Investors are besotted with digital China. Two booming internet firms show why
投资者对数字中国心醉神迷。两家崛起的互联网公司说明了原由

【双语】情迷网购 E-shopping frenzy-书迷号 shumihao.com

Mr Liu insists these costs can easily be dialled back. Experience of other marketplaces suggests otherwise. Uber, which also matches sellers (drivers) with buyers (riders), has been perpetually loss-making. Like Uber, Pinduoduo enjoys some “network effects”—the more buyers use its app, the more sellers it draws, who in turn attract new buyers, and so on. But, again as in ride-hailing, buyers and sellers face few costs in switching to another app that offers a better deal. JD.com and Alibaba have already launched Pinduoduo clones to their vast user base.

九鼎坚称这些成本会很容易缩减。但其他平台的经验表明情况并非如此。同样是匹配卖家(司机)和买家(乘客)的优步始终在亏损。和优步一样,拼多多也受益于一定的“网络效应”——使用平台的买家越多,吸引来的卖家就越多,进而又引来新的买家,如此循环。但是,同样和网约车类似的是,如果另一个应用更划算,买家和卖家切换过去并不用付出什么代价。京东和阿里巴巴已经面向各自庞大的用户群推出了拼多多的克隆版。

The market is giving Pinduoduo the benefit of the doubt. The pandemic appears to have done it no harm; cooped-up Chinese consumers have turned to the firm for necessities and, sometimes, a dose of retail therapy. With negligible business outside China, it is, like Meituan, shielded from the Sino-American tech war making life difficult for TikTok, with its mostly non-Chinese users, or Huawei, China’s telecoms champion. White House threats to expel Chinese firms from American exchanges have not dampened investors’ enthusiasm. Nor has the sudden departure of Mr Huang, who stepped down as its chief executive on July 1st and cut his stake in the company from 43% to 29% (he remains chairman and holds 81% of voting rights).

市场暂时还是认同拼多多的说法。这次疫情似乎并没有对它造成伤害:闭门不出的中国消费者已经开始在拼多多上购买必需品,有时还买点别的慰劳自己。由于其海外业务微不足道,它和美团一样并未受到中美科技战的冲击;相比之下,用户主要在中国以外的TikTok或者中国电信龙头华为的日子很难过。白宫威胁要将中国公司逐出美国交易所,但这并没有扑灭投资者的热情。黄峥的突然离职也没有影响投资者——他于7月1日辞去了首席执行官一职,并将持股比例从43%减至29%(他仍担任董事长,并拥有81%的投票权)。

Meituan’s path to riches is clearer. It ended last year in the black for the first time. Its profitable food and travel arms have been gaining market share from rivals (such as Ele.me, Alibaba’s food-delivery app, and Ctrip, China’s biggest travel agency). That gives its loss-making divisions financial breathing room.

美团的致富之路更加清晰。去年该公司首次实现了年度盈利。其盈利的外卖和旅游业务不断抢夺竞争对手的市场份额(例如阿里巴巴的外卖应用饿了么和中国最大的旅行社携程)。公司亏损的部门因而在财务上得到了喘息的机会。

Ultimately, both firms embody the excitement over digital China’s bright prospects. But TAMP will only become the new BAT if both firms can match Tencent’s and Alibaba’s consistently fat profits. ■

归根结底,这两家公司都体现了人们对数字中国光明前景的兴奋之情。但只有当它们能够像腾讯和阿里巴巴那样持续创造丰厚利润时,BAT才会变为TAMP。