订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

商业 - 科技

无现金支付令美国人惊叹,中国科技创新领先世界

Clay Chandler 2017年06月13日

美国低估了中国,将中国的快速发展都归因到不公平的贸易做法上。对于美国来说,这种心态是很危险的。

《纽约时报》专栏作家汤姆•弗里德曼最近造访中国后,被中国惊人的科技创新速度震惊了。在他最近的专栏文章中,弗里德曼惊叹道,中国已经变成了一个无现金社会,“所有人无论买什么都用手机支付”,就连街上的乞丐都会用二维码。

在与中国最大的搜索引擎公司的老总和中国最大的移动外卖速递公司创始人深入交流之后,弗里德曼感叹道:“在这个时代,来自互联网和物联网的原始数据就是新时代的‘原油’。而中国有7亿网民每天在移动互联网上进行大量交易,这意味着中国正在积累起海量的数据,这些数据既可以用于判定趋势,也可以用于刺激新的人工智能业务。”弗里德曼得出这样一个结论:“美国低估了中国,将中国的快速发展都归因到不公平的贸易做法上。对于美国来说,这种心态是很危险的。”

弗里德曼说得很对。中国的崛起,特别是在电子商务、移动支付、大数据和物联网等领域的崛起,之所以令美国感到不安,主要有两个原因。在弗里德曼看来,第一个原因是在中国经济发展的过程中,中国领导人一直在全球化竞争中对本土企业进行保护,从而限制了外国企业接触到中国消费者的能力,而外企要想在华获得更大的市场,就得向中国投降,乖乖交出宝贵的知识产权。弗里德曼并未在文中说出第二个令美国感到不安的原因——中国领导人希望利用科技公司收集的这些数据,进一步收紧对国家和社会的掌控力度。

上周四,阿里巴巴集团发布的年销售额预测数据进一步证明了中国科技产业的实力。据阿里巴巴预测,2018财年,该公司的年销售额将突破340亿美元,较上年增长45%,且远远超过了分析师的预期。这个消息令华尔街激动不已。在开盘后仅仅几分钟,阿里股价就上涨12%,达到140.84美元,创历史新高。从今年年初到现在,阿里股价已经上涨了近50%,令哪些看衰阿里巴巴的人都无话可说了。目前阿里的年销售额仍落后于亚马逊的1360亿美元,但它的增长速度却是后者的两倍。

中国科技产业的创新速度之所以如此疯狂,是因为其产业内部并不缺乏竞争。中国的互联网三巨头阿里、腾讯、百度以及华为、小米、中兴等设备制造商都在纷纷捉对厮杀,并且都投入了数十亿美元的资金,以在国内外市场创造新的增长机会。比如本周,阿里影业刚刚收购了印度票务创业公司TicketNew的多数股权。中国的科技巨头都秉承着“越大越好”的理念,因为中国的消费者比较喜欢一站式的购物模式,也就是一个单一的平台能将他们引到所有需要的产品和服务上。

中国科技企业构建平台的创新速度也让西方竞争对手相形见绌。据《金融时报》本周报道,中国科技巨头正在竞相引入面部识别技术。比如阿里巴巴旗下的移动支付公司蚂蚁金服的4.5亿用户只需要用手机拍一张面部自拍,就可以登陆他们的在线钱包。百度、建设银行和滴滴出行也使用了面部识别技术来识别他们的员工或用户。另据《金融时报》报道,北京的一家名叫Face++的公司在第三轮融资中成功募集了1亿美元资本,而且该公司已经将其软件授权给了蚂蚁和滴滴。

而在美国,像谷歌、Nest和Facebook等科技公司在推动面部识别技术上都表现得异常谨慎,唯恐因为隐私问题而遭到消费者的抵制。然而中国公民在购买电话卡、订机票酒店时,都要刷一遍身份证,所以他们对于提交个人数据并不像美国人那样敏感。

据中国的商业杂志《财新》报道,蚂蚁金服正在稳步推动它的“芝麻信用”体系。芝麻信用会根据一系列标准,给用户打一个“财务可靠性”得分,这些评分标准包括用户的在线消费记录、是否按期偿还公共事业服务账单、是否按期偿还信用卡债等因素,以及用户所居住的城市、是否有房有车等等。据《财新》称,用户的得分甚至还会影响他们的亲朋好友的分数。

蚂蚁金服最近还推出一项新服务,如果用户的芝麻信用得分很高,那么他们就能更快获得日本和卢森堡等国的签证。不过《财新》也指出,蚂蚁金服“并没有明确说明什么样的人才是在芝麻信用看来‘信用度极佳的人’”,我们也没有办法确认芝麻信用的算法本身是否可靠。

中国的《网络安全法》已于今年6月1日起正式实行。据政府称,该法旨在保护私人用户的个人隐私。那么谁将成为《网络安全法》第一个开刀的对象呢?很可能是苹果公司。作为一家美国公司,苹果当年就是通过一部反抗“老大哥”的经典广告,从而树立起了它极富个性的品牌形象。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has emerged from a recent foray to China newly astonished by the breakneck pace of innovation here. In his latest column Friedman marvels that the Middle Kingdom has become a cashless society in which "everyone pays for everything with a mobile phone" and even beggars use QR codes.

