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中国投资者在2018年都关注什么

Polina Marinova 2017年12月24日

近日《财富》对童士豪进行了采访,请他谈谈中国的一些新兴趋势,比如近来火遍全中国的共享单车风潮,以及他对数字加密货币的看法。

童士豪是纪源资本的任事股东,他从事中美投资已经有十年以上。他投资的公司包括小米、爱彼迎(Airbnb)、Wish和muscal.ly等。

近日《财富》对童士豪进行了采访,请他谈谈中国的一些新兴趋势,比如近来火遍全中国的共享单车风潮,以及他对数字加密货币的看法。

《财富》:说说你对中国投资界的总体感观。

童士豪:中国风投界是从90年代中期起步的,当时,资本被投资到了从零售到自然资源等一切能生钱的东西上。大约过了10年左右的一个周期,人们开始意识到风口越来越多地来自与科技相关的投资,尤其是与互联网有关的领域。

互联网和智能手机让很多人成了购物者。打个比方,很多人愿意在一个好的产品上花费大量时间——比如微信,中国人的这种爱好甚至超过了美国人。由于中国的移动端用户基数非常大,现在中国移动支付市场的规模已经是美国的11倍之多。中国有14亿人口,其中智能手机用户已达7亿。但这个占有率也只有50%,也就是说还有很大的增长空间。由于人们愿意花时间在移动产品上,这也更加便于企业家打造新的移动应用来服务消费者和小企业。这些都使整个国家变得更高效了,因为现在用户、消费者、供应商和渠道都可以在网上开发,因此要比以往在线下开发高效得多。

人们把他们的钱都投资到哪了?

童士豪:不少人把更多的钱投资到了教育上,以打造利用移动互联网或远程学习技术的下一代互联网公司。比如我们就投资了“流利说”,它的AI学习算法使用户可以与它进行对话,它还能告诉用户,要想把英语说得更好,他们还有哪些方面需要提高。

另一个趋势是交通。滴滴出行收购了优步的中国业务,它现在还在向其他交通领域积极扩张。共享单车也是继网约车之后的第二个热门领域,很多公司都拿到了风投和私募以及腾讯、阿里等大公司的战略投资。

我们看到零售领域也出现了颠覆。比如阿里巴巴等公司已经从线上发展到了线下,开设了一些基于互联网技术的实体店和超市。你进到这些实体店里,会发现每个商品都有一个二维码,扫一扫就能看到关于它的详细信息,你可以当场购买,也可以在网上下单。

中国搜索引擎巨头百度宣布投资100亿元人民币研发自动驾驶技术。蔚来资本据说也计划融资5亿美元进军汽车产业。看来中国对电动汽车和无人驾驶的兴趣越来越高了。原因是什么?

童士豪:在中国,交通拥堵是个大问题。每天都至少有2000万到2500万人住在北京。在这样一座超大型城市里,大约有20%的人拥有汽车。北京的交通甚至比纽约还要糟糕,因此政府强制执行了尾号限行制度,车主每周都有两天不能开车。这就是为什么人们如此青睐网约车、零排放汽车等解决方案。

你认为无人驾驶汽车何时才能在中国成为一个“大现象”?

童士豪:我认为可能不到五年。

有人说中国的共享单车经济是个泡沫,现在有些创业公司已经关门了。你对共享单车热怎么看?

童士豪:2000年以来我们投资过的每一个领域都曾被称为泡沫。在共享单车泡沫以前,还有网约车泡沫、外卖泡沫、电商泡沫等等。但中国以外的人不了解的是,随着很多资金倒入一个领域,这个领域必然有一个快速增长期。过了头三年,一般就会有两三个行业领军者出现了。比如电商领域有阿里和京东,网约车领域有滴滴,共享单车领域有摩拜、Ofo和哈罗单车三家。

如果你投资得早的话,一旦企业通过并购方式等实现有机增长,成为一家规模可观的企业,那么等你有了市场份额,你就可以赚钱了。

我们发现,中国的创业公司在前三到五年增长得比美国公司还快。中国的创业团队从早上九点工作到晚上九点、每周工作六天并不少见,因为他们知道自己必须在两三年里成为行业的前三甲,所以他们都想尽快实现这一目标。在美国,很多创业者纯粹是出于乐趣创业的,所以你今天做也好,两天或者一周以后做也好都无所谓——跟跑马拉松差不多。而在中国,决定一切的就是头三年。

中国以外的公司如何享受这种增长红利?

