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The slowing Chinese economy may beclaiming some unexpected victims: without its robust engine, many techstart-ups relying on China’s fast growth for success are being cast out.

中國經濟放緩可能會帶來一些意想不到的犧牲品:由于缺乏強勁的引擎,許多依靠中國快速增長取得成功的新興科技公司正被淘汰。

Despite healthy capitalisation,investors are finding that some companies’ underlying technologies may not beas innovative as hoped. And even after a banner year for venture capitalfunding in 2018, some investors predict that as many as 90 per cent of Chinesetech start-ups are doomed to fail.

盡管資本化狀況良好,但投資者發現,一些公司的基礎技術可能不像預期的那樣具有創新性。甚至在2018年風投融資大好的一年之后,一些投資者預測,多達90%的中國科技初創企業注定要倒閉。

“The market is going through a severeselection process,” said Weijian Shan, chairman and CEO of PAG, a HongKong-based equity firm managing US$30 billion. “Only those with true technologyand an understanding of risk control are able to survive.”

“市場正在經歷一個嚴峻的選擇過程,”香港一家股權公司PAG董事長兼首席執行官魏建山說,該公司管理著300億美元。“只有那些擁有真正的技術和對風險控制的理解的人才能生存。”



In other words, China still lacks the deep repository ofinnovation know-how for fundamental tech breakthroughs compared with countriessuch as Israel, Japan and the US.

換言之,與以色列、日本和美國等國相比,中國仍然缺乏深厚的創新知識庫,無法實現根本性的技術突破。

As a weakened economy can no longersupport start-ups as it did in the past decade, Chinese companies face a hardreality: stand on the quality of their technologies or fail. The moment oftruth is dawning on an industry that has in recent years been touted as a miracleand a source of domestic pride.

由于一個衰弱的經濟體不再像過去十年那樣支持初創企業,中國企業面臨著一個嚴峻的現實:要么堅持技術的質量,要么失敗。真相正在該行業浮現,這個行業近年來一直被吹捧為一個奇跡和一個國民驕傲的源泉。

The Chinese market is now experiencingwhat legendary investor Warren Buffett once observed: “It’s only when the tidegoes out that you learn who has been swimming naked.”

中國市場現在正經歷著傳奇投資者沃倫•巴菲特(WarrenBuffett)曾經說過的:“只有當潮水退去時,你才能知道誰在裸泳。”

Globally, tech innovation is seen as apowerful force that can thrust China into a role of technological dominance.The issue has since become a major concern for Washington and governmentsaround the world that it helped trigger US President Donald Trump’s trade waragainst China last year.

在全球范圍內,技術創新被視為一股強大的力量,可以推動中國成為技術主導者。這個問題已經成為華盛頓和世界各國政府的一個主要關注點,它也刺激了美國總統唐納德·特朗普去年發動了對華貿易戰。



Ironically, while much of the world ismoving to contain China’s tech ambitions, domestically, investors arequestioning the nature of companies’ innovations.

具有諷刺意味的是,盡管世界上許多國家都在努力遏制中國在國內的技術野心,但投資者卻在質疑中國企業創新的本質。

Cracks have begun to show, with a numberof recent flops catching investors off guard. The once high-flying bike-sharingoperator Ofo, whose short-lived success was fostered by the large Chinese population,is an example

裂縫已經開始顯現,最近的一些失敗讓投資者措手不及。曾經飛黃騰達的自行車共享運營商ofo就是一個例子,它的短暫成功是由中國大量人口培養出來的。

Founded by five cycling enthusiasts atTsinghua University in 2014, Ofo’s valuation shot up to US$1 billion less thantwo years after its launch in 2015. Membership rose to a whopping 200 millionat its peak but the business model, which has high operating costs, could notbe sustained. After pulling in as much as US$2.2 billion in venture capital andattempting an ambitious expansion outside China, Ofo pulled out of Australia,Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, India and Israel in July and laid offmost of its US workforce.

