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印度和东南亚:阿里巴巴与亚马逊的新战场

更新时间:2017-10-24 11:47:09 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

A Showdown Brews Between Amazon and Alibaba, Far From Home
印度和东南亚:阿里巴巴与亚马逊的新战场

SINGAPORE — From this concrete warehouse perched on the edge of a potentially vast new market for online shopping, the Alibaba Group of China hopes to beat Amazon one head of lettuce at a time.

新加坡——中国的阿里巴巴从这个位于一个拥有巨大潜力的网购新市场边上的水泥仓库出发,一棵生菜一棵生菜地击败亚马逊。

Under the glare of fluorescent lights, green-vested workers carefully wrap fruit, cheese and other perishables for delivery by vans to a growing group of Singaporeans who prefer to do their shopping online. On a nearby wall, printouts show the sorts of defects that customers have complained about in the past: overripe avocados, smelly spinach, rotten honeydews.

在荧光灯的强光下,穿着绿色马甲的工人仔细地将水果、奶酪和其他易腐食品包装好,用货车运送到群体越来越大的新加坡网购爱好者那里。附近的一面墙上,贴着一些纸,上面打印着用户曾经抱怨过的各种缺陷:鳄梨过熟,菠菜发臭,香瓜烂了。

“It’s getting better and better,” said Vikram Rupani, president of RedMart, an online grocery company based in Singapore that is part of Alibaba’s push into the region, “but it’s a continuous process that never ends.”

“情况越来越好,但这是一个持续的过程,永远不会有终点,”新加坡生鲜网购公司RedMart的总裁维克拉姆·鲁伯尼(Vikram Rupani)表示。这里是阿里巴巴在新加坡地区布局的一个据点。

Alibaba and Amazon already dominate the business of selling stuff online in their home markets. Increasingly, they are competing against each other on neutral ground.

阿里巴巴和亚马逊是各自国内市场的电商霸主。它们在中立区的竞争正在变得日益激烈。

Both are spending billions of dollars on Asia — particularly Southeast Asia and India — as they look for a place that could repeat China’s explosive transformation into the world’s biggest online shopping market.

两个公司都在亚洲花费了数十亿美元——特别是在东南亚和印度,它们希望找到一个地方,可以复制中国一举成为世界最大网购市场的那种爆炸式巨变。

Amazon has committed $5 billion to India, where it lures customers to sign up for its Prime service, which includes Western movies and television shows, for a small fraction of the $99 annual membership price in the United States. Alibaba has invested roughly $500 million for stakes in both Paytm — India’s largest mobile payments platform — and its e-commerce affiliate, Paytm Mall.

亚马逊承诺在印度投入50亿美元,吸引该国用户注册Prime会员,其中包括西方影视节目,而年费只是美国99美元(约合人民币650元)年费的几分之一。阿里巴巴在印度最大的移动支付平台Paytm及其电商公司Paytm Mall上有大约5亿美元的投资。

Alibaba’s bigger bet is in Southeast Asia. It has spent more than $2 billion to take control of Lazada, a five-year-old online shopping company based in Singapore and doing business in six countries. Last year, Lazada bought RedMart, the online retail grocery.

阿里巴巴在东南亚压下了更大的赌注。迄今它已经花费了逾20亿美元来控制位于新加坡的网购公司拉扎达(Lazada),该公司于5年前创办,目前在6个国家开展业务。拉扎达去年还收购了网上零售杂货店RedMart。

The promise is there, as the region’s young middle class grows and goes online. Southeast Asia’s e-commerce sales could total $88 billion by 2025, according to projections from Google and Temasek Holdings, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund. Volume was less than one-tenth that in 2015.

随着年轻的中产阶级人群的开始成长并开始使用网络,该地区商业前景可观。根据谷歌和新加坡主权财富基金淡马锡控股公司(Temasek Holdings)的预测,到2025年,东南亚的电商销售总额可达到880亿美元。比2015年增长10倍以上。

Over about the same period, India’s market could increase six times to a similar amount, Bain & Company, a consulting firm, projects.

