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本文摘要:As I follow Neil Shen into the head office of DJI, the largest drone company in the world, its staff greet him with bowed heads. Wearing a black shirt, grey slacks and black Italian-made loafers, the 47-year-old is no stranger to this kind


As I follow Neil Shen into the head office of DJI, the largest drone company in the world, its staff greet him with bowed heads. Wearing a black shirt, grey slacks and black Italian-made loafers, the 47-year-old is no stranger to this kind of reception.沈南鹏身穿黑色衬衫、灰色长裤,脚上穿着一双意大利生产的黑色平底皮鞋。我跟在他身后走出全球仅次于无人机生产公司——大疆创新科技有限公司(DJI)的总部,员工们低着头向他致词,而他似乎早已习惯了这种交谈的方式。Shen is one of China’s most successful investors — Forbes magazine puts his personal fortune at $1bn — and head of China operations for the Silicon Valley venture capital outfit Sequoia Capital. At home his rise at a western firm is widely seen as emblematic of the country’s growing status.现年47岁的沈南鹏是中国最顺利的投资者之一,《福布斯》(Forbes)估算他个人财富有10亿美元,他也是硅谷风险投资公司红杉资本(Sequoia Capital)中国业务的负责人。中国国内普遍认为,他在一家西方公司身居高位,也象征物着中国地位的下降。

Indeed, some believe it to be only a matter of time before Sequoia Capital China produces more returns than its parent. But on the day of our meeting, in early July, the volatile Chinese stock market is in meltdown (it will fall eight per cent on that day alone). Although he has “only” $6bn under management in his China funds, Shen has, according to a recent estimate from Chinese state television, stakes in companies with a market capitalisation of more than $400bn. The downturn means this figure will have taken a substantial dip.实质上一些人坚信,红杉资本中国基金(Sequoia Capital China)建构的收益早晚多达其母公司。但就在今年7月初我们见面的那一天,跌宕起伏的中国股市大幅度暴跌(仅有在当天就下跌了8%)。


Shen, who has a reputation for coolly machine-like calculation, seems unperturbed. Though he admits to carrying three smartphones — to monitor the various service-providers, he says — he hardly glances at the screens.沈南鹏回应很淡定,他具有像机器一样耐心计算出来的名声。尽管他坦白自己随身携带带着3部智能手机——他说道这是为了紧盯各个服务提供商——但实质上他很少去看这些手机屏幕。

“Things have not settled yet,” he says. “We need to wait for a few weeks. At the moment, the situation is not market-driven. There are thousands of companies that need money and only five per cent are public. If the valuations come down, that is good for us. The expectations of entrepreneurs were too high.”他说道:“现在还没稳定下来,我们必须等候几周。目前的形势并不是市场驱动的。


创业家们以前的希望太高了。”A decade ago, you wouldn’t have found many Chinese internet entrepreneurs on a list of global billionaires. Today, they are numerous, from Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce giant Alibaba, and Pony Ma, founder of Tencent, which began life as a gaming site and is now a social media behemoth, to Robin Li of Baidu, the mainland equivalent of search engine Google, and Lei Jun of smartphone maker Xiaomi. And, while Shen is now primarily known as an investor, he, too — as one of the founders of Ctrip, the hugely successful Chinese travel website — was an internet entrepreneur.十年前,在全球亿万富翁排行榜上看到多少中国互联网企业家的名字,如今却喷出了一大批,比如电商巨头阿里巴巴(Alibaba)创始人马云,趁此机会做到游戏网站、后来发展为社交媒体巨擘的腾讯(Tencent)的创始人马化腾,“中国内地的谷歌(Google)”搜索引擎公司百度(Baidu)的李彦宏,还有智能手机制造商小米(Xiaomi)的雷军。