童士豪:你要有好的本地合作伙伴。我们在与爱彼迎合作时,就对他们的在华经营策略花了很多时间。你需要有人为你提供当地的知识和关系,这样你才能在中国顺利招聘、取得必要的许可证和建立分支机构。

区块链技术是一种新生事物,现在人人都在谈论数字加密货币。你认为数字加密货币在中国的前景如何?

童士豪:中国政府十分清楚区块链技术和各种数字加密货币能做什么。在促进B2B跨境交易上,他们对区块链的态度是比较开放的。不过他们担心它会因为投机行为而演变成泡沫,从而导致问题。

中国最近禁止了首次代币发售(ICO)业务,称其涉及传销问题。你认为中国未来会对ICO解禁吗?

童士豪:我不认为这一政策未来会有变化。很多时候,我们会告诉投资者投资不同的金融资产——目前主要是国内的股票和房地产。不过为了获取收益,他们也愿意针对ICO等新生事物进行投机。而政府认为,这些资金应该投资到已经在中国股市上市的那些好公司上。

中国风投界2018年有哪些情况值得期待?

童士豪:我认为将会有更多的教育公司获得融资。消费者对优质教育服务的需求是很高的,而师资资源在中国则是参差不齐的。通过远程学习和移动互联网,这个问题会随着时间的推移得到解决。

我们认为,人工智能技术将被应用到很多行业部门,进而提高这些行业的效率。人工智能的存在应该是为了满足多种用途——不管是用于企业客户服务还是电商公司。

在美国,除了脸书、Instagram和Snap等少数公司之外,社交媒体领域的创新已经很少了。但是在中国,我们看到用户的兴趣点更多,市场也更加碎片化。有些微型社交网络正在以移动APP的形式出现,它们瞄准的是一些特定的兴趣群体。另外在内容消费、知识消费、娱乐消费上,中国的创新速度也将比美国更快。

最后,看看中国在这些领域的创新,我认为应该有更多美国公司向中国学习,更多地吸取他们的做事原则。我们自己投资的一些公司已经开始向中国的电商公司取经了。我认为如果美国公司保持开放的心态,勇于学习那些在中国这样的巨大市场里取得了成功的经验,则美国团队完全可以比其他国家更快地走向全球化。

译者:贾政景

Hans Tung, a managing partner at GGV Capital, has been a U.S.-China investor for more than a decade. His portfolio includes Xiamoi, Airbnb, Wish, and muscal.ly.

Fortune spoke with Tung about some of the emerging trends in China, the bike-sharing craze sweeping the country, and his thoughts on the future of crypto.

FORTUNE: Give me a general sense of China’s investment landscape.

TUNG: The Chinese venture capital space started in the mid-1990s. Back then, money was invested in anything that could make money — anything from retail to natural resources. After about a 10-year period, people started to realize that more and more of the exits were coming from technology-related investments, in particular around Internet-related sectors.

Internet access and smartphones turned a lot of people into shoppers. People were willing to spend a lot of time on a good product like WeChat, for example — even more so than the people in the U.S. The mobile payment market in China is 11x the size of the mobile payment market in the U.S. because there are so many users on mobile in China. Now, there are 700 million in smartphones on a population of $1.4 billion. That’s only 50% penetration with a lot more room to grow. People willing to spend time on mobile makes it easier for entrepreneurs to build new apps serving consumers and small businesses. It makes the country more efficient because there are users, consumers, suppliers, and channels developed on the Internet, which is much more efficient than anything that could be developed offline.

Where are people investing their money?

TUNG: People are investing more in education to build the next generation of Internet companies leveraging mobile internet or distance learning. We invested in Liulishuo, which has an AI learning algorithm allowing users to speak to it, and it is able to tell them what areas they need to improve in order to be better English speakers.

Another trend is transportation. Didi Chuxing bought Uber’s China operations, and it’s investing aggressively into other areas of transportation. Bike sharing is the second hot category after ride-sharing with a suite of companies that are receiving VC money, PE money, and now strategic money, from investors like Tencent and Alibaba.

We’re also seeing the disruption of retail. E-commerce companies like Alibaba are moving offline to build new convenience stores and supermarkets that are powered by Internet technology. For instance, when you go into these stores, every item has a QR code that you can scan with your phone and gives you all the details you need to know about the product you’re considering buying. You can either buy on the spot or buy online.

