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本文摘要:In 1999, Duncan Clark gained bragging rights that any long-time China hand would relish today: the former Morgan Stanley investment banker turned business consultant was given the chance to visit the lakeside apartment of Jack Ma.1999年,邓肯克


In 1999, Duncan Clark gained bragging rights that any long-time China hand would relish today: the former Morgan Stanley investment banker turned business consultant was given the chance to visit the lakeside apartment of Jack Ma.1999年,邓肯克拉克(Duncan Clark)获得了任何一位资深“中国通”在今天都会渴求获得的夸耀资本:这位由摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)前投行家从商的商业顾问有机会参观马云(Jack Ma)坐落于在湖畔的公寓。The flat was the nucleus of a new company that Ma had named Alibaba a few months before, saying he wanted to sell things online in China. To some this seemed a laughable prospect in a country that then had minuscule internet penetration. But if Alibaba was to fail, it would not be for want of trying: you could “count the number of cofounders by the toothbrushes jammed into mugs on a shelf”, Clark writes of the company’s early years. And ultimately, the days and nights spent coding, calling and hustling would be rewarded in 2014 with a $25bn initial public offering, the biggest of all time.马云在数月前刚刚创立的新公司阿里巴巴(Alibaba)将从这座公寓跟上——马云说他想要在中国积极开展在网上销售商品的业务。


日以继夜撰写代码、打电话和奔走辛苦再一在2014年看见了报酬,阿里巴巴在首次公开发行中融资250亿美元,刷新“史上最大规模IPO”的纪录。Clark has long been one of the most visible westerners in China’s technology scene. In Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built, he draws on a considerable trove of personal reminiscences in addition to dozens of interviews to write what could be the definitive history not just of Alibaba but other titans of the Chinese internet such as Tencent, Sohu, Sina and Baidu — all household names in China but little known in the west.在中国科技界,克拉克一向是最引人关注的西方人之一。在《阿里巴巴:马云的基业》(Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built)一书中,他凭借大量的个人回想和数十次专访,写了可谓权威的关于中国互联网巨头——不只是阿里巴巴,还有腾讯(Tencent)、搜狐(Sohu)、新浪(Sina)和百度(Baidu)——发展历史的著作。在中国,这些都是家喻户晓的名字,在西方却鲜为人知。

The author tends to accentuate the positive about Alibaba, referring to his subject throughout as “Jack” and serving up a succession of anecdotes that illustrate his business genius. Many chapters begin with a stirring quote from Ma such as: “The Internet [is like] beer...the good stuff is at the bottom. Without the bubbles, the beer is flat and nobody would want to drink it.”该作者侧重描写阿里巴巴的正面情况,从头到尾把他的主人公称作“杰克”,并为读者命上一系列反映马云经商天分的趣闻轶事。很多章节都是以马云振奋人心的名言开始,比如:“互联网像一杯啤酒……好东西都在底下。

没沫,啤酒就走味了,没人想喝。”But the narrative is at its best when it seeks to place Alibaba in its local context. In Taobao, the eBay-like online marketplace launched by Ma in 2003, Clark sees a virtual reflection of the bustling Yiwu wholesale market just down the road in Alibaba’s home city of Hangzhou — and, beyond that, of Ma’s native Zhejiang province as a whole, which the author describes as “China’s crucible of entrepreneurship”. Blazing with pop-up boxes and floating banner ads, Taobao is about as far away from the clean lines and uncluttered negative spaces of Google as could be imagined.不过这本书最精彩的地方是在它尝试把阿里巴巴置放其当地背景之下来描述的时候。


马云在2003年创立了与eBay类似于的网上市场淘宝网(Taobao),在淘宝网的身上,克拉克看见了熙熙攘攘的义乌小商品批发市场——距离阿里巴巴总部所在地杭州市不远处——以及马云的家乡、被克拉克形容为“中国企业家熔炉”的浙江省——的虚拟世界版本。大大有窗口弹头出有、布满浮动的横幅广告的淘宝网与谷歌非常简单的线条和干净的负空间真是是天壤之别。While the bustling entrepreneurial energy of China’s bricks-and-mortar economy has been reproduced in Taobao and latterly its sister website Tmall, so have the problems — counterfeit goods and some accusations of counterfeit numbers following Alibaba wherever it goes.尽管淘宝网及后来创立的姊妹网站天猫(Tmall)再现了中国实体经济中丰沛的创业活力,但是这些网站也传染了实体经济中的问题——假货以及与阿里巴巴如影安稳的关于编造数字的谴责。Clark gives this side of the story too, offering the most thorough treatment yet of some of the more difficult episodes in Alibaba’s history. In 2011 an argument erupted over the transfer of the Alipay online payments business to a company controlled by Ma, which raised fears among minority shareholders Yahoo and SoftBank that the value of their stakes in Alibaba would be eroded. The investors accused Ma of asset-stripping, while Ma argued that there were solid regulatory reasons for his apparent violation of corporate governance norms. Clark speaks to all the parties concerned, setting out the claims and counterclaims in accessible fashion — and Ma does not come off looking particularly good.克拉克也讲解了这方面的情况,对阿里巴巴发展历程中的一些艰苦经历展开了最全面的描述。



The last chapter, “Icon or Icarus?”, looks at the future of Alibaba, which has not had a particularly smooth ride from investors since it went public in 2014. After a vertiginous rise in the months following its IPO, Alibaba’s shares sank by 50 per cent before the summer of 2015 was out. In late August, they fell below the $68 IPO price for the first time, and have hovered a little above negative territory ever since.在最后一章“偶像还是伊卡洛斯?”中,作者未来发展了阿里巴巴的未来。自从2014年上市以来,阿里巴巴并没仍然获得投资者另眼相看。

在IPO后几个月里阿里巴巴的股价大幅度下跌,随后在2015年夏天完结前,其股价下跌50%。去年8月底,阿里巴巴的股价首次暴跌68美元的发行价,自那以来其股价仍然游走在略高于发行价的水平上。The book is a must-read for anyone hoping to navigate China’s new economy. Despite being behind the “Great firewall”, China’s internet — thanks largely to Ma — will become a part of everyone’s life sooner rather than later.对于每个期望在中国新的经济领域讨生活的人来说,这本书是参考书之作。




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