咨询公司贝恩公司(Bain & Company)预测,在大约相同的时间段内,印度市场可能会有6倍增长,达到类似规模。

Alibaba and Amazon are seeking consumers like Janice Lee Fang, a Singaporean who decided she needed to buy a robot to amuse a 6-year-old daughter home sick from school.

阿里巴巴和亚马逊正在争取像新加坡人方丽(Janice Lee Fang)这样的消费者。方丽6岁的女儿在学校里会想家。为了逗女儿开心,她决定买一个机器人。

“I was thrilled,” said Ms. Fang, who said she also uses Alibaba’s services. “I had time to unbox it and teach her how to use it. It’s a last-minute shopping savior.”

“我乐坏了,”自称也使用了阿里巴巴的方丽说。“我有时间拆箱并教她怎么用。真是紧要关头的购物救世主。”

But Southeast Asia is no China. A diffuse area of 600 million people, the region is divided by politics, language and culture. Some places are modern, like Singapore. Other places lack the roads and other infrastructure to get people what they need.

但人口6亿的东南亚不是中国。这是一个松散的地区,政治、语言和文化不一。有些地方现代,比如新加坡。其他一些地方则缺乏让人们获取所需物品的公路和其他基础设施。

“It’s a mix of urban, semi-urban and rural areas, separated by large distances and — in the Philippines and Indonesia — by water,” said Mike Booker, a partner at the Southeast Asian arm of Bain. “Cash on delivery is still prevalent, and other local players are in the fray.”

“这是城市、城乡结合部和乡村地区的集合,被远距离和(在菲律宾和印度尼西亚的)水域分隔,”贝恩东南亚分公司的合伙人迈克·布克(Mike Booker)说。“货到付款依然很流行,其他的本土竞争者依然有竞争力。”

The challenges have forced Lazada, Alibaba’s biggest Southeast Asian operation, to get creative.

这些挑战迫使阿里巴巴在东亚最大的公司拉扎达要更有创造力。

In Vietnam, local post offices take customer returns and give cash refunds. In Malaysia, customers can collect merchandise from lockers at 7-Eleven stores. And in the Philippines, Lazada uses gas stations as places where merchants can drop off their goods for delivery personnel to pick up.

在越南,当地的邮局会收取客户退货并办理现金退款。在马来西亚,消费者可在7-11的储物柜里收货。在菲律宾,拉扎达可以让贩卖者把商品放在加油站,再让投递人员去取货。

“We’re in the super, super, super early days,” said Inanc Balci, who oversees Lazada operations in the Philippines.

“我们还处在非常非常非常早的阶段,”拉扎达在菲律宾的负责人伊南科·巴尔西(Inanc Balci)说。

Alibaba’s international arm has seen its latest quarterly sales more than double in a year, in part from Lazada’s contribution. Still, Lazada and its RedMart subsidiary remain a tiny, and unprofitable, part of Alibaba’s empire. Max Bittner, Lazada’s chief executive, said its Chinese parent has been willing to spend money to build its delivery capabilities and draw more customers.

阿里巴巴国际部见证了自己最近一个季度的销售额在一年时间里翻了一倍有余。这在一定程度上是拉扎达的功劳。但拉扎达和它的子公司RedMart仍是阿里巴巴帝国中一个极小的、不盈利的部分。拉扎达的首席执行官马克斯·比特纳(Max Bittner)说,企业的中国母公司愿意出钱打造它的货运能力,并吸引更多顾客。

“E-commerce is an economy of scale game,” Mr. Bittner said. “I don’t feel constrained in any way. I can go after this opportunity with the amount of firepower I need.”

“电子商务是一种规模经济,”比特纳说。“我不觉得在任何方面受到了限制。我可以有充分的资源去抓住这次机遇。”

Amazon so far counts Singapore as its only Southeast Asian market, though industry experts widely expect it will expand into other countries. An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment.

