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[经济学人] [附解析] Being eaten by the dragon 东方巨龙的血盆大口

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金币

大家网大学二年级

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发表于 2012-2-22 20:20 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Chinese takeovers 中国式收购
Being eaten by the dragon 东方巨龙的血盆大口
What it feels like to be bought by a Chinese firm 被中国企业收购的滋味如何
A FEW years ago two executives of an international oil company were working late in its otherwise deserted office in England. A stunning young Chinese woman arrived at reception. “She was very attractive, decked out in Gucci,” one of them says. She delivered a letter from Sinopec, one of China’s giant, state-controlled energy firms, proposing a multibillion-dollar takeover. The executive adds, a little wistfully, that she then disappeared into the night in a car with local licence plates, never to be seen again.
decked装饰, 打扮
takeover接收, 接管
wistfully渴望地, 愁闷地
几年前的一天夜里,本应空寂无人的一家国际石油公司英国分公司办公室里,两个主管正在加班。此时,一名衣着光鲜亮丽的年轻中国女士出现在他们眼前。“她穿着Gucci,迷人极了,”其中一名高管说道。这位女士递上了一封来自中国国企中石化的书信,信上提出该石油巨头愿斥资数十亿美元收购这家公司。“然后,她就驾着辆本地车,消失在了夜色之中,再也没有出现,”他接着说道,脸上不由地浮出一丝苦笑。
His firm was soon bought by another Chinese company. Since then Western bosses have been tapped by Chinese firms at conferences in Toronto and Cape Town and received walk-in offers in Scandinavia. Companies across Europe have solicited Chinese investment. Bankers all over the world have touted lists of Western takeover candidates among China’s big firms. This year buyers based in China and Hong Kong have accounted for a tenth of global deals by value, including investments in oil and landmark takeovers in industry, such as Geely’s purchase of Volvo, a Swedish carmaker. A decade ago China urged its companies to expand under the slogan “go out”.  Now it is really happening.
tapped  轻拍, 轻敲, 轻叩
solicited请求; 乞求
touted兜售; 招徕
candidates候选人; 应试者
(This year时间状语) buyers (based in China and Hong Kong后置定语) have accounted for a tenth of global deals by value方式状语),( including investments in oil and landmark takeovers in industry, such as Geely’s purchase of Volvo, a Swedish carmaker现在分词形式作状语).
他的公司很快便被一家中国公司给吞并。自那时起,多伦多、开普敦的各大会议上,中国公司就盯上了西方的老板们。连斯堪的纳维亚半岛上的巨擘们也被杀个措手不及。满欧洲的企业都乞求中国外援。世界各地的银行业者四处向中国各巨头兜售西方公司待售榜。今年,落户中国大陆和香港的买家们所达成的交易,占全球交易总值的十分之一,这其中就包括了对外石油投资,以及吉利收购沃尔沃(瑞典汽车公司)等几大业内备受瞩目的吞并案。十年以前,中国就要求其国内企业,在“走向世界”的口号下,走上海外扩张之路。如今,这一切真的发生了!
The first fiery breaths
中国龙初吐火舌
More deals are inevitable, given China’s rise. Control of the world’s stock of foreign direct investment (FDI), which includes takeovers and companies’ greenfield investments, tends to reflect a country’s economic muscle. Britain owned 45% of the world’s FDI in 1914; America’s share peaked at 50% in 1967. Today China, including Hong Kong and Macau, has a share of just 6% (see chart 1). Listed Chinese firms, which are largely state-controlled, are already some of the world’s biggest, and account for over a tenth of global stockmarket value. Most are still mainly domestic outfits.
fiery炽热的, 暴躁的
greenfield investments在某一领域做首次投资
peaked有遮檐的; 有尖峰的
outfit .配备, 用具
鉴於中国的崛起,必定会有更多的交易。通常,外商直接投资(FDI)全球股份额的占有量(含收购兼并和绿地投资),能反映一国的经济实力。1914年,英国占全球外商投资总额的45%。美国这一比例于1967年达到最高点,50%。而当今的中国,包括香港和澳门在内,仅占6%(见表1)。上市的中国公司,大多数由国家控制,部分已进入世界最大行列,占全球股市总值十分之一强,但多数仍以国内业务为主。
