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阿里巴巴大举投资美国科技公司

更新时间:2014-8-1 23:02:33 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Alibaba Is Investing Huge Sums in an Array of U.S. Tech Companies
阿里巴巴大举投资美国科技公司

Alibaba Group, the Chinese Internet retailer, is coming to America with its checkbook wide open.

中国互联网零售商阿里巴巴集团带着敞开的支票簿来到美国。

In March, Alibaba made a $215 million investment in Tango, a messaging app. It recently contacted Snapchat, another messaging app that this year turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook, about making a big investment that would value the young company at $10 billion.

今年3月,阿里巴巴对即时通讯应用Tango进行了2.15亿美元(约合13亿元人民币)的投资。最近,它又找到另一家即时通讯应用公司Snapchat,希望进行一大笔投资。Snapchat今年拒绝了Facebook提出的30亿美元收购要约,而阿里巴巴的投资将让这家年轻公司的估值达到100亿美元。

There’s more: Alibaba participated in a $170 million round for Fanatics, an online sports memorabilia retailer. And on Thursday, Kabam, a video game start-up, announced that it has received a $120 million investment from Alibaba. The new round gives Alibaba a board seat and what is likely a significant stake in Kabam, which said it is now worth more than $1 billion.

这还没完:阿里巴巴参与了对体育纪念品网络零售商Fanatics的一轮1.7亿美元的投资。本周四,电子游戏初创公司Kabam宣布,得到了阿里巴巴1.2亿美元的投资。这笔投资使阿里巴巴获得了一个董事会席位,还很可能拿到了相当大的股权。Kabam表示,公司目前的估值已超过10亿美元。

The recent burst of activity — including a half-dozen investments in the United States over the past year or so — comes as the Internet behemoth prepares one of the most highly anticipated market debuts since Facebook’s two years ago. Alibaba is expected to begin trading in September at a market value of perhaps $200 billion, potentially making it one of the biggest initial public offerings ever.

最近,阿里巴巴频频出手——过去一年左右,在美国进行了六七笔投资。目前,这家互联网巨头正在准备上市。这是自两年前Facebook首次公开募股以来最受期待的一桩上市。预计阿里巴巴将于9月开始公开交易,其市值或将达到2000亿美元左右。这可能会是历史上规模最大的一次IPO。

It would be simple to declare that Alibaba, which became a tech powerhouse by amassing a sprawling collection of businesses in its home country, is trying to take its omnivorous approach to the United States, and it is willing to spend big to make that happen.

通过在中国国内聚合大量业务,阿里巴巴成为了科技业巨头。外界很容易宣称,阿里巴巴正试图把它的通吃政策带到美国,而且还愿意大把撒钱来实现这一点。

But the recent investments aren’t just about size. Alibaba is also rubbing elbows in the sometimes insular world of Silicon Valley-funded start-ups, where a handful of plugged-in financiers can help the company spot the next breakout smartphone app or e-commerce trend before it hits the mainstream.

然而,集团最近的投资并不仅仅是在扩大规模。阿里巴巴还在接触硅谷滋养的初创企业的圈子。这是一个时而与世隔绝的世界,其中五六家内行投资者可以帮助阿里巴巴锁定,哪些尚未成为主流的智能手机应用或电商趋势会脱颖而出。

“With investments like these, they get good products, they make a splash, and most importantly, they build connections and trust amongst the venture capitalists,” said Sameet Sinha, an Internet analyst with B. Riley & Company, a small investment firm.

小型投资公司B. Riley & Company的互联网行业分析师萨米特·辛哈(Sameet Sinha)说,“有了这种投资,他们就能得到好的产品,获取大量的曝光度,最重要的是,他们能与风险资本家建立联系和信任。”

A spokesman for Alibaba declined to comment on its investment strategy, though the Chinese company has outlined the principles behind its approach in documents filed for its I.P.O. In the formal language of regulatory papers, Alibaba said it wants to get more users, improve how they use its services and improve its customers relations.

阿里巴巴的发言人拒绝就其投资政策置评,不过,这家中国公司已经在它的IPO文件中罗列出了这些举动背后的原则。在提交给监管机构的文件中,阿里巴巴严肃地表示,它希望获得更多用户、改进用户使用其服务的方式,以及改善客户关系。

It is not so clear, of course, how investments as different as sports memorabilia and messaging apps fit neatly into that plan, but it is clear that Alibaba has made its North American investments a priority.

