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商业 - 科技

硅谷怎么看阿里巴巴?

Adam Lashinsky 2014年09月18日

阿里巴巴是竞争对手吗?还谈不上。但在投资和收购科技创业公司方面肯定算得上是一位活跃的伙伴。

聚焦阿里巴巴上市专题

· 阿里上千员工或分得人均数千万财富
· 阿里的收购野心及其背后的风险
· 阿里巴巴能从亚马逊和谷歌的IPO中借鉴什么
· 硅谷怎么看阿里巴巴?
· 阿里巴巴IPO:对投资者来说这是一笔“捡漏”的买卖

    华尔街十分看好本周阿里巴巴(Alibaba)上市的“钱景”,这家中国电子商务巨头有望募集逾200亿美元的资金。

    但在硅谷眼中,对阿里巴巴的看法却另有不同。虽然它在中国取得了令人不可小觑的成功,而且很快还将筹集巨额资金,但在美国科技界看来,无论是现在还是可预见的未来,阿里巴巴都无法对其核心市场构成挑战。同时,他们也认为,阿里巴巴已经成为在投资和收购新创科技企业方面的活跃伙伴。

    与其主要竞争对手腾讯(Tencent)和百度(Baidu)等一样,阿里巴巴的名气和利润都源自中国。目前,阿里巴巴只有约10%的营收来自中国市场之外,主要源自其国际电子商务业务全球速卖通。阿里巴巴的招股书显示,俄罗斯、巴西和美国是全球速卖通增长最快的地区。[《华尔街日报》(The Wall Street Journal)之前刚刚对阿里巴巴进军巴西市场进行了专题报道。]

    但在美国做生意却截然不同。硅谷高管圈对阿里巴巴十足重视,但他们往往倾向于认为,阿里巴巴及其中国同行之所以能在国内市场繁荣壮大,源自当地政府对中资互联网企业的保护,而美国企业则遭到排挤。谷歌(Google)、Facebook和eBay都在中国遭遇了麻烦,而中国科技巨头也尚未在美国取得有意义的进展。

    但具体到投资,阿里巴巴已经在美国市场有所建树。其从约翰•马龙的自由传媒(Liberty Media)挖来了经验丰富的交易高管迈克尔•赛泽,让他负责美国分公司发展。(很难想象一位中国业务拓展主管将其电子邮箱地址放在网上招揽投资。)他们还聘请了公关和投资者关系专家、美国前财长亨利•保尔森的新闻助理吉姆•威尔金森以及谷歌老将简•彭纳。很显然,阿里巴巴的这些招募活动主要是为了确保IPO顺利进行,但同样可以在今后开展美国业务时让他们派上用场。

    这些投资种类各异,金额不低,每一笔似乎都瞄准了潜在的海外竞争对手。阿里巴巴花费2亿多美元收购了Shoprunner 39%的股份,后者由雅虎前首席执行官斯科特•汤普森领导,是亚马逊金牌服务(Amazon Prime)的竞争对手。阿里巴巴最近还与多家美国风险投资公司共同入股了租车服务公司Lyft,这可能也是为了支持其在中国实施的出租车战略。上周米格尔•赫夫特在《财富》杂志网站(Fortune.com)上撰写了一篇有关该主题的文章。[事实上,租车行业是阿里巴巴支付战略的一部分,可能将因此与eBay和苹果公司(Apple)形成竞争关系。]阿里巴巴还斥资1.2亿美元入股了旧金山游戏开发商Kabam,后者已经在中国开设了工作室。

    通过IPO,阿里巴巴即将登陆美国资本市场,这是目前其筹集资金的最佳机会。以后阿里巴巴将如何在美国花这笔钱,将非常值得关注。(财富中文网)

    译者:Lina

    Wall Street is seeing green this week regarding the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba. It hopes to raise more than $20 billion.

    How Silicon Valley views Alibaba is another matter altogether. While respectful of Alibaba’s success in China and all that capital it shortly will have in its coffers, the U.S. tech scene views Alibaba as nearly a non-entity, now and for the foreseeable future, for potential competition in its core markets. At the same time, it sees Alibaba as already an active sparring partner for investments and, perhaps, acquisitions of tech startups.

    Like its major competitors Tencent and Baidu, Alibaba made its name—and its profits—in China. Non-Chinese revenues are about 10% of its total today, however, particularly coming from AliExpress, its global e-commerce business. According to Alibaba’s IPO prospectus, which you can read yourself if you have a few spare hours, Russia, Brazil and the U.S. are the highest-growth regions for AliExpress. (The other day The Wall Street Journal nicely covered Alibaba’s foray into Brazil.)

    Operating in the U.S. will be a different story. Silicon Valley executives absolutely are taking Alibaba seriously. But they tend to note that Alibaba and its peers thrived in a country that put its thumb on the scales in favor of Chinese Internet companies while keeping U.S. competitors at a distance. Google, Facebook, and eBay all have had their problems in China, while the Chinese giants haven’t yet really tried their hands meaningfully in the U.S.

    When it comes to investments, however, Alibaba has been making its presence felt. It hired Michael Zeisser, a seasoned dealmaking executive from John Malone’s Liberty Media, to run its U.S.-based corporate development. (It’s hard to imagine a Chinese biz-dev executive putting his email on the web to solicit investments.) It also has hired seasoned public-relations as well as investor-relations talent in Jim Wilkinson, a former press aide for Henry Paulson at the U.S. Treasury, and Jane Penner, a Google veteran. These U.S.-based hires undoubtedly were mostly about ensuring a smooth IPO, but they also will be available for any future push on U.S. soil.

    The investments themselves are varied and high dollar value, and each can be viewed as targeting a potential non-Chinese competitor. Alibaba plunked down more than $200 million for a 39% stake in Shoprunner, the Amazon Prime competitor headed by ex-Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson. More recently it joined several U.S. venture capital firms in investing in Lyft, which presumably buttresses its China-based taxi strategy that Miguel Helft wrote about last week on Fortune.com. (Taxis essentially are a payments play to Alibaba, putting it in potential conflict with the likes of eBay and now Apple.) Alibaba took a $120-million stake in San Francisco game developer Kabam, which already had a studio in China.

    For its IPO, Alibaba is coming to the U.S., its current best opportunity to raise capital. Watching how it spend that money in the U.S. will an interesting next chapter.

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