China’s high savings will also spur deals. Companies often have surplus cash and banks surplus deposits. Today those savings are recycled into rich countries via sovereign-wealth funds and the central bank, which act as portfolio investors, buying mainly bonds. But China may and probably should diversify. That shift will be accelerated by China’s political aims: to acquire inputs, such as raw materials, labour and land; to build up technical and commercial expertise; and to gain access to foreign markets.
surplus过剩的, 剩余的
portfolio文件夹, 卷宗夹
diversify使多样化, 使变化,
中国的高储蓄率同样会推高交易量。其公司总会有现金盈余,银行存款也常年不绝。如今,这些存款,则通过主权财富基金和中央银行流入富裕国家,在此项活动中,中央银行充当了组合投资人角色,购买国债。但是,中国可以,并且也应该采取多样化经营。中国的政治目标也有利于加速这一转型步伐,其政治目标有:获取生产所需物,如劳动力和土地资源的投入;建立技术、商业专业区;以及开拓海外市场。
Public announcements of such deals are something of a charade. Wooden Chinese executives insist they are acting on purely commercial grounds. Western bosses hail a new era of co-operation. Yet these transactions are partly because of cultural differences and partly because of the role of the Chinese state. There have been fiascos. In 2005 CNOOC, a Chinese oil firm, withdrew a bid for Unocal, a Californian producer, after American politicians kicked up a stink. In 2009 Rio Tinto, an Anglo-Australian mining firm, withdrew from a deal to sell a series of minority stakes to Chinalco, a Chinese metals firm. Rio’s shareholders opposed the sale but many reckon that the Australian government did, too.
charade易识破的伪装
hail招呼, 喝彩, 宣称, 来自
stink臭味, 张扬
reckon计算, 数; 认为
有关此类交易的公告完全就是在打哑谜。木讷的中国高管们坚持他们纯粹是出於商业理由行事的。西方上司们也为协同合作新时代的到来而欢呼雀跃。然而,这些交易总是很棘手,或是文化差异的原因,或是中国政府在此间所扮演的重要角色。这中间曾有惨败。2005年,在美国政客极力反对之后,中国石油公司中海油不得不退出优尼科(其总部位于加利福尼亚)的并购案。2009年,英国-澳大利亚力拓矿业集团退出与中国铝业公司的出售案。力拓的各股东们反对出售其少量配股,但许多人推测,澳洲政府同样不满这一交易。
The Economist has interviewed, anonymously, executives past and present at 11 Western companies that have been bought by or have sold stakes to Chinese firms, or have been in negotiations to do so. Ten of the deals discussed were worth more than $1 billion. What these people say provides an insight into both China’s capacity to expand its companies abroad and the opaque workings of its state-backed firms. The impression they give is a mixture of awe at China’s ambition and technical skill and a far more qualified assessment of Chinese companies’ ability to run international businesses.
anonymously不具名地; 化名地
opaque不透明的, 不传热的
awe敬畏; 畏怯
The Economist has interviewed, (anonymously副词), executives (past and present后置定语) (at 11 Western companies地点状语)( that have been bought by or have sold stakes to Chinese firms, or have been in negotiations to do so)(companies的定语从句).
本刊以匿名形式对11家西方企业的前任和现任高管进行采访,这些企业或是已被中国收购,或是已售出部分股份,或是同中国谈判(过)类似出售事宜。这些交易中有10起,其交易额超十亿美元。透过这些高管们的访谈记录,我们可以了解中国企业扩展其海外业务的能力,以及这些国有企业的背后交易。他们给人的印象是,他们既对中国的野心和业务技巧感到敬畏,又对中国公司管理国际业务的能力作出胜任有余的评估。
The meat of the negotiation often has two parts: marathon sessions at an investment bank’s offices, often in London, and visits by target firms’ executives to mainland China or Hong Kong. There they may be expected to make epic PowerPoint presentations to giant audiences, and to attend banquets and intimate discussions, often in hotels owned by the bidder.
marathon马拉松赛跑
banquets宴会, 盛宴
谈判通常有两大部分: 1)通常在位於伦敦的投资银行展开马拉松式的会谈; 2)欲被收购公司高管出访中国大陆或香港。到了出访地,他们知道自己要向大亨级听众展现史诗似的图文演示,还要出席宴会,同买主触膝谈心,地点还往往是在买主拥有的酒店里!

