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長安汽車

CHINA PAVES WAY FOR POTENTIALLY BLOOMING TIMES
中國企業在英國建「橋頭堡」

中國企業已開始在發達市場設立橋頭堡,目的是打造自主國際品牌和吸收西方技術。中國長安汽車最近在英國諾丁漢成立的研發中心,就是一個例子。

One group of British businesses is sure to do well from what is billed as a 「Second Wave」 of Chinese expansion into the UK: florists. The opening of an engineering research centre in Nottingham by Chang'an Automobile, one of China's largest carmakers, featured as many cut flowers as an operatic opening night.

在所謂的中國企業在英國的「第二波」擴張中,有一類英國企業肯定能夠獲利:花商。在中國最大汽車製造商之一重慶長安汽車股份有限公司(Chang'an Automobile)諾丁漢工程研究中心的開幕儀式上,所擺放鮮切花的數量足以媲美歌劇首場演出之夜。

The ribbon-cutting ceremony a fortnight ago celebrated the opening of an outpost that Chang'an hopes will help it move up the value chain by assimilating western technology.

兩周前舉辦的那場剪綵儀式,是為了慶祝這個「前哨」的正式成立。長安汽車希望該研究中心能夠幫助它吸收西方技術,提升自己在價值鏈上的位置。

Liu Bo, assistant president of Chang'an, said: 「This centre will enable us to optimise engine and transmission technology. We expect to have 200 employees here by 2014, most of them local.」

長安汽車總裁助理劉波表示:「這個中心將使我們能夠優化發動機和傳動技術。我們預計,到2014年這裡將有200名員工,其中大部分是本地人。」

The scale of the investment by Chang'an – £20m-£30m over five years – is modest when compared with the numbers that describe the investor. Mr Liu said the Chongqing-based company would make 2m runabouts in China this year, rising to 4.5m in 2015. A staff of 40,000 at nine production centres would generate turnover of about Rmb100bn (£10bn) this year, he predicted.

長安汽車計劃5年內在諾丁漢研究中心投資2000萬至3000萬英鎊。從長安汽車的各項數據來看,這筆投資並不算大。劉波表示,今年長安汽車在國內的汽車產量將達到200萬輛,到2015年將增加到450萬輛。總部設在重慶的長安汽車有9個生產基地、4萬名員工。劉波預計,公司今年的營業額將在1000億元人民幣(合100億英鎊)左右。

However, such events as the Nottingham opening are in their small way landmarks in the fraught history of east-west trade relations, if lacking the high drama of the arrival of Commodore Perry's frigate in Tokyo Bay in 1853.

然而,在沉重的東西方貿易關係史上,假如沒有1853年美國海軍準將佩里把軍艦駛抵東京灣這出重頭戲的話,諸如諾丁漢研究中心開幕這類事件,勉強也可稱作具有里程碑意義。

Chinese companies, still seen by many westerners as anonymous producers of low-grade commodity goods, have begun to set up outposts in developed markets with two aims: to build international brands of their own and to download the currently superior western technology they need to remain competitive.

在許多西方人眼裡,中國企業仍是名不見經傳的劣質日用品生產商。但中國企業已開始在發達市場設立「前哨」。他們帶著兩個目的:打造自主國際品牌;下載目前領先的西方技術——要保持競爭力,他們需要這些技術。

Initial Chinese excursions into UK business, according to Kevin Lin, owner of KL Communications, a translation agency, consisted of establishing representative offices and making opportunistic takeovers. These included the purchase by Nanjing Automotive of assets of defunct carmaker MG Rover in 2005.

翻譯公司KL Communications的老闆林超倫(Kevin Lin)表示,中國最初進軍英國商界,主要是成立辦事處和擇機進行收購。2005年南京汽車(Nanjing Automotive)收購破產汽車製造商MG羅孚(MG Rover)的資產就是一例。

「Through my work I know that the Chinese government is preparing a second wave,」 he says. 「And this will be much better prepared and planned.」

林超倫表示:「我從自己的工作中得知,中國政府正準備推動第二波擴張。而且這次的計劃和準備工作會完善得多。」

According to Mr Lin, a seasoned diplomatic translator, the strategies of the big state-owned corporations that dominate the Chinese industrial landscape are largely determined by government bodies such as the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Committee.