新加坡目前是亚马逊在东南亚唯一的市场,不过行业专家普遍预计它会进军其他国家。对此,亚马逊的发言人拒绝评论。

Until recently, direct competition between Alibaba and Amazon has been rare. Amazon has a modest presence in China. Alibaba sells goods in the United States through its AliExpress platform but has backed away from further expansion efforts.

不久前,阿里巴巴和亚马逊之间的直接竞争还很少。在中国,亚马逊势力微弱。在美国,阿里巴巴通过全球速卖通(AliExpress)平台销售商品,但没有进一步的扩张动作。

Southeast Asia could offer a test of their vastly different business models on neutral turf.

东南亚可能是它们迥异的商业模式在公平的场地上接受的一次考验。

Amazon owns more of the inventory it sells. By contrast, most of Lazada’s sales come from outside vendors who use its platform as a digital middleman to reach customers. That approach, which keeps costs low, is similar to what Alibaba does in China. But in China, the company’s Taobao platform has been accused of offering counterfeit goods. Alibaba says it is working to fight fakes.

就在售商品而言,亚马逊有着更大的库存。相比之下,拉扎达卖出的大部分商品来自外部供应商。它们把它作为一个数字中间商,通过其平台来接触消费者。这种方式能把成本控制在较低水平,与阿里巴巴在中国采取的方式类似。但在中国,该公司的淘宝平台被指售卖假货。阿里巴巴称其正在努力打假。

Alibaba has a long lead over Amazon and is building up its infrastructure across Southeast Asia. In Indonesia, for example, it took a minority stake in August in another online marketplace, Tokopedia. Experts say Amazon could fight back by offering online Western movies and television programs as it does in the United States, which could increase its appeal with younger customers.

在东南亚,阿里巴巴远远领先于亚马逊,并且正在东南亚各地修建基础设施。比如在印尼,阿里巴巴8月收购了另一家在线市场Tokopedia的少数股权。专家称,亚马逊可能会像在美国那样,通过在网上提供西方影视节目来作为反击。这可能会增加它对年轻消费者的吸引力。

Amazon stumbled in Singapore initially when the service proved too popular, forcing it to turn away customers. But since then the two companies have amped up their efforts to deliver more quickly to a growing group of customers.

起初,亚马逊在新加坡并不顺利。事实证明,相关服务太过受欢迎,迫使该公司将消费者拒之门外。但自那以后,两家公司加强努力,提升了向越来越大的顾客群体投递货物的速度。

At the RedMart warehouse on a recent visit, workers packed cartons — sometimes nine at a time — from bins holding piles of cereal boxes and canned fruits and vegetables. For those who offer ways to improve the process, merit awards include movie tickets, vouchers and cash of up to $1,000.

前不久去RedMart的仓库时,工作人员面对装着成堆的盒装麦片和水果蔬菜罐头的若干个大箱子,正在用纸箱打包——有时候是同时装九个。有办法改善这个流程的人可以获得包括电影票、购物券和最高1000美元(约合6600元人民币)现金在内的奖励。

Competing in the market is likely to be expensive, thanks to customer price cuts and rebates in addition to expansion costs.

因为老顾客价格优惠和返现,以及扩张成本,在这个市场上竞争的代价可能颇为高昂。

“It’s fabulous,” said Uma Parameswar, a Singaporean who works in fine arts management. Over two and a half years of using RedMart, she said, only once did she receive fruit that was less than fresh.

“太棒了,”从事艺术品管理的新加坡人乌马·帕拉梅斯瓦(Uma Parameswar)说。她说,在使用RedMart的两年半里,她只有一次收到了不那么新鲜的水果。

The enticements make her even more inclined to shop online. She says RedMart gives her a 5 percent discount on grocery bills plus discounts on using Uber’s ride-hailing and other services.

优惠让她更加倾向于网购。她说,除了使用优步(Uber)的叫车和其他服务时可享受折扣外,RedMart还在食品杂货上为她提供5%的折扣。

“It’s saved me probably $200 in the last three or four months,” she said. “It’s a fair bit.”

“过去三四个月里我可能省了200美元,”她说。“这可相当不少了。”

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