Most visitors are impressed by Chinese firms’ technical nous. Both sides try to make friends: “Emotion and trust matter,” says a Briton, because authority within Chinese firms is opaque and arbitrary. Chinese negotiators often use booze to break down barriers—and to try to get the upper hand. This is a well-known tactic, says a European of hazy days he spent in a hotel dealing with the fine print. “They would bring in people to try to get you drunk…At one point I was sure they’d brought in a lady from the switchboard.”
nous知性; 理性; 常识
arbitrary专制的, 任意的
booze酒宴

大多数来过中国的高管们都对中国公司的处世哲学印象深刻。双方都试图建立友好关系。“情感和信任很要紧,”一位英国高管说到,因为中国企业决策者不明确,且独断独行。中国的生意大多在酒桌上谈成的,他们通过酒桌战争敲定战局。一位欧洲高管称这种战术众所周知,他曾在一家中国酒店里懵懵懂懂谈细节谈了几天。“他们会找人来把你灌醉……我一度曾相当肯定,他们把(酒店里工作的)接电话的小姐都拉了来(试图灌醉我)。”

Most targets of Chinese takeovers need an interpreter. It pays to be wary. The head of a mining firm grew fond of his, but jokes, “She was clearly an internal spy.” Most executives say they trusted their hosts. But not all. A European says, “They knew everything about me,” and adds, “I had 52 hits from China on my home computer.” Another boss negotiating a controversial natural-resources deal found the atmosphere sinister. “You had to take your battery out of your mobile phone. You were told the rooms were bugged.”
wary  小心的, 周到的, 机警的
sinister不祥的, 灾难性
bugged窃听, 打扰,

收购案过程中通常都有陪同翻译,但是,对这些人多留个心眼。一位矿业公司总裁就曾挺中意他的翻译,但他也打趣道:“很显然,她是内鬼”。大多数高管们都表示他们相信他们的合作伙伴,但也并非所有人都信。一名欧洲人说:“我的什么事他们都知道,就连我家电脑都被中国黑客黑了52次。”另一名老板也一直觉得气氛不对,他曾就一备受争议的自然资源产权交易与中方谈判。“我不用手机时得把电板给取出来,也有人告诉我饭店房间被窃听过。”

Chinese companies’ power structure is a bit of a mystery to outsiders, even the handful of Westerners on the boards of big state-backed companies. A popular theory is that they are controlled by a parallel hierarchy of Communist Party officials. The most senior party man in a firm, the general secretary, is not necessarily the most senior executive. Although one Western executive says this distinction was evident (“There were party people and people who did stuff”), most are just overwhelmed by the volume of bodies. One arrived, alone, in London to be faced with 30-40 people from the Chinese side. “I was shocked,” he laughs. Meetings in China can be attended by vast audiences, with people coming in and out continually. A core of people ask good questions, but even they, many visitors say, seem to lack the authority, or desire, to make decisions.
hierarchy等级制度, 统治集团
A core of 几个核心的

中国企业的权力结构对外界来说,似乎有点神秘。即使是对国营大企业中有限的几位西方董事会成员来说,也是雾里看花。普遍认为,这是由于中国企业大多被共产党的相关官员所掌控所致。公司里职位最高的党员——党委总书记——不一定要是公司里职权最高的。虽然一西方高管表示,此间区别再清楚不过了(“有党内的人,当然,还得有真正干事的人”),但大部分人一看到这些企业冗杂的权力结构,就晕头转向了。就有一名伦敦商人,他独自抵达中国后发现,中方的接待人员就有30到40人之多。“我快被吓死了,”他笑道。在中国,随便一个会议,参加的人就可以一大把,人们进进出出。几个核心人员会问上那么几个漂亮的问题,但据许多去中国访问的高管们反映,即使是这几个核心人员,似乎也无权、无欲来做决策。

Power behind the chair
幕后之手
The opacity of power is also reflected by the role of the titular heads of Chinese firms. One boss found his counterpart to be an autocrat, surrounded by minions: “You feel the deference towards this guy. There are no interjections when he speaks.” Yet most visitors to China talk of charming figureheads, for example at Sinopec: “There are two chairs in the middle where you and he sit…You say prepared remarks into the microphone and then everybody claps…Girls serve tea…The big chief doesn’t negotiate. He just blesses the deal.” Another executive says the head of Huawei, a telecoms-equipment firm, was “a great gentleman” who “relied on his lieutenants for information”. A natural-resources boss says the head of Minmetals, a big Chinese mining firm, was just there “to keep protocol”.
opacity不透明, 晦涩难懂,
titular有名无实的, 有头衔的
autocrat 独裁者
figureheads装饰船头的人像, 傀儡领袖
lieutenants中尉, 副官, 助理人员
protocol议定书, 协议