由清華大學五位自行車愛好者于2014年創立的OFO,在2015年推出不到兩年的時間里,其估值飆升至10億美元。會員人數在頂峰時達到了2億,但經營成本高的商業模式無法維持。在引進高達22億美元的風險投資,并試圖在中國境外進行雄心勃勃的擴張后,海外辦公室于7月撤出澳大利亞、奧地利、捷克共和國、德國、印度和以色列,并解雇了大部分美國員工。

It left its lead investor, Alibaba,which led a US$866 million funding round only a year ago, Hony Capital andCitic Group holding the bag.

僅在一年前,它的主要投資者阿里巴巴就獲得了8.66億美元的融資,弘毅資本和中信集團則獨占鰲頭。

Some attribute Ofo’s collapse to Mobike,a better-funded competitor that was launched the same year. But Mobike, boughtby Chinese food-to-taxi app giant Meituan Dianping in 2018 for US$2.7 billion,is also in trouble. In early March, it applied to surrender its bicycle-sharinglicence in Singapore, its latest attempt to pull out of overseas markets.

摩拜是同一年推出的一個資金更雄厚的競爭對手,它的倒閉也有一定的原因。但被中國食品送門應用巨頭美團點評以27億美元收購的摩拜也陷入了困境。三月初,該公司申請放棄其在新加坡的自行車租賃許可證,這是該公司最近一次試圖退出海外市場。

“We have seen too much capital chasingtoo few good ideas,” said China Merchants Bank’s Liu. “So when they saw aseemingly good idea, all the money rushed in and lots of it was lost quickly.”

“我們已經看到過多的資本追逐過少的好主意,”招商銀行的劉說。“所以當他們看到一個看起來不錯的主意時,所有的錢都沖了進來,很多錢就丟光了。”

Other Chinese unicorns have alsocrashed. Aiwujiwu, an online property listings platform, ceased operations atthe end of January and is being liquidated, according to news reports. Foundedin March 2014, the firm had five funding rounds in 18 months, obtaining US$305million and a valuation of US$1 billion. GGV Capital and Hillhouse were amongthe major investors.

其他中國獨角獸也墜毀了。據新聞報道,網上房地產上市平臺愛屋及烏1月底停止運營,目前正在進行清算。該公司成立于2014年3月,18個月內進行了5輪融資,獲得3.05億美元,估值10億美元。GGVCapital和Hillhouse是主要投資者之一。

Another online property platform,Pinganfang.com, founded by the Ping An Insurance Group in 2014, folded onJanuary 11.

另一個在線pinganfang.com物業平臺,由平安保險集團于2014年11月1日成立,于1月11日停運。



Even the largest growth companies arenot immune. China’s ride-hailing operator Didi Chuxing, which in December wasvalued at US$56 billion, reported losses in the hundreds of millions last year,and its planned IPO has seemed to fizzle.

即使是最大的成長型公司也不能幸免。去年12月價值560億美元的中國叫車運營商滴滴出)報告稱,去年損失數億美元,其計劃的首次公開募股似乎已經失敗。

Despite the failures, China continues tobe the hottest area for venture capital. Overall, Greater China – China,Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau – completed US$107 billion in venture deals lastyear, according to data provider Preqin. Seven of the world’s 10 largest dealsannounced in 2018 were China-based companies.

中國將繼續成為風險資本的熱點地區。大中國,包括中國臺灣、香港和澳門-根據數據提供者Preqin,在過去一年中共計達到了1070億美元的風險交易費用。2018年宣布的全球十大交易商中,有七個是中國公司。



“We need better entrepreneurs withbetter imaginations,” said China Merchants Bank’s Liu. “The most importantthing Chinese entrepreneurs need today is a real ability to innovate.”

“我們需要更好的企業家和更好的想象力,”招商銀行的劉說。“中國企業家現在最需要的是真正的創新能力。”