Chinese search engine giant Baidu announced a 10 billion yuan ($1.52 billion) autonomous driving fund. NIO Capital is in talks to raise up to $500 million in a dollar fund aimed at the country’s auto sector. It seems there is an increasing interest in the electric vehicle and autonomous driving market. What are some of the reasons for this?

TUNG: In China, traffic congestion is a huge problem. About 20 to 25 million people on any given day live in Beijing. In a city of that size, roughly 20% of people own cars. Traffic is terrible — even worse than New York. It’s gotten so bad that the government mandates, by law, people cannot drive their car for two days out of the week depending on the last digit of their license plate. That’s why people are looking for solutions around ride-sharing and cars that don’t emit as much pollution.

In what time frame do you foresee autonomous vehicles being a mass phenomenon in China?

TUNG: I would probably say within the next 5 years.

Some are calling the bike sharing economy in China a bubbleand some startups are already closing their doors. What are your thoughts on the bike sharing craze?

TUNG: Every category that we have invested in since 2000 until now has been called a bubble. Before the bike sharing bubble, it was the ride-sharing bubble. Before that, it was the take-out delivery bubble. Before that, it was the e-commerce bubble. What people from outside of China don’t realize is that there is a period of rapid growth with lots of money being poured into a category. And then after the first three years, typically only two to three category leaders emerge. In e-commerce, you have Alibaba and JD.com. In ride-sharing, there’s Didi. In bike-sharing, you have three right now — Mobike, Ofo, and Hello-Bike.

If you invest early, the organic growth through M&A will eventually build a sizable business that you can monetize later when you have that market share position.

We actually see startups in China grow at a faster pace the first three to five years than they do in the U.S. It’s not uncommon to see Chinese teams working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, six days a week. And the reason for this is because they know they need to get to one of the top three position in their sector in a three-year span. They all gear to get to that point as fast as possible. In the U.S., we see more entrepreneurs who are doing things for fun, so whether you do it today, two days from now or a week from now, it doesn’t matter — it’s a marathon. In China, it’s whatever it takes in those first three years.

How can firms outside of China tap into that growth?

TUNG: You need good local partners. We spend a lot of time working with Airbnb on their strategy in China. You need people who can provide you with local knowledge and local relationships when it comes to hiring, obtaining necessary licenses, and setting up Chinese subsidiaries

Blockchain technology is emerging and everyone’s talking about cryptocurrency. What do you think about the future of crypto in the country?

TUNG: The government is very aware of what blockchain and the different cryptocurrencies can do. They are more open to blockchain helping facilitate B2B cross-border trades. However, when it comes to speculating on value of cryptocurrency, they worry about this becoming a bubble and a source of problem for educated investors.

China recently banned initial coin offerings, lumping them in with pyramid schemes. Do you foresee them reversing the ban in the future?

TUNG: I don’t see that changing anytime in the future. A lot of times we tell investors to invest in different financial assets — right now, it’s mostly the domestic stock exchange and the property market. To get yields, they’re willing to speculate on new things including ICOs. So the government sees that as money that should be invested in increasingly better companies that exist on the Chinese stock exchange.

What should we expect to see in the Chinese VC space in 2018?

TUNG: There will be more education companies that will get funded. Consumers have a huge demand for better service yet the quality and the spread of teachers is very uneven in China. So through distance learning and mobile Internet, that problem will be solved over time.

We will see that AI will be applied across many more industry sectors to make them more efficient. We don’t think AI should exist for its own sake, but it should exist for various use cases — whether it’s in enterprise customer service or whether it’s in helping e-commerce companies.

In the U.S, we have very few innovations in social media beyond Facebook, Instagram, and Snap. In China, we’re seeing a lot more fragmentation of uses in different pockets across many interests. There are mini-social networks emerging in the form of mobile apps that target specific interest groups across China. We will see a lot more innovation around consumption for content, consumption for knowledge, and consumption for entertainment happening much more quickly than we will see in the U.S.

Finally, more U.S. companies should be learning from China given the innovation happening in the space and apply more of the principles in what they do. We’re seeing our own porfolio companies taking lessons from Chinese e-commerce companies. I think U.S. teams can globalize much quicker than anyone else around the world if they are more open to being inspired by what’s working well in a market that’s as huge as China’s.

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