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2017-08-15    来源: 取经号JTW    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


Where the twain shall meet

Western multinationals are coining it along China’s One Belt, One Road


“Mutual benefit, joint responsibility and shared destiny,” sings a choir of enthusiastic schoolgirls in a music video called “The Belt and Road, Sing Along” from Xinhua, a news service run by the Chinese government, that mixes shots of cranes and shipping containers with people enjoying foreign landmarks. Western firms are scarcely less optimistic. Launched by China in 2013, the One Belt, One Road policy, known as OBOR, has two parts. There is a land-based “belt” from China to Europe, evoking old Silk Road trade paths, then a “road” referring to ancient maritime routes. OBOR will span 65 countries, and China has so far invested over $900bn in projects ranging from highways in Pakistan to railway lines in Thailand. Western multinationals, spotting a bonanza, are selling billions of dollars of equipment, technology and services to Chinese firms building along it.
“共同利益、共同责任、共同命运。”一支热情洋溢的女生合唱队在MV中这样唱道。这部名为《一带一路,一路欢唱(The Belt and Road, Sing Along)》的MV由新华社制作,画面中有起重机、集装箱和欣赏外国地标的游客。对于一带一路,西方公司基本都持乐观态度。“一带一路”政策是中国于2013年发起的,简称“OBOR”。它由两部分构成。一部分是从中国到欧洲的陆上“丝绸之路经济带”,传承了古代的丝绸之路。另一部分则是与古代海上丝绸之路相关的“21世纪海上丝绸之路”。“一带一路”政策将涵盖65个国家。从巴基斯坦的高速公路到泰国的铁路,中国目前已经投资了许多项目,总投资额超过9千亿美元。西方跨国公司看准了“一带一路”将是它们财源广进的一次机遇,于是将价值数十亿美元的设备、技术和服务出售给沿一带一路建起的中国公司。(译者注:文中的“the One Belt, One Road policy”不是中国政府对该政策的官方表达,但不少外媒习惯用这个表述。官方于2015年9月钦定“Belt and Road”为标准译法,并建议“可视情使用the land and maritime Silk Road initiative”)

America’s General Electric (GE) made sales of $2.3bn in equipment orders from OBOR projects in 2016, almost three times the total for the previous year. John Rice, the firm’s vice-chair, expects the firm to enjoy double-digit growth in revenues along OBOR in coming years. Other firms, such as Caterpillar, Honeywell, and ABB, global engineering giants, DHL, a logistics company, Linde and BASF, two industrial gas and chemicals manufacturers, and Maersk Group, a shipping firm, rattle off lists of OBOR projects. Deutsche Bank has structured eight trade deals around it and has an agreement with the China Development Bank, one of China’s policy lenders, to fund several OBOR schemes.
2016年,美国通用电气(General Electric,GE)从“一带一路”项目中总共拿到了价值23亿美元的仪器订单,几乎是上一年的三倍。通用电气副董事长约翰·赖斯(John Rice)预测,在未来几年,通用电气从“一带一路”获得的收入将以两位数增长。除了通用电气,有许多公司都轻松拿到了“一带一路”的项目订单,其中包括机械工程巨头卡特彼勒公司(Caterpillar)、霍尼韦尔国际公司(Honeywell)和ABB集团(Asea Brown Boveri Ltd.),以及物流企业DHL、工业气体公司林德(Linde)、化工公司巴斯夫(BASF)和航运集团马士基(Maersk)。德意志银行(Deutsche Bank)则围绕“一带一路”签订了八份贸易合同,并与中国的政策性金融机构国家开发银行达成了一份协议,同意为一带一路项目提供融资支持。

All the activity has confounded early sceptics. They noted that in the past 15 years as China industrialised, the country’s companies ran construction projects over an expanse approximately equivalent to the built area of all western Europe with very little help from foreign firms.

Yet OBOR has highlighted that Chinese groups have little experience abroad, and that their Western counterparts offer a technological edge and thorough knowledge of local conditions across the OBOR region, from Tajikistan to Thailand. Partnering with Western multinationals also gives Chinese companies credibility, particularly with financial institutions. One Western executive admits that Chinese companies make liberal use of his firm’s name in OBOR project presentations to raise finance even though it is only marginally involved.

Some executives worry that OBOR may have its downsides in the longer term. China wants to open up new markets for Chinese firms in sectors that are currently dominated by Western companies, across industries ranging from engineering and telecoms to shipping and e-commerce. Western firms are profiting handsomely from OBOR itself, but Chinese ones even more so. A database of open-source information collated by the Reconnecting Asia Project, run by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a think-tank in Washington, DC, shows that 86% of OBOR projects have Chinese contractors, 27% have local ones and only 18% have contractors of foreign origin.
一些管理层人士担心,从长期来看一带一路的短板可能会逐渐显现出来。通过一带一路政策,中国想要为本国公司在非中国主导的行业打开新市场。从工程到电子通讯,再从航运到电商,所有这些行业现在都由西方公司主导。西方公司从一带一路中获利颇丰,而中国企业比它们赚得更多。一个由美国智库“战略与国际研究中心”(the Centre for Strategic and International Studies)运营,“亚洲再连接项目”(the Reconnecting Asia Project)负责信息整理的开源数据库显示,一带一路中86%的项目由中国公司承包,本地公司只承包了27%,而其他外国公司只承包了18%的项目。

Chinese firms are moving beyond contract work to become operators of projects and investors too. Their Western competitors may win lots of business in the OBOR countries only for as long as their technological advantage lasts. That lead in turn will be eroded as Western companies work with Chinese partners on OBOR. In 2016 alone, ABB did business with more than 400 Chinese enterprises, helping them adjust for huge differences in construction and engineering standards across countries. Such firms will learn and advance in the process.

Yet for now, Western companies are focused on the opportunities. Jean-Pascal Tricoire, the Hong Kong-based chief executive of Schneider Electric, a French energy-services firm, says that for his company OBOR is one of the most important plans of the early part of this century. Honeywell has recently formed a team called “East to Rest” that manages sales and marketing to mainland firms that are expanding abroad. As a goateed singer in Xinhua’s music video promises Chinese viewers, “when Belt and Road reaches Europe, Europe’s red wine is delivered to the doorstep half a month earlier”. For years to come, OBOR looks likely to be the toast of Western boardrooms, too.
但到目前为止,西方公司的关注重点在一带一路为它们带来的发展机遇上。现居香港的法国施耐德电气(Schneider Electric)首席执行官赵国华(Jean-Pascal Tricoire)表示,对他的公司来说,“一带一路”是21世纪初最为重要的项目之一。霍尼韦尔国际公司(Honeywell)最近组建了名为“东方服务于世界”(East to Rest)的项目小组,为想要进军国际市场的大陆公司提供销售和营销服务。就像新华社制作的MV中那个留着胡子的歌手唱得那样,“一带一路来到了欧洲,这里的红酒提前半个月送到家门口。”未来几年,西方公司的董事们很可能会对“一带一路”赞不绝口。

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