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阿里上季增长超预期,加速布局线下“新零售”

更新时间:2018-2-2 19:36:49 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Alibaba’s Online Growth Surges, Even as It Looks Offline
阿里上季增长超预期,加速布局线下“新零售”

HONG KONG — The Alibaba Group, the Chinese online shopping giant, has become so big that it is looking for growth by forging into new territory: the offline world.

香港——中国在线购物巨头阿里巴巴集团已经大到一定程度,以至于它要为寻求增长开拓线下市场这个新领域。

Alibaba has snapped up stakes in grocers and in an electronics chain over the past three years, a perhaps counterintuitive series of moves for a company that helps consumers in China buy products with their smartphones. In part, the push is driven by the eventual maturation of its online business.

在过去的三年里,阿里巴巴已经收购了食品百货店和一个电子产品连锁店的股份。对于这家帮助中国消费者用智能手机购物的公司来说,这也许是一个违反直觉的做法。这种做法在某种程度上受其在线业务的最终成熟所驱动。

For now, however, online shopping still rules the roost.

但就目前而言,网上购物仍是主宰。

Alibaba on Thursday reported a one-third rise in profit for the three months that ended in December, on revenue that rose by more than half. The revenue growth rate was its slowest in a year but still came in better than expected.

阿里巴巴周四公布了截至去年12月的第三季度财报,公司第三季度利润与一年前相比增长36%,营收增长50%以上。虽然营收增长速度是一年来最慢的,但仍好于预期。

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Investors are betting that Alibaba’s run will continue. The company’s stock more than doubled last year, installing it firmly in the technology world’s major league. Alibaba’s market capitalization now exceeds half a trillion dollars, making it smaller than Alphabet and Amazon but comparable to Facebook and China’s other internet colossus, Tencent Holdings.

投资者押注阿里巴巴将继续成功。该公司的股票价格去年增长了一倍多,使之稳当地进入技术世界一流队伍的行列。阿里巴巴的市值现已超过5000亿美元,虽然不如Alphabet和亚马逊(Amazon),但可与Facebook及中国另一家互联网巨头腾讯控股相提并论。

Still, a pullback in growth is inevitable for a company with Alibaba’s reach.

尽管如此,对阿里巴巴这样的公司而言,增长的回落是不可避免的。

The company will have a harder time finding Chinese consumers who aren’t already online. Smartphone sales are flattening out. Although economic growth still looks strong, Alibaba will have to work harder to rake in more revenue from its online marketplaces. Its other businesses outside retail, like online video and cloud computing, still lose money, and its overseas expansion hasn’t yet paid off.

公司将很难找到尚未上网的中国消费者。智能手机销量正趋于平稳。尽管经济增长看似依然强劲,但是,阿里巴巴要从其在线市场获得更多收入的话,将不得不作出更大的努力。公司在零售之外的其他业务,如在线视频和云计算上仍然亏损,其海外扩张也尚未带来回报。

The company has lifted its recent results by offering more and better services to the vendors on its platforms. But it is also eyeing the 84 percent of physical goods sales that still take place offline in China.

阿里巴巴通过为其平台上的供应商提供更多更好的服务提升了其最近的业绩。但公司的目光也在转向中国仍在线下进行的84%的实体商品销售。

Alibaba has been pouring cash into experiments in what its founder, Jack Ma, calls “new retail”: a kind of teched-up re-envisioning of how people shop in store. In particular, it hopes to gather more detailed user data, which could help it offer more personalized services and ads to its customers online and off.

阿里巴巴正为在其创始人马云称之为“新零售”领域进行的试验投入大量现金。“新零售”指的是对人们如何在商店购物的一种基于技术的重新构想;特别地,它希望阿里巴巴收集更详细的用户数据,这将有助于公司为其线上和线下的客户提供更加个性化的服务和广告。

In that respect, the company has a head start on Amazon, which paid more than $13 billion for Whole Foods last year. In 2015, Alibaba struck a deal to buy a stake in Suning, an electronics retailer. It took control of Intime Retail, which runs department stores and malls, early last year. In November, it bought a $2.9 billion slice of Sun Art, one of China’s largest grocery operators.

在这方面,阿里巴巴走在了亚马逊的前面。亚马逊去年为收购全食超市(Whole Foods)支付了逾130亿美元。2015年,阿里巴巴与电子产品零售商苏宁达成协议,收购了后者的股份;去年年初,阿里巴巴买下了银泰(Intime Retail),这家企业经营百货商场和购物中心等实体店;去年11月,阿里巴巴斥资29亿美元入股中国最大的大卖场运营商之一:高鑫(Sun Art)零售有限公司。

These brick-and-mortar partners are being fitted with Alibaba’s technology. At the same time, the company is building its own chain of stores, called Hema Xiansheng — the name is a Chinese pun on “Mr. Hippopotamus” — that combine a fresh-food market, a restaurant and facilities for home deliveries. Alibaba also debuted a cashier-free minimart last July — well before Amazon opened its own automated convenience store last month.

