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2014-08-15    来源:fortune    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant partially owned by Yahoo and valued at $150 billion, is aiming for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange sometime in the next few months (the exact date has yet to be determined). Expected to raise more than $20 billion, the IPO could be the biggest yet on a U.S. exchange and potentially in world history. A recently released documentary by Alibaba’s former vice president Porter Erisman, an American who has spent the past several years working on the film, depicts the company’s journey since it was founded by Jack Ma 15 years ago. Here are some of the most surprising takeaways from “Crocodile in the Yangtze.”
由雅虎(Yahoo)部分持股、估值1,500亿美元的中国电子商务巨头阿里巴巴(Alibaba,)将于未来数月在纽交所上市(确切日期待定)。其首次公开募股(IPO)预计将募集200多亿美元,有可能成为美国甚至全球交易所史上规模最大的IPO。阿里巴巴前副总裁、美国人波特•埃里斯曼过去几年一直忙于制作纪录片《扬子江大鳄》(Crocodile in the Yangtze),它记录了阿里巴巴自15年前由马云创立以来的发展历程。这部影片已于最近发布,《财富》选取了其中最惊人的一些场景,摘录如下。

1. Alibaba was born amid grueling working conditions
1. 阿里巴巴诞生于艰苦的工作环境中

Similar to tech start-ups like Apple and Facebook, Alibaba started out in a tiny apartment in Hangzhou that belonged to Jack Ma, a former English teacher who quit his job to follow dreams of entrepreneurship. After a few failed business ventures, including a phone book-inspired “China Pages” website, Ma decided to pursue the e-commerce trend that was sweeping America in the late '90s. In 1999, Ma and 17 friends crowded into his apartment and built Alibaba.com, a name they hoped would draw small businesses “to say ‘Open Sesame!’ to global trade,” Erisman narrates in the film. Sitting on chairs and couches around Ma, the 17 co-founders are shown listening to Ma’s motivational speeches. “We need to learn the hardworking spirit of the Silicon Valley,” Ma explains, implying that he expected staff to work longer days than most people. “If we have that kind of 8 am to 5 pm spirit, then we should just go and do something else.” The team plugged away in Ma’s apartment for seven months, trying to stay off competitors’ radar and reduce costs, until new investments from Goldman Sachs and SoftBank, a Japanese telecom company, led Alibaba to organize a public launch in 2000.
类似于其他科技创业公司[如苹果(Apple)和Facebook],阿里巴巴最初是在杭州的一个小公寓内创立的,那是马云自己的家。曾是英语老师的他为了实现创业梦想而辞去了工作。他经历过几次失败的创业,包括灵感源于电话簿的“中国黄页”网站。此后,马云决定追随90年代末席卷美国的电子商务大潮。1999年,马云和17位朋友挤在他的公寓内创立了阿里巴巴,他们取这个名字是希望小企业通过“芝麻开门!”这个咒语打开全球贸易之门,埃里斯曼在影片中叙述道。17位联合创始人坐在马云周围的椅子和沙发上倾听他的励志演讲。“我们要学习硅谷的勤奋精神”,马云说。这其实就是在说希望自己的员工在工作中投入比大多数人更多的时间。“如果我们都是抱着朝八晚五的想法,那还是趁早走人去做别的事吧。”这个团队在马云的公寓内埋头苦干了7个月,以避开竞争对手的注意并降低成本。直到公司得到了高盛(Goldman Sachs)和日本软银(SoftBank)的投资之后,阿里巴巴才于2000年正式公开亮相。

2. Alibaba has a love-hate relationship with the Chinese government
2. 阿里巴巴与中国政府:爱恨交织

Ma first ran into problems with the Chinese government with his China Pages effort, when trying to deal with strict regulations on private information. Ma explained to officials, “We are working on promoting China on the information superhighway,” but the internet was such a new concept that it was hard to get government support, and China Pages fizzled. Insistent on giving China a web presence, Ma switched gears and pursued e-commerce. “If we are a good team and know what we want to do, one of us can defeat ten of them. We can beat government agencies and big government companies because of our innovative spirit,” Ma says in the film. Eventually, Alibaba received government support as local officials began viewing the company as a job creator, Erisman explains in the film. Still, each time Alibaba wanted to accept a new investment—such as when Yahoo bought a 40% stake in 2005 for $1 billion – it had to be approved by the government.