中国企业实权的模糊性同样表现在其挂名总裁上。一位老板发现他的合作伙伴,就是一群跟屁虫中间的独裁者,他说:“你可以觉出他的帝王之气,他说话的时候,没人会插嘴。”然而,大多数前往中国访问的高管们都提到了那魅力十足的挂名首脑,例如在中石化,“你和他会坐在正中间……你对着话筒,念完演讲稿,然后掌声雷动……会有美女倒茶水……大头头不会和你交流谈判的,他只会祝愿交易圆满成功”。另一名高管表示,华为(电信设备公司)的负责人就是一名“十足的绅士”,他得“从他副手处,才能了解到有关信息”。某自然资源公司老板称,中国大型矿业公司,五矿集团的负责人就只是在那“充充门面”罢了。
Who, then, calls the shots? A lieutenant who has lived outside China may lead the talks with the target’s top brass. Chinalco, says a Westerner, has used the same 40-something bilingual hotshot on several deals: he was “very, very good”. But with one exception, those interviewed thought the state was in ultimate control. “You can feel it,” says one. “In China you’re dealing with the government,” says another. “In India you’re dealing with companies.”
calls the shots定调子, 操纵

brass高级领导
bilingual双语的
那么,是由谁来最后拍板的呢?外派海外的副手可能会负责与目标公司负责人进行谈判。一名西方管理者表示,他在与中国铝业公司的几起交易中都见到了同一位40岁左右的精英。显然,那名贵人是位双语能人,他真是“非常非常优秀”。但是,除此以外,这些接受访问的高管都认为中国企业中,真正握有实权的,是中国政府。其中一位说:“你就是能感觉出来”。“在中国,同你做交易的是中国政府,”另一位说到:“而在印度,是企业自身。”
However, the state is far from being a predictable monolith. Often, more than one Chinese firm has sniffed out the same target. They compete for the Western firm’s affections and “preferred bidder” status with officials back home. The process can be chaotic. A chairman says he negotiated for months with a Chinese mining firm, including site visits by hundreds of their staff, only to see the deal collapse because it lacked political consent.
monolith巨型独石; 庞然大物
sniffed out嗅出,察觉出
chaotic混乱的, 无秩序的
consent同意, 许可

然而,中国政府绝不是能料其行事的庞然大物。常常,几家不同的中国公司都盯上同一西方目标公司。他们和国内的幕后官员一起,相互竞争,以求成为优先竞标人。但这一过程有时杂乱无序。某董事称他曾与中国一家矿业公司谈判几月之久,甚至都派了成百上千名员工前往参观访问,但结果却因乏官方首肯而告吹。
Likewise, China’s government-controlled banks, which have been expanding abroad (see chart 2), are often described as indiscriminate financiers of China’s overseas conquests. Yet the same chairman recalls going to Cuba to meet a senior official of China Development Bank (whose father had, apparently, been an acquaintance of Fidel Castro’s) and receiving a clear signal that a deal was in doubt. Another executive says a deal with ZTE, a maker of telecoms equipment, that included state-bank financing struggled to win official approval. ZTE’s bosses, he says, held little sway with the central government.
conquests战胜, 战利品, 征服

无独有偶,虽然中国国有银行通常被称作境外金融占领军(见表2),无需受政治左右,而那位董事长回忆说,他称他曾前往古巴,与中国发展银行的一名高级官员会面(显然,这名官员的父亲与菲德尔•卡斯特罗相熟),但还是被告知其交易明显难成。另一位高管则表示,在与中兴电信设备的交易中,因涉及国有银行融资问题,而难获官方批准。他称,中兴的老板们与中央政府少有交集。

Once a preferred bidder has been picked, however, there can be a flood of cheap cash. Someone involved in the Rio deal recalls meeting a bank in China and being staggered by their indiscipline. “They said, ‘How much do you want: $10 billion, $20 billion?’ It was unbelievable.” The preferred firm’s negotiators often have some latitude to alter the terms of a deal, but refer big decisions to Beijing. During the auction of a Western oil company, a Chinese state-controlled energy firm “went back to the ministerial level to raise its bid”, says an executive of the target.
staggered吃惊的; 难以相信的
indiscipline无纪律, 未经训练
latitude  纬度; 回旋余地,
auction拍卖; 竞叫桥牌

