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更新时间:2016/1/20 18:46:05 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Investment in Internet Start-Ups Appears to Slow in China

HONG KONG — China’s Internet companies, in recent years, have been the shining stars of growth, with Alibaba and Tencent rivaling in size some of their most formidable global competitors.


Inspired by their success and driven by huge buyouts of smaller companies by China’s Internet giants, investors have poured money into new start-ups.


But new figures from the end of 2015 show that wave of investment may be coming to an end, or at least slowing.


In China, venture capital investment fueling the growth of new start-ups fell 29 percent in the fourth quarter from the level in the third quarter, according to a new report from CB Insights and KPMG. The report, which calls the drop in funding a “crash,” says it is linked to economic uncertainty in the region.

风险投资推动了新生初创企业的增长,但研究公司CB Insights和毕马威(KPMG)发布的一份新报告显示,中国第四季度的风险投资比第三季度减少了29%。该报告形容这种融资减少是“暴跌”,认为它与地区经济状况的不确定性有关。

Among the contributors may be the Chinese Internet giants that have fueled the boom. Hiring freezes at Alibaba and Baidu have signaled recent caution about spending, according to Mark Natkin, founder of the research firm Marbridge Consulting in Beijing.

之前推动那波繁荣的中国互联网巨头,可能也在暴跌当中发挥了作用。调研企业北京迈博瑞咨询有限公司(Marbridge Consulting)的创始人马克·纳特金(Mark Natkin)认为,阿里巴巴和百度冻结招聘,显示它们最近在支出上变得谨慎。

“A year or two ago, V.C.s felt they didn’t have to drive a company all the way to I.P.O. for an exit because Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba were rolling down the aisles with their shopping carts,” he said, referring to venture capital firms. He pointed out that now those firms are less focused on smaller companies, and instead are preoccupied with consolidating more mature sectors like group buying and ride-hailing apps.


A looming question is how much recent market turmoil in China will affect private fund-raising in 2016. A major slowdown could dent Beijing’s ambitions to continue the rapid growth of the Internet industry.


In recent economic plans, the Chinese Communist Party has identified Internet-related businesses as fundamental to the transition of the Chinese economy from one centered on infrastructure investment to one based on consumer spending.


The slowdown comes as total Asian venture capital investment hit levels last seen in 2013 in North America, before the most recent boom in investment there. Just last week China announced a $30 billion fund to help bail out struggling electronics makers and other tech firms, a potential indication that the recent slowdown and stock market turmoil could spill over into the strategically important tech sector.


The Chinese trend follows a broader pullback in global venture capital investment at the end of 2015. In the United States, deals fell for the second straight quarter to their lowest level since 2011, according to the report. In the last quarter of the year, the total amount of money funding private companies fell by 30 percent from the previous quarter.


Yet the drop-off in China and Asia comes amid a very different context than the drop-off in the United States. In Asia, the increase in venture capital funding rose much more sharply after 2013. Such investment in Asia jumped from just $2.8 billion in the first quarter of 2014 to $14.2 billion in the third quarter of 2015. In the fourth quarter it fell to $9.7 billion.


Still, 2015 was a banner year for Asian venture capital investment, with deals totaling $39.7 billion in 2015, well above the $21.1 billion in 2014 and the meager $6.4 billion in 2013.


The report said venture capital firms may be sitting out the latest investment rounds because they expect valuations to come back down to earth in the next year or two. In Asia, roughly one-third of investment in start-ups comes from large corporations, compared to just a quarter in North America.


Lyndon Fung, an analyst with KPMG’s U.S. capital markets group, wrote in the report that Chinese investors are also increasingly looking abroad.

毕马威美国资本市场分析师冯瑞麟(Lyndon Fung)在报告中写道,中国投资者也越来越多地将目光投向了国外市场。

“We are seeing Chinese V.C. investors and V.C.-backed companies shifting their focus to invest in the international market, where things are a bit more stable, to acquire complementary technologies to strengthen their ecosystem,” he wrote.