China’s Billions Are Powering Latin America’s Tech Boom
(Bloomberg) -- When Alex Tabor made his first trip to Beijing back in 2014, the Brazilian executive was worried about communication. Tabor doesn’t speak Mandarin, but he was hopeful that (with the help of a translator) he could get one thing across: the huge opportunity for Chinese companies looking to invest in Latin American tech firms.
While there, he met with officials at Baidu, China’s biggest online search engine, hoping to raise capital for his Internet discount hub, Peixe Urbano. Tabor was already focused on pivoting to a bigger business—one that could sell directly to users rather than just posting discounts. Baidu was interested, and took a majority stake.
在北京，塔博尔会见了中国最大的在线搜索引擎百度的高管，希望为其团购网站Peixe Urbano筹集资金。塔博尔已经将重心转移到更大的业务上——可以直接向用户销售产品，而不仅仅是发布折扣信息。百度对此感兴趣，并收购了Peixe Urbano的多数股权。
A few years earlier, in Chile, Felipe Henriquez had co-founded Clandescuentos, another venue for web surfers seeking deals. It was quickly scooped up by U.S. giant Groupon. He stayed on, helping build the portal’s South American footprint. By 2017, Henriquez and a group of investors bought the company back. It was renamed Groupon Latam.It was about this time that he called Tabor. Both serial entrepreneurs who even share the same birthday (they’re both 38), the men clicked immediately. The desktop-to-mobile transformation of Latin America was in full swing, and both men were in the vanguard. By merging Peixe Urbano with Groupon Latam, they hoped to dominate the Latin American marketplace.
几年前，在智利，菲利佩•恩里克斯(Felipe Henriquez)与他人共同创立了一家团购网站Clandescuentos，很快便被美国巨头Groupon收购。恩里克斯留任，帮助拓展该网站的南美市场。到2017年，恩里克斯和一群投资者回购了该公司并更名为Groupon Latam。恩里克斯立即联系了塔博尔，他们一拍即合，巧合的是这两位38岁的企业家竟然还是同一天生日。拉丁美洲从电脑到手机的转变正如火如荼地进行着，两个人都是先锋。通过将Peixe Urbano与Groupon Latam合并，他们希望主导拉美市场。
Had Tabor not enlisted the help of Baidu, their success story may have ended before it began.
As America recedes into the background, Chinese foreign direct investment in Latin America and the Caribbean has skyrocketed over the last ten years, according to a 2018 report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. China dropped close to $90 billion in the region between 2005 and 2016. With a growing emphasis on telecommunications, Chinese investment in emerging technology is increasingly the primary fuel behind Latin America’s tech boom.
Long term, Beijing wants to cement deals with countries that are both resource-rich—a critical need for Chinese industry—and have growing consumer demand. Often, those nations and their technology firms are seeking Chinese expertise—and money.
“I became very excited when I saw the opportunity with investment and guidance from China,” Tabor said during a recent interview in New York. “Historically, Latin America has looked to Silicon Valley and New York for business, but there are innovations in China that could be even more applicable to the Latin American reality.”
Henriquez agreed. “China's influence has been very important. Latin America is more similar to China than to the U.S.,” he said in an interview. “When you go to China, you see what’s going to happen in Latin America in five more years. Today, we look at China. We look at Meituan, at Alibaba and Tencent, to see what we can do in the future.”
In 2015, the Chinese government announced a ten-year plan to increase trade with Latin America to $500 billion and investments to $250 billion. In 2017, trade between the two regions stood at $266 billion.
At the time of Tabor’s visit, Baidu was already looking to invest in online marketplaces for local goods and services—things like ride hailing, grocery and food deliveries, bike and scooter rentals. A Brazilian-American and son of international aid workers, Tabor lived in South Asia for much of his childhood. He studied computer science at the University of Southern California and had already started a few other companies before Peixe Urbano—which is Portuguese for Urban Fish.
Baidu was formed in 2000 and went public five years later. In less than two decades, it has grown to dominate the Chinese internet space, providing a platform for users to obtain information and services through a Chinese-language searchable online platform, encyclopedia and other verticals for search-based products. In 2014, the Beijing-based firm launched its pay application, Baidu Wallet, and a food delivery vertical. As of 2016, mobile revenue made up 60 percent of Baidu’s receipts.
