《经济学人》:揭秘中国消费者
日期:2011-07-11 10:46

(单词翻译:单击)

Consumer goods
消费品

The mystery of the Chinese consumer
揭秘中国消费者

In the first of a two-part series on Asian consumers, we ask what makes the Middle Kingdom’s shoppers tick

Jul 7th 2011 | SHANGHAI | from the print edition

LILY LI wears a lanyard with a little plastic card around her neck, even at weekends. It is a badge of honour: it shows that she has a white-collar job. (She is a secretary at Access Asia, a retail-research company in Shanghai.) She uses Apple earphones for the cheap Chinese mobile phone in her pocket, so it looks as if she owns an iPhone. And she drives to work, though it takes four times longer than public transport, just to show off her little car.
李小姐周末也佩戴者一张小塑料卡片。这是荣耀的象征:白领。(李小姐是通亚公司Access Asia一位秘书,通亚公司是上海一家零售市场调研公司。)李小姐包里装着便宜的国产手机,耳上却戴着苹果的耳机,看起来就像用的是苹果iPhone手机。李小姐驾车上班,尽管耗时是公交车4倍,但是她就是想显摆她的小车。

After decades of deprivation and conformism, Chinese consumers regard expensive consumer goods as trophies of success. In public, they show off. In private, they pinch pennies. The owner of a gleaming new BMW will drive around for half an hour to avoid a 50 cent parking fee. And she will hesitate to spend much on interior decoration, because only her family sees the inside of her flat.
过了几十年的清苦日子,循规蹈矩。中国消费者们现在觉得昂贵的消费品昭示着成功。在外就炫耀不已,私下,锱铢必较。拥有一辆闪耀的新款宝马车就得四处转悠半个小时避免交那点停车费。购买房屋内部装饰则很犹豫,因为只有家人才看得到房子内。

By some forecasts China will be the second-largest consumer market in the world by 2015, not far behind America. Chinese people already buy more cars than people in any other country: 13.5m last year to Americans’ 11.6m. China is on its way to becoming the biggest luxury-goods market. The central government made an increase in domestic consumption one of the priorities of its latest five-year plan.
一些人预测中国会在2015年成为世界第二大消费市场,据美国不远。中国人已经比任何国家买的车都多:去年1350万辆车,美国则为1160万辆车.中国正在成为世界最大奢侈品消费市场。中央政府将加大国内消费作为未来5年计划重点。

Small wonder that Western firms are piling in. On July 4th Nestlé, the world’s largest food maker, confirmed that it is in talks with Hsu Fu Chi, one of China’s biggest makers of confectionery and baked goodies, with a view to buying the firm.
这就不奇怪西方公司蜂拥进入中国市场。世界最大食品生产商雀巢在7月4日证实正在与中国最大糖果点心和烘焙糕点生厂商徐福记谈判,计划收购徐福记。

If a deal is sealed, it would be one of the largest foreign takeovers yet seen in China: Hsu Fu Chi is valued at $2.6 billion on the Singapore stock exchange. China is currently Nestlé’s ninth-biggest market, with sales of SFr2.8 billion ($2.7 billion) last year. That is less than half what Nestlé sells in Brazil, although China has seven times Brazil’s population. Hence Nestlé’s hunger for Hsu Fu Chi’s distribution network, and for its knowledge of what tickles Chinese taste buds.
如果收购案达成,将成为中国最大外资收购案之一:徐福记新加坡股市市值26亿美元。中国目前是雀巢第9大市场,去年销售额28亿瑞士法郎(合27亿美元)。不到雀巢在巴西销售额一半,尽管中国人口是巴西7倍。因此,雀巢急需徐福记在中国的销售网络,和徐福记对中国消费者口味的了解。

“Understanding the consumer is the most important thing for us,” says Paul Bulcke, the boss of Nestlé. The food business is more local than almost any other—trying to sell cheese in China is like trying to sell stinky tofu in Switzerland. Nestlé has been sniffing around for takeover targets in China for the past two years. Hsu Fu Chi is not its first bite. In April it took a controlling stake in Yinlu Foods Group, a family-owned maker of peanut milk and canned rice porridge.
雀巢CEO保罗·薄凯Paul Bulcke 认为“我们深知消费者对我们至关重要。”较之其他行业,食品行业是非常本土化的—在中国卖奶酪就像在瑞士卖豆腐。过去两年,雀巢在中国四处搜寻收购目标,并没有一眼挑中徐福记。4月雀巢对银鹭食品公司控股(60%),银鹭公司是国内一家生产花生牛奶和灌装粥类的公司。

Multinational firms trying to woo Chinese consumers have so far concentrated on the country’s thriving coastal regions. P&G, an American maker of shampoo, toothpaste and other sundries, has its Chinese headquarters in Guangzhou. Its Anglo-Dutch rival Unilever’s home is in Shanghai. Yet both firms are preparing for a “second consumer revolution” among the 665m Chinese who live in rural areas. The income gap between China’s coastal cities and rustic interior is still six-to-one, but rural incomes are rising and 665m heads could use a whole lot of shampoo.
跨国公司竭力赢得中国消费者青睐,目标集中于中国沿海地区。宝洁公司(美国洗发水﹑牙膏及其他杂件生产商)在广州成立总部。它的对手联合利华(荷兰Margrine Unie人造奶油公司和英国Lever Brothers香皂公司于1929 年合并而成)中国总部位于上海。两家公司都在准备6.65亿中国农村消费者的“第二次消费者革命”。中国沿海和内地乡村收入差距依然是6:1,但农村收入已在提高,6.65亿人的日化产品使用量相当可观。