当然,目前尚不清楚像体育纪念品和即时通讯应用这种截然不同的投资项目怎么能很好地纳入这个规划,但我们可以清楚地看到,阿里巴巴把在北美的投资放在了优先位置。

They are led by Michael Zeisser, a native of France who formerly led the digital commerce division of Liberty Media. Mr. Zeisser was recruited by — and reports to — Joseph C. Tsai, Alibaba’s vice chairman.

牵头进行这些投资的是自由媒体(Liberty Media)电子商务部门的前主管迈克尔·泽瑟(Michael Zeisser)。他是法国人,由阿里巴巴执行副主席蔡崇信(Joseph C. Tsai)聘请,并向他汇报工作。

Given a broad mandate by Alibaba’s top management, Mr. Zeisser and his team have been charged with nothing less than turning their employer into a global Internet and e-commerce colossus.

鉴于阿里巴巴高层管理团队大胆放权,泽瑟及其团队的职责不亚于要把自己的雇主打造成为全球互联网和电子商务巨头。

“When you own 45 percent of the e-commerce market in China and you want to continue to grow, international market share is obviously a green field that you can go after,” said Eric Setton, Tango’s chief technology officer and co-founder.

“当你在中国的电商市场拥有45%的份额,并希望继续增长时,国际市场份额显然是你能追逐的一片新领域,”Tango首席技术官及联合创始人埃里克·塞顿(Eric Setton)说。

That has led to an array of investments in other seemingly disparate companies, including Lyft, a popular ride-sharing service that recently started operating in New York, and ShopRunner, an e-commerce delivery start-up.

这一点促成了对其他一些看上去不相干的公司的一系列投资,包括颇受欢迎的Lyft,以及电商派送初创企业ShopRunner。提供拼车服务的Lyft已于最近开始在纽约运营。

Though they may appear loosely connected, many of the stakes that Alibaba has taken have focused on mobile and e-commerce. Tango has hinted that it plans to introduce some form of shopping in its services, while Kabam offers Alibaba the chance to learn about in-app purchases.

尽管它们可能看上去没有太多相关性,但阿里巴巴下的许多赌注都以移动业务和电子商务为重。Tango暗示,计划在自己的服务中引入某种形式的购物,而Kabam也提供给了阿里巴巴了解应用内购买的机会。

Elsewhere, in recent months Alibaba has struck deals to buy full control of AutoNavi, a Chinese mapping service listed in the United States, and a 50 percent stake in one of China’s top soccer teams. According to some reports — and distressingly to some potential investors — Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma decided to buy the stake in Guangzhou Evergrande in about 15 minutes after having had drinks with the club’s owner.

其他方面,最近几个月,阿里巴巴已达成了全盘收购在美上市的中国地图服务商高德的协议,还收购了中国数一数二的一支足球队50%的股份。据一些报道称,在与广州恒大的老板一起喝酒后,阿里巴巴联合创始人马云在15分钟内便决定购买该俱乐部的股份。不过,这也让一些潜在投资者颇为担忧。

Alibaba’s investment plan is not aimed at directly competing with established American Internet heavyweights like Amazon and eBay, however. In its I.P.O. prospectus, Alibaba says that its investments will remain focused on China, where the company still sees enormous growth potential.

然而,阿里巴巴的投资计划并非旨在直接与亚马逊(Amazon)和eBay等美国老牌互联网巨头竞争。在其IPO招股书中,阿里巴巴表示,自己的投资依然立足国内。在中国,它仍然能看到巨大的增长潜力。

For the American start-ups in Alibaba’s embrace, there are benefits beyond the investment. Kabam, for instance, receives a direct line into China, one of the fastest growing smartphone and gaming markets of the past decade. Some 40 percent of global smartphone shipments in the first quarter of 2014 were bound for Chinese consumers, according to IDC, a research firm.

对受到阿里巴巴青睐的美国初创企业而言,除投资外,还有其他好处,比如获得直接进军中国市场的机会。过去10年,中国是增长最快的智能手机和游戏市场之一。根据调研企业国际数据公司(IDC)的统计,2014年一季度的全球智能手机出货量中,大约40%面向中国消费者。

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