然而,一旦确定好优先竞标人,就马上会有大笔现金涌入。力拓案中的某位官员就回忆称,中国的银行办事真是杂乱无章,他都被吓到了。“他们说:‘你需要多少钱,100亿还是200亿?’这真是太不可思议了。”优先(首选)竞标方的谈判代表通常会有一定的更改条款的自主权,但把重大决策提交给北京。某西方石油公司一高管称,在其公司的拍卖案期间,中国某国有能源公司,就请示了中央政府部长级人士来叫价。

At key moments, though, this apparently fiddly hierarchy can be decisive. One oil executive ran an auction of a firm that ended with an Indian and a Chinese bidder (both were state-controlled). The Indians had “no concept of materiality”, he says, and were mired in nit-picking. In the final stages they returned the draft contract riddled with amendments. The Chinese firm returned it clean, and won.
fiddly要求高精度的,需要手巧的
mired使陷于泥泞, 使陷入困境
riddled布满; 把...打得满是窟窿;
然而,在关键时刻,这一繁琐的层级关系显然是能来踢上临门一脚的。负责某拍卖案的石油公司高管称,该案子到最后只剩两家竞标方,分别来自印度和中国(两家都为国有企业)。他表示,印方代表“对重要性毫无概念”,专会挑刺。终稿时,他们却把竞标方案给改得千疮百孔。而中方的则是言简意赅,也赢的理所当然。

Although to set up a foreign bid a Chinese firm has to jump through lots of hoops, once it has done so it enjoys formidable advantages. It has access to cheap finance. It can ignore its share price, since its majority shareholder, the government, is onside. Politicians may also work to smooth the waters. PetroKazakhstan, a Canadian firm with assets in Central Asia, was coveted by a Russian company. Its takeover by CNPC of China was eased by a state visit by the president, Hu Jintao, to Astana, the Kazakh capital.
hoops箍, 叫声
尽管要收购一家外企,中国公司得先过很多坎,但一旦成功,便好处不断。可以进行低成本融资;有政府分担股份,又不用担心股价;有政客们的帮忙,日子也会过得更加轻松了。日前,中石油收购中亚竞争对手哈萨克斯坦石油公司(该公司于加拿大上市,并曾受某俄罗斯公司垂涎)一事,也因中国国家主席胡锦涛对哈萨克斯坦首都——阿斯坦纳——进行国事访问而愈加容易。

China’s state-backed system also has disadvantages. One is that foreign governments are becoming increasingly wary of Chinese takeovers. These include those of Canada and Australia, previously two of the most open markets for corporate control in the world. Another is more subtle: that the style of decision-making can lead Chinese companies to overpay and to struggle to integrate their purchases.
subtle微妙的, 不可思议的
integrate使成整体, 使结合
但是,中国这一政府介入制度同样有利也有弊。这其中一弊,便是各国政府已经越来越担心来自中国的收购案了。这其中包括加拿大和澳大利亚,这两大经济体在之前都是全球对公司控制权壁垒限制最少的开放市场。另一弊端则更显微妙:中国这一决策风格有可能使其各企业获得过多资金,并且难以统一收购对象。

Some executives felt that their Chinese suitors had bargained astutely. Someone who has sold four mining firms says the Chinese compared well with Western buyers. Others are less complimentary. To get to the point of executing a takeover, a Chinese company must build up a huge head of steam. Some say they struggle to rein in their investment bankers. “They lost control of the situation,” says a European chief executive. In future, “I hope for their sake that they do a better job at negotiating.”
astutely精明地; 伶俐地;
complimentary问候的; 夸奖的
在这些接受采访的高管中,有些人认为他们的中方竞标人在交易中略显老奸巨猾。其中一位曾向中方出售过四家矿业公司的高管认为,和西方的买家比中国的表现不错。而其他人说话就没这么好听了。谈到执行收购时,那些高管都认为中国企业在这方面还得赶紧加把劲。有些人表示,他们甚至都很难制止住他们的投资银行急于掏钱的脚步。“他们搞砸了收购案,”一欧洲总裁说到: “我希望他们会变得更善于进行商业谈判一点,也算是为了他们自己好啦。”
Chinese firms also risk political fallout if they fail. Their sense of mission makes them “transparent”, says one European executive of his experience selling a firm. “They cannot take the chance to lose the deal.” Another European boss says his Chinese suitor struggled to deal with Western stockmarkets. Their disclosure rules mean slip-ups are made public, and disparate institutional investors are unpredictable. As a result Chinese buyers prefer targets with a single big shareholder who can negotiate bilaterally. However, buying such firms can be costly because they command a scarcity premium.
fallout原子尘的降下,余波
suitor起诉者, 求婚者,
disclosure揭露; 泄露;
bilaterally双边地; 双方面地
scarcity缺乏, 不足, 缺少