Meanwhile, in September, rival Meituan Dianping—a full service online marketplace that Tabor holds out as a model—raised $4.2 billion in the largest internet-focused IPO in four years.
That was the scale Tabor envisioned. After Baidu bought in, Peixe Urbano’s annual sales doubled. Tabor said that, in addition to funding, Baidu showed him how to grow his merchant coverage and mobile audience. By the end of 2016, Tabor’s company had 75 percent of the market share in Brazil, he said. Then, in 2017, he joined forces with Henriquez.
这样的融资规模也是塔博尔梦寐以求的。在获得百度的入股后，Peixe Urbano的年销售额翻了一番。塔博尔说，除了资金，百度还向其展示了如何扩大商业覆盖面和移动受众。他说，到2016年底，Peixe Urbano在巴西拥有75%的市场份额。然后，在2017年，他与恩里克斯联手。
Groupon Latam’s success followed the sudden, mass-adoption of smartphones across Latin America. Just as the same transformation catapulted more than one billion Chinese onto the mobile internet, the same door has opened for online retailers from Mexico to Chile. Mobile users in Mexico City and Santiago appeared almost overnight, and were suddenly hungry for the same app-convenience—to order pizza, check on traffic, hail a ride—that Chinese, Europeans and Americans now take for granted.
Online discount hubs like Groupon Latam earn a profit when merchants get a sale from their listing, picking up a small percentage of the transaction. The revenue adds up—Groupon Latam makes more than $250 million in sales per year, Tabor said. Local sales teams now dot the region, with a call center based in Florianopolis, a buzzing Brazilian beachside city. The town, home to a young, tech-oriented workforce, is “full of Argentineans, Colombians, Chileans and Uruguayans,” he said.
像Groupon Latam这样的在线折扣网站，网站上每成交一笔订单，商家就能赚取一部分的利润。塔博尔表示，Groupon Latam每年的销售额超过2.5亿美元。当地的销售团队现在遍布该地区，在热闹的巴西海滨城市弗洛里亚诺波利斯设有呼叫中心。
Tabor has around 1,000 employees located in six countries—Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Brazil—with 4.5 million active users annually. At any one time, Groupon Latam has up to 118,000 discounts posted online for things like a dinner for two at a new pizzeria in Buenos Aires, a vacation escape to the Chilean coast, a kickboxing class in Bogota, a massage in Guadalajara, or a flat-screen TV that can be delivered anywhere in Rio de Janeiro.
塔博尔的公司在哥伦比亚、墨西哥、阿根廷、智利、秘鲁和巴西六个国家拥有大约1000名员工，每年有450万活跃用户。任何时候，Groupon Latam 在网上发布的商品折扣信息都达到118,000 条，例如布宜诺斯艾利斯一家新开的披萨店的双人晚餐、智利海边度假之旅、波哥大的跆拳道课程、瓜达拉哈拉的按摩体验或者可送达里约热内卢任何地方的平板电视。
The company has since acquired Menu Express, a food delivery business, and Pipol, a mobile payments platform, both in Chile. The goal now, Tabor said, is to convert Groupon Latam into a real services hub.
此后，该公司先后在智利收购了食品快递公司Menu Express和移动支付平台Pipol。塔博尔说，现在的目标是将Groupon Latam转变成一个真正的服务中心。
“There are few e-commerce companies in Latin America that have a regional presence with this volume,” Henriquez said. “This platform could introduce the future business models that will be used in the region with an important scale and presence in the six largest markets of Latin America.”
Technology giants in China want to get in on the ground floor in Latin America’s tech explosion, and are showing up with cash. According to a report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL), Chinese firms were the largest investor in the region in 2017, with around $18 billion—representing 42 percent of the volume in the region.
Among them are ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing, which purchased Brazil’s 99 Taxis for an undisclosed amount while also expanding into Mexico. TCL, a Chinese tech firm with a subsidiary in Argentina, entered a joint venture with Radio Victoria, one of the country’s largest consumer electronics makers. Huiyin Blockchain Venture led a round of funding for Argentinean Bitcoin payments service Ripio. And Chinese Tencent invested $180 million in Nubank, a Sao Paulo-based fintech startup with five million customers and one of the top five credit cards in Brazil.