After hobnobbing with the president of China's main search engine and the founder of its largest mobile food delivery company, Friedman rhapsodizes that, "in an age when raw data from the Internet of people and the Internet of things is the new oil, the fact that China has 700 million people doing so many transactions daily on the mobile Internet means it's piling up massive amounts of information that can be harvested to identify trends and spur new artificial intelligence operations." His conclusion: Americans "underestimate China — and attribute all of its surge in growth to unfair trade practices — at our peril."

Just so. And yet the arc of China's rise — particularly in areas like e-commerce, mobile payment, Big Data and the Internet of Things — is troubling in two ways. The first Friedman acknowledges: as China's economy has grown, its leaders have continued to protect local companies from global competition, restricting foreign firms' access to Chinese customers, and forcing them to surrender intellectual property as the price of wider market access. The second reason for concern Friedman leaves unsaid: China's rulers hope to use the trove of data its tech firms are collecting to tighten the grip of an already authoritarian state.

On Thursday, Alibaba offered further evidence of China's growing tech prowess by forecasting its annual sales will surge to more than $34 billion in the 2018 fiscal year, a 45% gain over last year and far higher than analysts' estimates. The announcement inspired rapture on Wall Street. In the first minutes of trading, investors bid BABA's stock price up 12% to $140.84, an all-time high. The stock is up nearly 50% so far this year, confounding naysayers. Alibaba's annual sales still trail Amazon's $136 billion, but they are growing twice as fast.

The pace of innovation in China's tech sector is so frantic because its largest players — the big three Internet companies, Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu, and device makers like Huawei, Xiaomi and ZTE — are locked in battle, and pumping billions into new growth opportunities at home and abroad. Alibaba last week reportedly paid $81 million for an 18% stake in Lianhua, one of China's largest grocery chains. This week, Alibaba Pictures bought a majority stake in Indian ticketing startup TicketNew. The assumption is that bigger is better because Chinese consumers will gravitate to a one-stop-shopping model where a single platform connects them to all the goods and services they seek.

The race to build such platforms has spawned innovations that give Western competitors pause. The Financial Times reports this week that Chinese tech giants are barreling forward in the use of face recognition technologies. Alibaba's mobile payments affiliate, Ant Financial, allows its 450 million users to log into their online wallets by taking a selfie. Baidu, China Construction Bank, and ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing use the technologies in identify employees as well as customers. A Beijing-based company called Face++ has raised $100 million in its third round of financing, according to the FT, and has licensed its software to Ant and Didi.

U.S. companies like Google, Nest and Facebook have been squeamish about pushing face recognition technologies, fearing backlash from customers concerned about privacy. But China's citizens, who are obliged to slide ID cards into chip readers to set up mobile phone accounts, make travel reservations and book hotels, seem less fussed about surrendering personal data.

Meanwhile, Caixin, a Chinese business magazine, reports Ant is steadily expanding use of its "Sesame Credit" system, which assigns customers a "financial reliability" score according to criteria such as their online spending records, how regularly they pay their utility bills or credit cards, and other factors such as what city they live in, whether they own a house or car. Caixin says the ranking even factors in the scores of acquaintances.

Ant recently introduced a new service to expedite visa applications to Japan and Luxembourg for customers with high Sesame Credit scores. Caixin notes that Ant has offered "no clear indication of what exactly constitutes Sesame's definition of an 'extremely creditworthy person'" or whether the algorithms underlying the rankings are themselves reliable.

Should Chinese customers worry about those algorithms? After all, they make life more convenient, and Western financial institutions use credit rating systems too. Critics say gains in Big Data and artificial intelligence are more insidious in China than the West because China's political system offers far fewer protections for individual rights. Some fear that in China, "Fourth Industrial Revolution" technologies are setting the stage for an Orwellian distopia.

On June 1, China implemented a sweeping new cybersecurity law the government says was designed to protect the personal information of private users. The first business to run afoul of those new rules? Apple, the American company that defined its brand with iconic ads rebelling against "Big Brother."

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