中国企业同样还面临着另一危险,如果收购案失败,将有可能引发政治风波。一名欧洲高管回忆起出售某公司的经历时表示,中国企业,其任务的特殊性使得他们在某种程度上具有“透明性”,“在收购案这盘棋上,志在必得”。另一名欧洲总裁则表示,其中国买方在面对西方股市时,犯了难。西方股市的信息披露制度使得任何失误都公之于众,并且不同机构投资者对企业的看法也难以预料。这样一来,中国买家们则将目光投向了那些有单一大股东的企业,以便进行双边谈判。然而,由于得支付一定量的稀缺性溢价,收购此类公司通常代价昂贵。

The price China pays is often dismissed as inconsequential: what are a few billion in the grand scheme of things? But even for rich countries, systematically overpaying for foreign assets is a bad idea. After a binge in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Japanese firms retrenched.
dismissed解散的, 摒弃的
retrenched节省; 缩短;
中国开出的高额支票常又因漫天开价而拒收:区区几十亿,从大局来看算什么?但,即使国家再富有,大举超额收购国外资产也觉非上乘之策。上世纪80年代末90年代初,日本大肆吞并国外企业后,终是不得不节衣缩食来维持运行。

I love you. Tell me your name
朕看上你了。报上名来!

Integrating an acquisition is just as important as price. Once the deal is done—a text message from China confirming a higher offer is not unknown—there may be a signing ceremony in the target firm’s country and then a banquet in China, attended by central bankers and government ministers. More grog is compulsory. “You will leave the dinner completely drunk,” says a survivor. The bought firm’s bosses may be asked to linger in well-paid but largely symbolic roles.
integrate综合, 使成整体
acquisition获得, 取得
banquet宴会, 盛宴;
compulsory义务的, 强迫的

企业收购后的文化融合与当初的定价过程同样重要。一旦交易达成(有时甚至是一条来自中方的手机信息,以抬价敲定),那么接下来的便是在目标公司所在地进行的签字仪式,以及在中国举行的酒筵了。那酒筵政企高官齐聚是一定,不醉不归是必然了。一位经历过那水深火热的高管就表示:“你绝对只能醉昏了爬出会场的”。卖方企业的老板们有可能留职,日进斗金,但大多毫无实权。
Those interviewees who experienced Chinese firms’ integration efforts mostly reckon they began well. “They had done their homework,” says one. Their approach was “very clever” at first, recalls another. The buyer’s message that it would keep all staff “was extremely simple and well received”, he says. Usually the acquired company keeps some autonomy, with its own legal status and name. Only one executive, at a North American firm, felt this initial group hug was insincere: the Chinese took over “the day I walked out of the building…Critical positions were replaced instantly.” An ex-colleague disagrees, saying the Chinese just took firm control.
autonomy自治, 自治权,
initial开始的, 最初的
hug拥抱, 紧抱,
那些经历过与中国公司磨合阶段的高管们,大多评价称,中方做得不错。其中一名高管说:“他们做了他们应做的”。而另一名则回忆称,他们拉关系的方式起初还真“聪明”。他表示,中国买方透露出的信息是,他们会留下所有员工,意图简单明了,让人满心欢喜地接受安排。通常情况下,被吞并的公司仍保有一些自主权,如公司名称和法律地位。只有一位来自某北美公司的老总称,这种初次拥抱式的示好,中方并非出于诚意:“我一转身,公司的重要位置上的人就都换了”。而他以前的一名同事则不这样认为,中方只是在交接公司掌控权罢了。

Over time, though, business plans change. Natural-resources firms can become captive suppliers to China, rather than selling on the open market. An executive of a Latin American mining company recalls a blazing row between the two groups of geologists which was resolved when the Westerners realised their new objective was to maximise production, not profits. In the longer term the DNA of Chinese corporations—a sense of mission, consensus, deference and opacity—can cause difficulties. These can be compounded by a dearth of English-speaking managers familiar with working outside China. An architect of a failed deal says, “There would have been some great opportunities—and some really big problems.”
maximise把 ... 增加到最大限度, 尽量增大=maximize(美)
consensus一致, 同意, 共识
deference顺从; 尊重
dearth缺乏, 饥谨
architect建筑师; 缔造者, 创造者; 设计师