尽管沈南鹏主要以投资著称,但他也是一名互联网创业家,他是做到得十分顺利的中国旅游网站携程网(Ctrip)的创始人之一。In a technology landscape more complex, concentrated and fast-moving than even Silicon Valley, one or more of the key players Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu has a stake in every one of the top 10 apps in China. Moreover, both of the Mas (who are unrelated) have large family offices that alternately co-operate and compete with investment firms such as Sequoia and its big rivals Hillhouse Capital and Tiger Global Management. So, in addition to the direct competition that exists between all of them, there are numerous proxy rivalries that play out through the companies that receive money from them.在真是比硅谷还要简单、集中度更高而且日新月异的中国科技业,前十大App中的每一款App都获得了阿里巴巴、腾讯和百度三大互联网公司中最少一家的入股。此外,马云和马化腾(两人并无亲戚关系)都有可观的家族财经室(family office),这些财经室与投资公司——如红杉资本及其主要竞争对手低瓴资本(Hillhouse Capital)和老虎环球基金(Tiger Global Management)——内敛合作,内敛竞争。

因此,除了各方彼此之间的必要竞争以外,还有通过各自投资的公司进行的代理竞争。There are about five private Chinese technology companies with a value of more than $10bn and many others with a value of more than $1bn. Shen is an investor in most of them. As a venture capitalist, his role is to get involved in the earliest stages of a company’s life, when the technology is still untried and the ability of a founder to execute on their vision remains uncertain. To use the analogy of another, admiring tech investor: “Neil Shen would have invested in [Chinese basketball superstar] Yao Ming when he was five, and I would not have had the courage to invest in him even when he was 20!”约有5家中国民营科技公司的价值多达100亿美元,还有多家公司的价值多达10亿美元。沈南鹏在这些公司大多都有投资。

作为一名风险投资者,他对一家公司的投资一般来说从最早期开始,在这个阶段,技术仍未经过实践证明,创始人实施自己的设想的能力仍然不确认。一位对沈南鹏很是敬佩的科技业投资者比喻说道:“沈南鹏不会在(中国篮球巨星)姚明5岁的时候对他展开投资,而我即便在姚明20岁的时候也没有勇气对他展开投资。”“You have to totally change your mindset when you are a venture investor,” Shen explains. “When you do private equity, you have so many reference points. The companies are basically static. In buyout investments, globally, you just improve the operating efficiency, put on a lot of borrowed money and you could make money. VCs in China can’t do that. The situation is much more dynamic. It is all about giving small and fast fish money so they can compete successfully with bigger, slower fish.”沈南鹏说明称之为:“如果你是一名风险投资者,你就必需彻底改变自己的思维方式。


你要给规模小、行动慢的公司资金,这样它们就能顺利地与更加大型却行动迟缓的公司竞争。”Shen was the first outside investor in the drone company we are visiting. Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI), he tells me, is already making money (he estimates $200m profit this year) and is valued at $10bn. It commands 70 per cent of the world’s consumer drone market and is becoming omnipresent: the drone that crashed on the White House lawn in January was made by DJI.沈南鹏是大疆公司的第一位外部投资者。他告诉他我,大疆早已在赚了(他估算今年能有2亿美元利润),估值超过100亿美元。大疆在全球消费者无人机市场占有70%的份额,其产品于是以显得无处不在:今年1月失事在白宫草坪上的无人机就是大疆生产的。

Outside the conference room where lunch has been ordered in for us from the restaurant chain Spaghetti House, models of DJI’s latest drones, with names such as Phantom and Ronin, are being shown to a parade of visitors, both local and international. The room itself is sparsely furnished and decorated, save for one piece of framed calligraphy on a whitewashed wall. It reads: “Great Ambition Lacks Borders”: the last character — jiang (“border”) — is the same character as the “jiang” in the company’s title.我们订立了连锁餐厅Spaghetti House的午餐,以备在会议室用餐。会议室外面摆放着精灵(Phantom)、如影(Ronin)等最新款大疆无人机模型,一些来自国内外的参观者正在参观。

会议室内没多余家具和装饰,一堵红墙上挂着一幅上色好的字:“大志无疆”。Shen lines his phones up on the table, where, for the next two hours, they periodically beep to the rhythm of plunging share prices. He tells me that he uses WeChat, the Tencent messaging app, far more than email. “Western companies don’t have the right mindset for China in many ways,” he says. “When you register for a western app, they always ask for your email address. But your mobile phone number is your identity in China.”沈南鹏把三部手机依序放在桌子上,接下来的两个小时里,它们不时随着股价下跌的节奏而听见。他告诉他我,他用于微信(WeChat,腾讯的通信APP)的时间近少于电子邮件。