3. Alibaba’s archenemy is eBay
3. 阿里巴巴的大敌:eBay

As eBay pushed further into the Chinese market during Alibaba’s early years, Ma felt threatened. In 2003 eBay acquired EachNet, a China-based auction site with a similar business model to its own. "[Ma] told me to be prepared for Alibaba's biggest challenge yet," Erisman explains. "We were going to war with eBay." To fend off eBay, Alibaba launched a new website called Taobao, a marketplace for consumer-to-consumer selling rather than business-to-business. Ma then upped the ante by waiving Taobao’s transaction fees for the first three years, while eBay kept charging. Ma hoped that by offering customers a better deal on Taobao than on eBay, his competitor would have to match it, cutting into eBay’s margins, or lose business—and back out of China altogether, according to Erisman. With the move, Alibaba “publicly declare[d] war on eBay,” Erisman narrates. For the sake of good sportsmanship, though, Ma made a ground rule that nobody was to launch any personal attacks against Meg Whitman, eBay’s CEO at the time. Within a few years, eBay, after belatedly cutting fees on EachNet, ended its business in China.

4. Alibaba founder Jack Ma is a rock star in China
4. 阿里巴巴创始人马云是中国的超级巨星

If you think Americans treat Apple founder Steve Jobs as a celebrity, that’s nothing compared to how the Chinese venerate Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who addresses stadiums filled with fans in several scenes in the film. At a party to celebrate Alibaba’s tenth anniversary, instead of taking the stage in a his usual suit-and-tie, Ma emerged singing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” dressed like a rock star in a studded red and black leather jacket, nose earring and long blond wig. Ma is also known for delivering inspirational speeches, several of which are captured in the so-called “docu-memoir.” From pick-me-up speeches in the small apartment to presentations in front of crowds of journalists and investors, Ma continues to trumpet Alibaba’s potential—even as investors initially expressed concern about Alibaba’s low profits in its early days, and questioned its viability. “They called him crazy Jack,” Erisman says. “Yes, he seemed a bit crazy. But at least it seemed he was enjoying the ride.” Next stop on that ride: A huge, and possibly record-breaking, IPO.
如果你认为苹果创始人史蒂夫•乔布斯在美国人那里获得了明星般的待遇,那么中国人对于阿里巴巴创始人马云的尊崇则更是达到了无以复加的地步。在影片中的多个镜头中,马云发表演讲的体育场满是其拥趸。在庆祝阿里巴巴成立十周年的聚会上,马云并没有像往常一样身着西装革履走上舞台,而是打扮得像一位摇滚明星一样,身着满是铆钉的红黑相间皮夹克,戴着鼻环和长长的假发,冲上舞台,唱了首动画片《狮子王》的英文主题曲《今夜你能感受到爱吗?》(Can You Feel the Love Tonight?)。马云也因其励志演讲而闻名,其中有多场演讲都被收入所谓的《记录回忆录》(docu-memoir)(华裔导演丁碧兰拍摄的呈现华人历史的纪录片)。无论是在小公寓发表鼓舞士气的演讲,还是在众多记者和投资者面前进行讲演,马云都在一刻不停地宣扬着阿里巴巴的潜力——即便是投资者一开始担心阿里巴巴早期利润偏低,并质疑其可行性的时候,马云也是如此。埃里斯曼说:“是的,他看起来有点疯狂。但最起码,他似乎对这一旅程感到十分惬意。”而这一旅程的下一站便是盛大的,而且可能是创纪录的IPO。(财富中文网)

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