然而,随着时间的推移,公司蓝图确实有所转变。自然资源公司不再面向开放市场,而成了中国的专属供应商。某拉美矿业公司一高管回忆称,当时中西两方的地质专家之间争执比较多,但一旦西方专家意识到他们的新目标是增产而非获利时,矛盾便迎刃而解了。长久来看,中国企业团结一致、服从保密并富有敏感的天性是会惹祸上身的。此外,由于缺乏熟悉海外工作并以英语为母语的经理人,于此更是火上浇油。某交易失败案设计师称:“这交易案本可以带来大量机遇的,当然,随之而来的问题也不会少。”

The former boss of a European firm now owned by a Chinese giant says he liked his new colleagues but adds that the lack of open discussion caused friction. “Nobody contests what their immediate superior says. Never, never, never…The decisions are taken somewhere else.” The firm’s engineers became “frustrated” as plans were sent to China and amended. It is difficult for Chinese firms to run foreign ones, he says: “It is a very stratified society.” Another veteran of the same firm jokes about the “Beijing effect” and says that “having sold a business to them and worked for them for a year I don’t really have a clue how they work.” He adds: “Virtually all of the senior management have left and at the next level down people are looking [for new jobs].”
frustrated  挫败的; 泄气的
stratified形成阶层的, 分为不同等级
某欧洲公司前总裁说他挺喜欢现在的新同事的,但也表示,由于缺乏自由讨论,摩擦也不断。该公司目前已归某中国巨头所有。“没人会去辩驳顶头上司的话,从不……我们根本没有决策权。”任何方案都得送回中国,然后修改定稿,工程师们都要“崩溃”了。让中国企业来经营海外分公司,这真是太难了,该高管表示:“中国社会的等级观念太过严重。”来自同家公司的另一位资深高管则打趣这一“北京效应”,称“将企业卖给中国,外加给他们卖力都一年了,我还是不知道他们是怎样工作的。”他接着说道:“实际上,公司原来的高层职工基本都已离职,而下面的职员也正准备跳槽。”
This isn’t true of all deals, but nor is it unique. The former boss of another European acquisition says of the integration plan: “On paper it looked quite good but it failed totally.” Decisions took months for “even the simplest things”. He says that “almost all the key people left” and adds that “there is no company left” at the headquarters, just a shell.
这种情况既非全部,亦非仅有。另一家欧洲公司,作为被收购方,其前总裁在谈到其公司的磨合阶段时表示:“看上去非常完美的方案结果漏洞百出。”即使是最简单的决定,也得花上几个月。他说:“几乎所有关键位子上的职工都离开了,整个公司走得只剩下个壳了。”
at the headquarters 总部

The Chinese way  
中国式崛起
Does any of this matter? After all, Western takeovers can be brutal, too, and a buyer is by and large entitled to do as it pleases. Several mining and oil bosses also argue that a healthy process is at work, in which China buys firms and the capital and skilled people thus released are recycled into new start-up companies. Yet from Chinese firms’ perspective an inability to retain staff is a problem. Technical and local expertise accounts for much of a company’s value. And as China moves beyond digging stuff out of the ground—at which it is fairly adept—to more complex consumer industries, let alone creative ones, better management will be essential. In this, companies from other emerging markets, such as India and Brazil, have the advantage of private-sector credentials and more cosmopolitan cultures. The most durable multinational firms, such as Nestlé or Unilever, often transcend nationality.
brutal  残忍的, 不讲理的
inability无能; 无力
diggingout of the ground 得心应手
credentials国书
cosmopolitan世界性的; 全球的
durable持久的; 耐用的

Several mining and oil bosses also argue thata healthy process is at work, in which China buys firms and the capital and skilled people thus released are recycled into new start-up companies.宾语从句)
括号中划线部分是宾语从句的主干
但这些毛病真那么重要么?毕竟,西方收购者们有时也会冷酷无情,而通常出钱的那方都会随性而为。几位矿业公司和石油公司老总也说,这样一来,某种程度上也可算是良性循环。中方收购公司,使得资金和人才都能回流并重新建立新公司。然而,从中国的角度上来说,不能留住这些员工也是个问题。当地技术人员可算是公司的一大资本。虽然中方在采矿业可谓是得心应手,可一旦触及到更为复杂的消费行业(更不用说创新产业),那么加强管理则显得尤为重要了。在这方面,来自印度、巴西等其他新兴市场的企业,则具私营化和普世文化等优势。事实上,能经营长久的跨国公司,如雀巢和联合利华集团,通常最终都成了超越国界的经济实体。

