽视。

Grandiose BAT statements about global aims should be taken with a pinch of salt. It would be an error to neglect the profitable domestic market. Goldman Sachs, an investment bank, reckons that China’s online retail market will more than double in size by 2020, to $1.7trn. As Duncan Clark, author of a recent book on Alibaba, points out, whatever headlines Mr Ma and other internet bosses make with their overseas ventures, “it takes a lot to get away from the sheer gravity of China.” But at home and abroad, one thing is clear: China’s internet titans cannot be ignored.

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