其中包括网约车公司滴滴出行，该公司以未披露的价格收购了巴西的打车应用99 Taxis，同时还在向墨西哥扩张。中国科技公司TCL在阿根廷设有子公司，它与阿根廷最大的消费电子制造商Radio Victoria组建了合资公司。汇银区块链风投公司牵头为阿根廷比特币支付服务Ripio提供了一轮融资。腾讯还向Nubank投资了1.8亿美元。Nubank是一家总部位于圣保罗的金融科技初创公司，拥有500万客户，是巴西五大信用卡之一。
Last year, China’s Xiaomi, known mostly for smartphones, opened stores in Colombia. Its products can already be found in Mexico, Brazil and Chile. Its continuing expansion into Latin America has relied on local brands with a strong presence, such as Movistar and Telcel, to distribute its products and build a brand. Also joining the fray is bike sharing platform Mobike, which began offering services in Mexico City and Santiago in 2018. That company was recently acquired by Meituan Dianping.
Nathan Lustig, 33, a partner at Magma Partners, helped launch a China-Latam accelerator last January seeking to connect business owners, investors and government officials in both regions. In 2018, the Santiago venture capital firm held ten workshops in Beijing and Shanghai, with themes rotating among businesses from Panama to Argentina.
33岁的内森•勒斯蒂格(Nathan Lustig)是Magma Partners的合伙人。去年1月，他帮助推出了一个“中国-拉美加速器”创业服务，旨在连接这两个地区的企业主、投资者和政府官员。2018年，这家位于圣地亚哥的风投公司在北京和上海举办了10场研讨会，主题由从巴拿马到阿根廷的众多企业中轮流举办。
“Right now, we’re at the inflection point,” Lustig said. “There’s a massive trend of copying from China because they solved the same problems ten years ago Latin America is dealing with today: the unbanked, no-credit scores, no phone-to-suddenly having smartphones.”
In Brazil, a company called Chinnovation emerged as a sort-of dating service for Chinese investors. The company takes them on a tour of Brazil to connect with companies ripe for investment. And it’s a two-way street. In Hsieh, director of Chinnovation, said e-commerce giant Alibaba is launching an executive program in Brazil next month with its eponymous business school, targeting entrepreneurs and executives.
Margaret Myers, program director at The Dialogue for China and Latin America, said China has been priming the region for decades. With mature relationships between governments in the agricultural and mining sectors, financial integration and telecommunications in the private sector was next. The timing for companies such as Groupon Latam couldn’t be better.
“中拉对话”项目主管玛格丽特迈尔斯(Margaret Myers)表示，中国几十年来一直在为该地区的发展做准备。随着农业和矿业部门政府之间关系的的成熟，接下来将是私营企业的金融一体化和电信化服务。对于Groupon Latam这样的公司来说，时机再好不过了。
China “considers itself a developing country that has experienced rapid growth and leapfrogging technologies,” Myers said. “So they understand how technological innovation in a developing market like Latin America can be achieved.”
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/46839.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
China has much more to do than fighting trade war with us. china has been helping many countries along the belt-and-road to build or upgrade their infrastructure ,the basis of further developing their economy by lending money to, and sending ingineers to help those countries, hence has won trust and support from those countries.
While US send troops, war ships, war planes, bombs to other countries, China bring capital investment, technologies.
D Plast month
Be careful Latin America, Washington does not want you to develop tech industry but want your dependency on the big US tech.
China is profiting due to the history of U.S. neglect and indifference toward Latin America.
Looks like China has found a strategic use of the $350B in cash which U.S. consumers send to China every year.
doggy dogglast month
and trumps making it sound like china is doing so bad economically
They don't worry about national security like US, so they can do business together. We, USA, are falling backward under Trump and cons closing door policy.
So it isn't so bad in Latin and central America? Then send back all of the illegals.
It's interesting that the CEO of these chinese companies, And the Brazilian s mentioned, all educated in USA...
Michael Wanlast month
Just thinking of China as a guy not very sharp, but with tons of money.
Captain Obviouslast month
The USA has been screwing Latin America for Decades. I suggest you all start learning Mandarin if you want to survive in the future.
I wonder what sort of lies and deceits Bolton could come out with to counter China's tech investments in Latin American countries. Lame excuses relating to security and cyber issues no longer work against China. Its US hacking and cyber attacks that most countries are worry about.
China help with a long term if the country do have a lots of resources for China need and always have little evil plan along the way.
Hahah... good luck !