”Shen’s success is a lot to do with understanding the local environment and adapting to it. He recently put money into LinkedIn and Airbnb, with plans to bring both into China. Last year he hired a CEO for LinkedIn China — he is on its board — and plans to introduce locally available products such as Red Rabbit, a networking app aimed at a less sophisticated audience than the wealthy English-speaking professionals who tend to use LinkedIn China.沈南鹏的顺利与他解读并适应环境国内这种环境不无关系。他最近投资了领英(LinkedIn)和Airbnb,并计划将两家公司引进中国。

去年他为领英中国(LinkedIn China)聘用了一位首席执行官——他是该公司董事——并计划发售本土化产品,比如赤兔(Red Rabbit),这款社交APP针对中低端人群,而不是富足、谈英语的专业人士,后者往往用于领英中国。Generally, Shen dislikes coming in at such a late stage of a company’s development. “I don’t feel as deeply involved,” he says. “When I come in early, it’s more of an adventure. I feel more like an entrepreneur again. Of course, you make more money, but you are so closely knitted. You say to yourself, ‘Hey! I identified this company when it had only 15 people camped out in some shabby office in Shanghai.’ You grow with them and they grow with you.” Just for a moment, the persona of a dispassionate investor seems to disappear.一般来说,沈南鹏不讨厌在公司发展到后期才参予进去。



Our lunch boxes have arrived, along with some cheap plastic utensils. Elegant porcelain cups, however, are produced for the hot coffee and steaming jasmine tea. The meal comes to us thanks to a service called Ele.me (translated as Hungry!), in which, I am unsurprised to learn, Shen has also invested. The company, he explains, started in his home city, Shanghai, delivering food to university students who found their dormitory fare insufficiently appetising. It now operates in major cities across the mainland (an average order costs about $4, with restaurants paying the delivery service).我们订立的午餐到了,一起送的还有廉价的塑料餐具。不过,精致的瓷制杯子用来鲜花热咖啡和热气腾腾的茉莉花茶十分适合。我们用于了一款取名为“吃饱了么”的订餐服务APP叫餐——不来我所料,沈南鹏也是这款软件的投资者。


It is also part of a chain of mobile internet companies that, in such an opportunistic environment, inevitably trespass on each other’s turf. This poses problems for investors such as Shen. “It isn’t that it starts out as a conflict of interest,” he explains, as DJI staff run around making sure we have everything we require. “It is that they converge because the borders between their models are often times vague.”它也是一系列移动互联网公司中的一部分——在这样一个充满著机会主义的环境中,这些移动互联网公司的业务领域不可避免地经常出现了交叉。这给沈南鹏等投资者带给了一个问题。在大疆公司的员工忙着打算我们必须的各种东西时,沈南鹏说明说道:“并不是一开始就有利益冲突,而是它们渐渐趋同,因为有所不同模型之间的界限往往随着时间推移而模糊不清。”Shen has chosen a lunch box that contains spaghetti with an unidentifiable meat sauce, while I am handed a suspiciously bright pilau rice with chunks of seafood and avocado in a cream sauce. We are both given another box containing a salad of cut tomatoes, eggs, olives, chunks of sausage and chopped ham. Since I don’t eat meat, I put that one aside. There are containers with soup with bits of meat as well. Shen, not known for a big appetite even when he is dining at Hong Kong’s fanciest restaurants, regards his box with a wary lack of enthusiasm.沈南鹏中选了一份知道倒入了什么肉羹的意大利面条,拿着我的则是一份色泽暗得怀疑的奶油酱汁海鲜鳄梨盖浇饭。