The Chinese government presents its own unique challenges. “Everything is political,” says James McGregor, a former head of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. “This is a government that lets foreign companies build market share when it needs them.” Its longer-term goal is to learn enough from foreigners so it can build its own national champions. To this end, it pushes foreign carmakers, among others, into unhappy partnerships with Chinese state-owned firms.
中国政府面临着自己的独特挑战。驻华美国商会前会长麦健陆James McGregor认为“一切政治化,如有需要,这个政府会让外企占有市场份额”长期目标则是尽可能从外国人身上学习,然后能够自立,建立自己的捍卫者。为了达到这一目标,政府鼓励外国汽车生产商,以及其他各行各业外企,与中国国企貌合神离地合作。

Almost all Western consumer-goods makers have felt Beijing’s heavy hand. Bernard Arnault, the boss of Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), a luxury-goods firm, was summoned by the Chinese ambassador in Paris in 2008 for a high-decibel dressing down after Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s president, said he would meet the Dalai Lama. In the following weeks scores of women marched into Louis Vuitton shops in China with fake Louis Vuitton handbags and brazenly demanded their money back.
几乎所有的西方消费品生产商都感觉到了政府的压力,奢侈品路易酩轩LVMH集团总裁伯纳德·阿诺Bernard Arnault,2008年因打算接见达赖喇嘛被中国驻巴黎大使谴责,此前法国总统萨科齐接见达赖喇嘛也被谴责。接下来几周,一些中国女顾客挎着高仿LV包进入LV中国专卖店的,要求退钱。

Unilever got into trouble recently for hinting that the price of some of its products would rise. The Chinese government is terrified of inflation, which it fears might spark unrest. It accused Unilever of inciting shoppers to hoard its products, and slapped it with a hefty fine. Yet Harish Manwani, Unilever’s chief operating officer, is undeterred. He is planning to increase Unilever’s business in China four- or fivefold in the next few years.
联合利华最近因为炒产品价格惹上麻烦。中国政府担心通胀引发社会恐慌,责令联合利华煽动消费者抢购,大力罚款(200万对跨国公司怕是挠痒都不算吧?)。但联合利华首席运营官Harish Manwani未受此挫折,坚持计划未来几年扩大联合利华在华业务。

Buttering up local party bosses
奉承地方官

The central government is not the only problem. Companies need to cultivate cordial relations with local potentates, too. Often the provincial governor’s say-so is needed to obtain land, employment licences and a stack of other bits of paper a firm needs to operate. Local party bosses tend to favour local Chinese firms—another reason why tie-ups can be helpful.
让外企头疼的不只是中央政府。公司还必须同当地政府培养出友好关系。企业要经营必须获得省政府批准土地使用权,行业许可证以及其他一系列手续。地方官总是偏爱当地企业—这就是为什么中外合作企业更方便的原因。

Another big challenge for Western multinationals is that their Chinese rivals are catching up fast. “Domestic players will be ferocious competitors,” predicts Derek Sulger at Lunar Capital, a private-equity firm in Shanghai.
西方跨国企业另一难题是中国对手赶超速度快。云月投资(Lunar Capital )公司苏丹瑞Derek Sulger(Managing Director at Lunar Group and a Partner at Lunar Capital Management Ltd.云月集团总经理,云月投资公司合伙人)预测“中国厂商会成为强劲对手。”

For now, Western firms enjoy a lucrative reputation for quality and safety. Lead pollution from local tinfoil-making workshops in Zhejiang province recently injured 103 children and scores of adults. Chinese consumers are as averse as anyone else to being poisoned, so such incidents persuade many to buy Western brands. But domestic companies can make things much more cheaply, and their quality is improving.
目前,西方企业有着平等安全的声誉。最近,浙江锡箔纸作坊铅污染物造成103名儿童以及书名成人血铅超高,中国消费者和所有消费者一样不愿意中毒,这样的事故说服了很多人去购买西方品牌。但国内公司有办法让价格低廉,同时提高质量。

Some Western consumer-goods firms that are also-rans at home do surprisingly well in China. Back in America, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC, part of Yum! Brands) is dwarfed by McDonald’s. In China it has 3,300 restaurants—more than three times as many as its rival—and opens a new one each day. The secret of its popularity is local managers with the freedom to adapt KFC’s offerings to the Chinese palate. That means fewer bargain buckets of wings and more congee, a rice porridge with pork, pickles or mushrooms.
一些西方消费品厂家在国内平凡无奇,在中国却混得风生水起。看看美国百胜全球餐饮集团旗下的肯德基,在中国麦当劳超越肯德基。肯德基在中国拥有3300家门店,是对手三倍,每天都开一家新店。肯德基流行的秘诀就是肯德基借鉴中国饮食文化,少点特惠鸡翅桶多点粥,加点猪肉﹑泡菜或者香菇的米粥。