林超倫是一位經驗豐富的外交翻譯。他表示,大型國有企業在中國工業界佔據著主導地位,而這類企業的發展戰略主要由國有資產監督管理委員會(SASAC)等政府機構決定。

Min Rose, proprietor of the East Midlands China Business Bureau, who helped the East Midlands Development Agency bring Chang'an to Nottingham, says: 「Improvements in Chinese labour laws mean that Chinese costs are less competitive than those in Cambodia or Vietnam. So the government realises that relying on low-cost manufacturing is unsustainable.」

英國中東部地區中國商務局(East Midlands China Business Bureau)協助英國中東部地區發展署(East Midlands Development Agency)把長安汽車引進了諾丁漢。該局商務顧問何敏(Min Rose)表示:「中國勞動法得到改善,導致中國的勞動力成本不如柬埔寨或越南有競爭力。中國政府於是意識到,依靠低成本製造是不可持續的。」

That explains the focus of Chinese companies on investments that improve their skills. Last month, MG UK, the successor business to MG Rover that belongs to Shanghai Automotive following its merger with Nanjing Automotive, opened a design centre at its Birmingham headquarters.

正因為此,中國企業把重點放在了提高自身技能的投資上。例如,MG UK上個月在其伯明翰總部成立了一個設計中心。MG UK的前身就是MG羅孚,在上海汽車(Shanghai Automotive)與南京汽車(Nanjing Automotive)合并後,歸屬上汽旗下。

Its job is to assimilate European car styling trends and apply them to Saic's models. The unit is adjacent to a technical centre that, in spite of the company's slim UK output of MG TF sports cars, employs 300 engineers.

該設計中心的職能是吸收歐洲汽車款式設計潮流,再應用於上汽的車型。新設計中心緊鄰一個技術中心——儘管該公司MG TF跑車在英國的產量極少,這個技術中心卻雇有300名工程師。

Saic is investing £5m in facilities at Longbridge that include a new engine testing operation.

上汽目前正投資500萬英鎊在長橋(Longbridge)建設各種設施,其中就包括一塊新的發動機試驗場。

Similarly, Dynex Semiconductor of Lincolnshire, ultimately owned by China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corporation, is preparing to open a new R&D centre specialising in chips for the power industry.

同樣,最終被中國南車(China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corporation)納入囊中的丹尼克斯半導體(Dynex Semiconductor)正準備新成立一個研發中心,專事開發面向電力行業的晶片。

Brand-building in the west by Chinese companies is at a tentative stage. But Chinese company bosses, present in unprecedented numbers at Birmingham's huge Spring Fair homewares exhibition this year, are keen to win the same name recognition accorded to such Japanese businesses as Toyota and Toshiba.

目前中國企業在西方的品牌建設活動還處於嘗試階段。但中國企業的老總們渴望贏得與豐田(Toyota)和東芝(Toshiba)等日本企業一樣高的知名度。今年出席伯明翰大型「春季博覽會」的中國企業家人數達到了空前規模。

China's engagement with UK business is analogous to that of Japan's in the 1950s and 1960s: it inevitably involves misunderstandings and false starts. Some Little Englanders accuse the Chinese of seeking to suck up UK expertise and sell it back via low-priced products. They probably over-estimate the appeal of slow-growing western markets.

當前的中英商業往來與上世紀五、六十年代日本與英國的商業關係類似:其中難免會有誤解和失敗。一些英格蘭本土主義者指責中國企圖吸收英國的專業技術,用於生產廉價產品後再返銷英國。他們大概高估了增長緩慢的西方市場的吸引力。

Mr Lin adds that British executives can be dismayed by the slowness with which Chinese state-owned businesses make decisions.

林超倫還表示,中國國企決策過程緩慢,可能會讓英國的高管們感到泄氣。

Chinese companies, often accused of stealing intellectual property rights from western business, worry about becoming victims themselves when they venture abroad. Brian Shaw, managing director of UK Trade & Investment, a government trade promotion body, says Britain's strong IPR laws are one reason the Chinese set up R&D centres here: 「They see the UK as a platform for growth that takes them into Europe and the rest of the world.」

外界經常指責中國企業從西方企業竊取智慧財產權,中國企業卻擔心自己走出國門後會成為受害者。英國貿易促進機構——英國貿易投資總署(UKTI)的商務司長布萊恩•肖(Brian Shaw)表示,英國有嚴厲的智慧財產權法,這是中國企業選擇在英國成立研發中心的原因之一。「他們把英國視作進入歐洲和世界其它地區的發展平台。」

Direct investment in the UK by Chinese and Hong Kong companies was an unimpressive £717m in 2008, the last year for which statistics are available, compared with the £2bn British companies invested in China and Hong Kong.

根據所能獲得的最晚一年的統計數據,2008年,中國內地及香港企業在英國的直接投資只有區區7.17億英鎊,而英國企業在中國內地及香港的直接投資則有20億英鎊。

Mr Shaw hopes the Chang'an opening in Nottingham is the start of something bigger. If so, there will be plenty more ribbon-cutting ceremonies and British partners of Chinese companies, including florists, should do very nicely.

肖希望,長安汽車諾丁漢研究中心的成立,不過是一個更大趨勢的開始。若是這樣,今後將會有更多的剪綵儀式,而中國企業在英國的合作夥伴將會受益良多——包括花商。

譯者/楊遠

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