Shen’s role at Sequoia is not the first time he has bridged east and west. Born in the province of Zhejiang, Nanpeng Shen grew up in Shanghai and attended Shanghai Jiao Tong University, where, according to friends, he was considered a maths genius. He ended up in the US at Yale School of Management and, after graduating in 1992, became one of the first people from mainland China to work on Wall Street.沈南鹏在红杉资本的角色是为东西方牵线搭桥,这并非是他首次扮演着此类角色。沈南鹏出生于中国浙江省,在上海长大,后来考取了上海交通大学,据他的朋友说道,沈南鹏在校时被指出是数学天才。他后来前往美国耶鲁大学管理学院(Yale School of Management)求学,1992年毕业后沦为最先在华尔街工作的中国内地人之一。“When I graduated from Yale, I spoke English OK, but at that time Neil Shen was not good at making pitches or presentations,” he says, momentarily slipping into the third person. “I needed a different angle. Because of my math, I had good analytical skills, so I could do derivatives. Lots of Chinese bankers on Wall Street started that way.”他说道:“从耶鲁毕业的时候,我英语说道得还不俗,但当时的沈南鹏还不擅长于促销或者演说。


在华尔街的许多中国银行家都是这么开始的。”By the mid-1990s, the Chinese market was coming alive as people’s wealth grew and, for the first time, they had money to invest. Shen was among a group of so-called “sea turtles”, Chinese who, having studied overseas, chose to return home. “I only became a real banker when I went back to China,” he says, putting down his plastic fork. “There, the cultural disadvantages disappeared. I could pitch to the Bank of China and pitch to the Ministry of Finance. I didn’t have weaknesses any more.”上世纪90年代中期,随着中国人财富减少,并且首次有钱人投资,中国市场开始绽放生机。沈南鹏出了所谓的“海龟”中的一员——“海龟”是所指在海外求学,然后自由选择回国的中国人。沈南鹏拿起自己的塑料叉子说:“返回中国后,我才出了一名确实的银行家。


我仍然有弱点。”By the end of that decade, when the first waves of the new tech economy reached the mainland, Shen was running China capital markets for Deutsche Bank. Internet companies such as Sina and Baidu were in the headlines and the race was on to create the Chinese equivalent of Google. Many of Shen’s classmates from high school, university and Yale were becoming involved, and he, too, decided to jump in.到上世纪90年代末,新的科技经济的第一波浪潮风吹到中国内地,当时沈南鹏在德意志银行(Deutsche Bank)负责管理中国资本市场业务。新浪(Sina)和百度(Baidu)等互联网公司经常出现在新闻头条方位,争当中国谷歌的竞赛早已进行。

沈南鹏的许多高中、大学和耶鲁的同学都参予这股浪潮,而他也要求投身其中。In December 1999, together with James Liang, whom he had known since they were both 15 and had been nominated by teachers to take part in the first Shanghai computer programming competition, and two others, he founded Ctrip. “There was no Lonely Planet for China,” he recalls. “We knew Expedia was doing well in the US and we thought, ‘There is no information about travel in China, and an internet application for information and online booking would do well’. The internet was the perfect tool.”1999年12月,沈南鹏与梁建章(James Liang)及另外两人一起创立了携程网——沈梁两人15岁结识,当时他们皆被老师引荐参与在上海举行的首届计算机编程竞赛。

他回想道:“那时还没《寂寞星球》(Lonely Planet)中国版,我们告诉Expedia在美国十分火,因此我们想要,‘现在没关于在中国旅游的信息,首创一个旅游信息和在线预约的互联网应用于不会很不俗’。互联网是极致的工具。”The contrast with his former corporate life was stark: “I went from sleeping in five-star hotels and meeting with bank heads to a very different life.” Some security came from the fact that his wife remained an investment banker, he says.这与他以前的企业生活构成鲜明对比:“我以前寄居5星级酒店,与银行高管会谈,那时的生活则几乎有所不同。

”他说道,还算数有些安全感的是,他的妻子仍然是一名投资银行家。But, by 2005, with Ctrip valued at more than $1bn, Shen was beginning to realise that, “It was natural for me to combine the roles of investment banker and entrepreneur by taking the role of an investor.” When he received a call from Sequoia later that year, he was ready to listen. The summons came as the mobile internet in China was taking centre stage, and Tencent had recently listed. Shen decided to join, attracted by the promise of “independent investment decisions from day one”.但到了2005年,随着携程估值多达10亿美元,沈南鹏开始认识到,“通过当作投资者的角色,我可以将投行家和创业家的角色融合一起”。在那年晚些时候收到红杉的电话时,他打算拒绝接受聘用。