这些实体合作伙伴正在配上阿里巴巴的技术。与此同时,阿里巴巴也在建立一个自己的连锁商店,店名是“盒马鲜生”,与“河马先生”谐音,这个连锁店将把生鲜食品市场、餐馆,以及提供住宅配送服务的设施结合起来。去年7月,阿里巴巴还开张了一家没有收银员的小超市,比亚马逊上个月开张的自己的全自动化便利商店早了好几个月。

“Some of Alibaba’s ‘new retail’ initiatives have shown quite promising signs of initial success,” said Jialong Shi, an analyst with Nomura, singling out Hema. Still, he said, “these initiatives may require a few more years of incubation before we can see profits.”

“阿里巴巴‘新零售’的一些举措已经显示出了相当有希望的初步成功迹象,”野村证券(Nomura)分析师史家龙说。不过,他表示,“在看到利润前,这些举措可能还需要几年的孵化期。”

Another challenge: Tencent, Alibaba’s biggest rival, is getting into fresh food and traditional retail, too.

另一个挑战是阿里巴巴最大的竞争对手腾讯,腾讯也在涉足生鲜食品和传统零售业。

Tencent is the world’s largest video game company. It also runs WeChat, China’s most popular messaging and social media app.

腾讯是全球最大的电子游戏公司,也是中国最流行的短信和社交媒体应用“微信”的运营商。

But Tencent is also charging into the old-fashioned shopping business. In December, it bought a stake in Yonghui Superstores, a large supermarket chain. It is weighing an investment in the China operations of Carrefour, the grocer and retailer headquartered in France. It is also leading the purchase of a $5.4 billion stake in Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties, a mall operator and part of the troubled Dalian Wanda conglomerate.

但腾讯也在向传统的购物行业进军。去年12月,腾讯收购了大型连锁超市永辉超市的股份。公司正在考虑对总部位于法国的食品百货零售商家乐福(Carrefour)的中国业务进行投资。此外,腾讯也是斥资340亿元人民币(约合54亿美元)收购大连万达商业地产股份的财团的牵头者。万达商业地产是陷入困境的大连万达集团的一部分,主要经营购物中心。

For now at least, analysts do not expect Alibaba and Tencent to end up owning rival alliances of stores. Tencent primarily seems to want to create more opportunities for people to use its mobile payment service, WeChat Pay. It is also hunting for new clients for its cloud computing business.

至少从目前来看,分析师们并不认为阿里巴巴和腾讯会最终拥有许多相互竞争的商店联合体。腾讯看来主要是想为人们创造更多的使用其移动支付服务“微信支付”的机会。腾讯也在为其云计算业务寻找新客户。

“It’s very hard for me to imagine that Tencent would fully own and operate a supermarket on its own,” Mr. Shi of Nomura said.

“我很难想象腾讯会靠自己的力量完全拥有并运营超市,”野村证券的史家龙说。

For both Alibaba and Tencent, though, creating more points of contact with their customers helps them amass more user data. This is one reason the companies are investing heavily in artificial intelligence, which helps them make sense of the boatloads of user information they are hauling in every minute.

但对阿里巴巴和腾讯来说,与其客户建立更多的接触点,可以帮助它们积累更多的用户数据。这也是这些公司正把大笔资金投入到人工智能方面的原因之一,人工智能帮助它们从时时刻刻都在采集的大量用户信息中得到有意思的信息。

“They not only have the largest data sets, but they have data sets tied to customers that they can identify,” Kirk Boodry, an analyst with New Street Research, said. “The potential for A.I.-led monetization growth, we think, is still at a very early stage.”

“它们不仅拥有最大的数据集,还拥有与它们可识别的客户相联的数据集,”新街研究公司(New Street Research)分析师柯克·布德里(Kirk Boodry)说。“我们认为,人工智能带动的赚钱机会增长的潜力仍处于非常早期的阶段。”

Also on Thursday, Alibaba said it would acquire a one-third stake in the parent company of Alipay, one of China’s two main online payment services. The two sides agreed in 2014 to give Alibaba the right to acquire the stake. The two companies used to be one until Mr. Ma took the Alipay operations out and formed a separate company.

阿里巴巴在周四还宣布,将收购支付宝母公司三分之一的股份,支付宝是中国两大在线支付服务之一。双方曾在2014年达成赋予阿里巴巴收购股权的协议。在马云将支付宝的业务剥离出去并成立一家独立的公司之前,这两家公司曾经是一家。

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