【英语财经】Lex专栏:中移动泰国收购让人困惑 Lex_China Mobile

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2014-6-11 16:12

小艾摘要: What to do if you are the biggest player in the world’s biggest mobile market? The natural thing is not to spend $880m on a small stake in a small player in a small market.China Mobile’s acquisition ...
Lex_China Mobile
What to do if you are the biggest player in the world’s biggest mobile market? The natural thing is not to spend $880m on a small stake in a small player in a small market.

China Mobile’s acquisition of an 18 per cent stake in Thailand’s debt-laden True Corp is strategically baffling. True is the number three player in a market with 140 per cent mobile penetration.

Yes, China Mobile needs to find growth. Its results last year were lacklustre as market share, voice revenues, margins and profits all dropped due to competition from both rival operators and internet chat services. Numbers for this year’s first quarter improved slightly but it is too early to call this a trend. Analysts are not convinced: earnings per share are expected to drop 14 per cent this year.

But there is still growth available at home. Mobile penetration is just 90 per cent, so there is a long way to go until it reaches Thailand’s level. And there are also spots of growth within the Chinese market. Revenues from wireless data rose 60 per cent last year (albeit on volumes that almost doubled) and China Mobile has a head start over rivals in 4G services.

It is not as if the company has a stellar record when it comes to overseas forays. A plan to go into Myanmar with Vodafone amounted to nothing. A three-year long attempt to buy 12 per cent of Taiwan’s Far EasTone was aborted last year.

This deal will not give China Mobile much growth either. A generous analysis says that owning the stake may teach the company how to navigate a mature market. Small investments elsewhere (why not try Africa, for instance) could add critical mass. But this deal may say more about True Corp chairman Dhanin Chearavanont’s connections in China than it does about the opportunities for mobile growth in Thailand.

如果你的公司是全球最大手机市场上的最大企业,你会怎么做?想必你不会用8.8亿美元去收购一个小市场上一家小企业的少数股权。

中国移动(China Mobile)宣布购入泰国电信运营商True Corp的18%股权,让人看不懂其战略意图。泰国手机普及率达到140%,True Corp是排名第三的运营商,目前债务缠身。

没错,中国移动是需要找到新增长点。去年中国移动的业绩不太出色,来自其他运营商与互联网聊天服务的竞争,使得其市场份额、语音业务收入、利润率和利润均有下降。今年一季度的业绩稍有起色,但现在判断这种好转势头能否延续还为时过早。至少分析师们就持否定态度:他们预计今年中国移动的每股盈利会下降14%。

但国内市场整体仍有增长空间。中国手机普及率仅为90%,与泰国仍有相当大差距。中国市场内部也存在具有增长潜力的领域。去年,来自无线数据业务的收入增加了60%(尽管数据量几乎增加了一倍),而且中国移动在4G服务领域拥有先发优势。

中国移动的境外布局似乎并不顺利。联合沃达丰(Vodafone)进军缅甸的计划最终化为泡影。中国移动还曾经试图收购台湾远传电信(Far EasTone)12%的股权,但长达3年的努力于去年无果而终。

现在这项交易同样不能给中国移动带来多少增长。一项持肯定态度的分析称,入股True Corp可能教给中国移动如何在一个成熟市场运作。在其他地区的小笔投资(比如说,何不试试非洲?)或许会增加临界质量。但这次入股或许更多地体现出True Corp董事长谢国民(Dhanin Chearavanont)在中国的人脉,而非反映移动业务在泰国的增长机会。

译者/邢嵬

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