A decade on from that decision, Shen is as fiercely competitive as ever. During China’s traditional spring festivities, Shen often invites investors to the tropical island of Hainan, where he owns a mansion on the beach, adjacent to Jack Ma’s. Unlike his guests, however, Shen himself rarely indulges in golf or cards. Instead, according to guests, he is constantly on the phone to entrepreneurs: both because he can’t bear to lose a deal, and to stop rival investors getting through to those same entrepreneurs.自作出那个要求以来早已过去了十年时间,沈南鹏仍然同以往一样极为固执。在中国春节期间,沈南鹏一般来说不会邀投资者到坐落于热带地区的海南岛渡假——他在那里有一座海滨别墅,与马云的别墅坐落。然而,与他的客人有所不同,沈南鹏本人并不沉迷于高尔夫或者吃饭。忽略,据他的客人说道,他大大地与创业家们通话:这既是因为他无法忍受丧失一桩交易,也是因为想让其他投资者联系上那些创业家。

When I say to Shen that this quality of drive and competitiveness is something I more generally associate with people from China’s previous generation, those who endured the bitter hardships of the Cultural Revolution and are trying to make up for lost time, he appears puzzled. But he pauses to think about it, and then tells me he plans to go to Scotland later in the month for some golf, as if to demonstrate that he does lead a balanced life.我向沈南鹏回应,这种极富胆量和竞争意识的品质一般来说更容易经常出现在中国上一代人身上——那些接受文革磨难,并希望填补丧失的时间的人——他听见这句话后变得有些疑惑。但他想要了一会儿,然后告诉他我,他过段时间要去苏格兰打高尔夫,或许在指出,他的确侧重生活与工作的均衡。“It isn’t about the money,” he says haltingly, as if he has never thought about this. “It’s so exciting. If some of the top companies in China were funded originally by Sequoia, wouldn’t you be excited if you were me?”沈南鹏犹豫不决地说:“不是为了赚。

”或许指出他未曾想要过这个问题。“这份工作十分令人兴奋。如果中国一些最杰出的公司最初是由红杉获取资金的,如果你是我的话,怎么会会深感激动吗?”One of the things that complicates Shen’s job most is the tension that exists today between investors and entrepreneurs in China. In the eyes of some backers, entrepreneurs are spending too much money as they compete with one another for the attention and patronage of customers, subsidising users in the process. Shen tries to use his own experience to see it from both sides.沈南鹏的工作中遇上的最简单的情况之一是,在当今中国,投资者与创业家之间的关系有些紧绷。


“Sometimes, there are tough decisions to be made,” he explains. “When you identify an entrepreneur to back, you have to live with their weaknesses. You reason with him, you argue with him, but you seldom go against the entrepreneur.”他说明称之为:“有时候必须做出艰苦的要求。当你确认要反对某位创业家的时候,你被迫忽视他们的弱点。你向他们说明,与他们争辩,但你很少不会与他们讨好。

”Along the way, he acknowledges, there are bound to be stumbles. He recalls that he originally rejected overtures from JD.com, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon, and now one of the most valuable companies in his portfolio. “That delay was very costly,” he says, shaking his head as he closes the lid on his half-eaten food. It is not clear which he mourns most: the poor quality of our lunch or the cost of his hesitation.他否认,受罚是才对的。他回想道,他最初曾拒绝接受京东(JD.com)——相等于中国的亚马逊(Amazon),而现在京东早已沦为他的投资人组中最有价值的公司之一。他说道:“这种延后代价十分大,”他摇着头,垫上不吃了一半的米饭。

不告诉他更为失望的是哪件事:是我们午餐的质量还是他犹豫不决的代价。It is getting late. After prodding doubtfully at a bright yellow jellylike substance that turns out to be mango salad dressing, the smartphones on the table begin to vibrate and beep once more. “Venture capital is a regret business,” concludes one of China’s most successful investors. And with that he finally turns his attention back to the gyrations of the market.对话邻近完结。在他疑惑地砍了砍一个黄灿灿的果冻一样的东西之后——后来找到是芒果沙拉酱——桌子上的手机再度抽动着听见。




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