A pessimistic view is that China will have to find other ways of “going out”. It could make passive equity investments through China Investment Corporation, a sovereign-wealth fund. Executives from two firms attest that its representatives take a back seat at board meetings. Joint ventures are another option. The boss of an oil firm with a Chinese partner says that “its motivation is not to take control” and that the relationship is harmonious.
attest证实, 证明;
take a back seat处于次要地位
harmonious和睦的, 和谐的,

比较悲观的观点会认为,中国将不得不遍寻出路来走向世界。通过中国投资有限责任公司(一只主权财富基金)来投资被动型股票,是可行的。但两家公司的高管证实,这样一来,公司代表在董事会上的发言将几乎毫无分量。那么,或者转变成合资企业。与中方合作的某石油公司总裁表示“中方的首要动机并不是掌权”,双方和谐共生。

Alternatively, Chinese companies could grow without buying. Until the wave of cross-border deals in the 1980s most firms went global by building operations from the ground up. Chinese firms are becoming good at this. One of them, COSCO, has a concession to run part of Greece’s biggest port. Chinese construction firms have won contracts across Africa and eastern Europe. Huawei has developed without making large acquisitions.
concession  特许, 认可
或者,中国企业也可以不通过吞并的方式来自我发展。直到上世纪80年代跨境交易兴起以前,大多数公司都是通过独立新建分公司来扩展国外业务的。而中国公司也正逐渐变得精于此道。其中,中国远洋运输集团就在希腊最大的港口拥有部分特许权。中国多家建筑公司也与非洲和东欧的国家达成了建筑项目。华为,也是在没有吞并大公司的情况下,发展起来的。

For all that, it is hard to believe that China’s companies and politicians want to operate with one arm tied behind their backs. And although many of the country’s big firms may never resemble Western ones, with diffuse private shareholders and independence from the state, they may have to edge more towards this template in order to succeed at large cross-border deals. In a speech this month a senior Chinese official emphasised the role abroad of China’s “private” firms, which typically have less overt state direction. To address other countries’ concerns about political control, China may also have to loosen its hold on its giant state-owned companies and ensure that their power structure is more transparent.
resemble  相似, 象, 类似
(And although many of the country’s big firms may never resemble Western ones原因状语), (with diffuse private shareholders and independence from the state条件状语), they may have to edge more towards this template in order to succeed at large cross-border deals. (主句)
尽管如此,还是很难相信,中国的企业家和政客们喜欢带着脚镣指挥公司。并且,虽然其多数大企业绝不可能跟西方同行如出一辙,但随着私人股东的增多以及与国家的日益分离,为了在大型跨国交易中成功,他们仍有可能学习西方同行的运营方式的。在本月某讲话中,一名中国高级官员强调了中国“私营”企业在海外市场中的角色,他表示,通常此类公司受国家监管较少。为减轻其他国家对中国企业受政治约束的担忧,中国还可以放松政府对国有巨头的管制,并确保这些公司的权力结构更加透明。

Most of the executives interviewed by The Economist also felt that the next generation of Chinese executives, in their 30s and 40s today, with more international education and experience, would prove far more effective than the present cohort of chiefs. Over the past two decades the old guard has taken a rusting industrial base and from it made gleaming corporate giants. Yet if those firms are to achieve their full potential abroad their creators may have to relax their grip.
cohort一群人, 同伴, 步兵队
gleaming  闪烁的; 隐约地闪现的
grip握牢; 控制; 掌握;
Most of the executives (interviewed by The Economist定语后置)also felt thatthe next generation of Chinese executives, in their 30s and 40s today, with more international education and experience, would prove far more effective than the present cohort of chiefs.)
划线部分是主句,the next generation of ……cohort 是that引导的宾语从句
括号中的划线部分是从句中的主干,in their 30s and 40s today, with more international education and experience 都是后置定语

接受本刊采访的大多数高管们还认为,由于接受过更多的国际化教育以及拥有更多跨国经验,中国的下一代精英(即现年30到40岁的这一代人),将会比这代当权者做得更好。在过去的20年间,老一派建设者接过了锈迹斑斑的工业基础,却造出了光彩夺目的企业巨头。如果这些公司力图在国外纵马奔腾的话,那他们的创造者可得松松手中的缰绳了。
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好多啊,辛苦了
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好厉害~~给你敬礼~~
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have solicited Chinese ?
這個詞彙不知道如何來形容。歐洲部份業界的悲哀恥辱。
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