Other Western firms can’t cope. Home Depot, an American DIY chain, is retreating from China after trying for years to persuade middle-class Chinese people to decorate their own homes.
其他西方企业合不上拍子。美国家具建材零售商Home Depot家得宝DIY连锁,数年试图说服中国中产阶级自己装饰屋子,惨败后撤出中国市场。

Home Depot “didn’t understand the market for home decoration,” says Ben Cavender at China Market Research in Shanghai. Chinese people typically have no garages in which to store tools. And there are legions of poor people who will paint and decorate for low wages. The middle classes tend to hire decoration companies, which subcontract to whichever construction firm pays the best kickbacks. At the beginning of this year Home Depot closed its last shop in Beijing. It now has only seven stores on the Chinese mainland.
CMR中国市场研究公司(CMR位于上海的一家市场研究﹑战略管理公司,总部中国上海)Ben Cavender说,家得宝“不懂家装市场”。中国人没有堆放工具的车库。中国有很多穷人愿意以极低的报酬刷墙。中产阶级更愿意请家装公司,转包给回扣最好的建筑公司。今年初家得宝关闭最后一家位于北京店。现在家得宝在中国大陆只有7家店。

In a recent report on market dynamics and a profile of the Chinese consumer, Bernstein Research offers several tips to help Western consumer-goods firms profit from the “second consumer revolution”. Don’t offer too many brands: offer only a few, but produce in quantity to exploit economies of scale. Keep improving your products and (crucially) the packaging; otherwise you won’t keep pace with such a fast-changing market. Build an efficient distribution network early on—delivering goods to inland shelves is hard. And court talent tenaciously. Few employees are loyal, and few want to work in the countryside, even if they were born there. Finally, be patient. It may be years before your Chinese operations make money.
Bernstein Research伯恩斯坦研究公司在一份市场分析报告和中国消费者资料中,向西方企业提供了几个在“第二次消费者革命”的盈利妙方。不要推出太多品牌:只推出一些,但是产量力争取得规模效应。坚持改进产品和(至关重要的)包装,否则就跟不上瞬息万变的市场。尽早建立有效的销售网络—把产品放在内地货架不容易。坚持吸引人才。没有员工是从一而终的,没人愿意在乡下工作,j即使生在乡下。最后一点,请耐心,外企在中国开始盈利可能需要好几年。

Bernstein could have added: beware. The rules in China are still being written. Different arms of government may interpret them differently (see next article). And if someone in power changes his mind, there is not much you can do about it.
伯恩斯坦公司该添上:谨慎行事。中国法规尚在完善中。政府不同部门可能进行不同干预。(见下文)。如果当权者改变主意,就很难动摇了。

Will the Chinese government allow Nestlé to buy Hsu Fu Chi? In 2009 it rejected a $2.4 billion bid by Coca-Cola to buy Huiyan Juice Group, a drinks firm, for no apparent reason. Analysts say that this is unlikely to happen again, however. “The company is not strategically important and together Nestlé and Hsu Fu Chi would control only about 5% of the market,” says Jon Cox at Kepler Capital Markets in Zurich. As the world’s largest chocolate-maker Nestlé has high hopes for a market of more than a billion people who currently eat shamefully little chocolate.
中国政府会允许雀巢收购徐福记吗?2009年政府拒绝了可口可乐24亿美元收购汇源果汁集团,没有明显原因。但是,分析家认为这种事不会再发生了。Kepler Capital Markets开普勒资本市场公司苏黎世分部Jon Cox 认为“徐福记没有战略重要性,而且雀巢加上徐福记也只能控制大约5%的市场。”作为世界最大巧克力制造商,雀巢对中国这块有超过十亿人口的市场寄予厚望,中国目前巧克力消费太少了,这就太寒酸了。

Much could go wrong. Many economists think Chinese households save too much. Some fear a property bubble or a banking crisis. The risks of selling consumer goods in China are immense. But so is the opportunity cost of staying away.
中国市场歧路也多。很多经济学家觉得中国居民储蓄太多。一些人担心房地产泡沫或者银行信用危机。在中国卖消费品风险是很大的。但如果不出手,可能失去的机会也很多。

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重点单词
  • badgen. 徽章,标记,正章,象征 vt. 授给 ... 徽章
  • inflationn. 膨胀,通货膨胀
  • thrivingadj. 旺盛的;蒸蒸日上的;繁荣的 v. 兴旺(thr
  • concentratedadj. 全神贯注的,浓缩的 动词concentrate
  • challengen. 挑战 v. 向 ... 挑战
  • rivaln. 对手,同伴,竞争者 adj. 竞争的 v. 竞争,
  • domesticadj. 国内的,家庭的,驯养的 n. 家仆,佣人
  • exploitvt. 剥削,利用,开拓,开采,开发 n. 功绩,勋绩,
  • provincialn. 乡下人,地方人民 adj. 省的,地方的,偏狭的
  • adaptvt. 使适应,改编 vi. 适应,适合