本文摘要:This week Boris Johnson, mayor of London, has been banging his drum in New York. He is not, however, promoting his ideas about Europe, the Conservative party or Winston Churchill, the subject of his latest book.伦敦市长鲍里斯约翰逊(Boris Johnson)在拜访


This week Boris Johnson, mayor of London, has been banging his drum in New York. He is not, however, promoting his ideas about Europe, the Conservative party or Winston Churchill, the subject of his latest book.伦敦市长鲍里斯约翰逊(Boris Johnson)在拜访纽约的一周里仍然在摇旗火把。但他并非在宣传自己对于欧洲、英国保守党或是他的新书的主题——温斯顿丘吉尔(Winston Churchill)的观点。Instead, Mr Johnson is doing the cyber version of taking coals to Newcastle: telling American tech entrepreneurs that London is a cool place to work and invest. Never mind Silicon Valley or New York’s Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass); US entrepreneurs and investors should head to Shoreditch and Bournemouth. Or so Mr Johnson’s sales pitch goes.忽略,约翰逊做到的是网络版的“将煤炭带回纽卡斯尔”(纽卡斯尔是英国知名的煤炭产地,“将煤炭带回纽卡斯尔”意为多此一举——译者录)。

他告诉他美国高科技创业家:伦敦是一个很适合工作和投资的地方。不要只盯着硅谷(Silicon Valley)或是纽约的小飞象街区(Dumbo);美国创业家和投资者应该逃向肖尔迪奇(Shoreditch)和伯恩茅斯(Bournemouth)。约翰逊是这样促销的。

It is something of a quixotic mission but is nevertheless notable for at least two reasons. First, it offers a useful reminder of how fashions in the political economy can change. A decade or so ago, when British trade missions tried to “sell” London to New York, they talked more about banks than computer bytes. Back then, people such as Ed Balls, when he was a Treasury minister, were keen to extol London’s light touch, “principles-based” regulation as a competitive advantage versus New York.这是一项不切实际的任务,但最少有两个原因使它有一点注目。首先,它不无裨益地警告我们:政治经济的潮流不会再次发生怎样的变化。约10年前,当英国贸易代表团设法在纽约“促销”伦敦时,他们更加多谈论的是银行,而非信息技术。

那时,英国财政部的部长级官员埃德鲍尔斯(Ed Balls)等人热衷将伦敦“点到为止”且“基于原则”的监管提倡为相对于纽约的竞争优势。These days no British politician wants to talk too much about banks, or wave a light touch regulatory regime as a lure. Memories of the 2008 crisis are too painful. Instead, the politically correct message for politicians is to extol the digital start-up scene. These companies are often small and create relatively few jobs — although the bigger tech picture is good, with a report this month suggesting that the tech industry in London employs more than 250,000 people [SOURCE?](against almost 350,000 in financial services in Greater London). This is cheering.如今,英国政界人士谁也不不愿过多谈论银行,或是夸耀点到为止式的监管制度,将其作为引资的诱饵。2008年金融危机留给的记忆过于伤痛了。取而代之的是,如今政客们政治上准确的作法是反对数字初创企业。

这些企业往往规模较小,建构的就业机会也不多。但高科技企业总体局面不俗——本月的一份报告表明,伦敦的高科技产业雇用了多达25万人(相比之下,整个大伦敦区(Greater London)金融服务业招揽近35万人低收入)。这有一点掌声。

The second reason why Mr Johnson’s visit is striking is that it inadvertently shows the distortions that still haunt the financial world. In some ways — as the British trade team point out — London has attractive features for entrepreneurs. [??WHY PLURAL - WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE?]It is, for example, a truly international centre and the government is (belatedly) trying to make the visa regime more liberal. [REALLY - WE HEAR A LOT OF COMPLAINTS FROM FOREIGN BUSINESS ABOUT THE OVERLYU STRICT VISA REGIME]British officials told New Yorkers this week that some visas will be provided for the employees of digital start-ups and they promised to fast track other applications. British labour costs are lower than those in San Francisco, say, [AND COMPARED WITH OTHER EUROPEAN CENTRES? BERLIN?]and there is scientific innovation aplenty spreading out to the regions outside London. Cultural attitudes towards entrepreneurship are becoming more welcoming. Tech clusters are emerging, too.约翰逊的采访引人注目的第二个原因是,它无意中展出了仍在后遗症金融世界的各种变形现象。正如英国贸易代表团所认为的,伦敦对于创业家来说在某些方面具备吸引力。例如,伦敦是一个确实的国际中心,英国政府于是以(姗姗来迟地)企图使护照制度更为权利。就在约翰逊拜访纽约的同一周,英国官员告诉他纽约人,他们将为数字初创企业的部分员工获取护照,并允诺减缓审核其他申请人。


高科技集群正在兴起。But the rub, as so often outside the US, is cash. [IS THIS NOT A BIG ISSUE EVERYWHERE AOUTSIDE THE US - NOT JUST LONDON. ]If you look at the raw data in isolation, the trajectory seems cheering. Last year $1.4bn worth of new funding was invested in digital ventures in London, while $2.1bn was invested across the UK as a whole. That is twice the level of 2013 — and, strikingly, 20 times higher than five years ago.但就像美国以外常常遭遇的情况一样,艰难在于资金。如果只分开看原始数据的话,发展轨迹或许有一点欢庆。

去年,伦敦的数字企业更有了14亿美元的新投资,而整个英国的此类投资为21亿美元。这是2013年水平的两倍——堪称比5年前高达20倍。Half of that money was supplied by US venture firms, such as Accel Partners and Union Square Capital. The Silicon Valley-based Andreessen Horowitz, for example, recently put $58m into a financial technology company called TransferWise. Indeed, foreign direct investment (FDI) into London is now rising faster than in Berlin and New York, according to Gerard Grech, chief executive of Tech City UK.其中一半的投资来自美国的风险投资公司,如阿塞尔伙伴公司(Accel Partners)和合广资本(Union Square Capital)。最近,坐落于硅谷的风投公司Andreessen Horowitz向一家取名为TransferWise的金融技术公司投资了5800万美元。


的确,据英国科技城(Tech City UK)行政总裁杰拉德格雷奇(Gerard Grech)讲解,现在流向伦敦的外国必要投资(FDI)的增长速度多达了柏林和纽约。But the sums remain modest compared with the US. Since 2012, American venture capital companies have invested around $70bn in Silicon Valley and $160bn overall, according to the National Venture Capital Association. Last year, several billion of this went to New York.但与美国比起,这些金额仍相形见绌。美国国家风险投资协会(National Venture Capital Association)数据表明,2012年以来,美国风险资本公司已在硅谷投资了大约700亿美元,在全美为1600亿美元。去年,纽约更有了其中的数十亿美元。

The real issue for London tech companies is not so much finding seed capital but the finance to enable successful businesses to scale up. London-based companies can only dream of having even a fraction of the type of financial power of a company such as Uber.伦敦高科技公司面对的确实问题,与其说是找寻种子资金,不如说是决定融资使顺利的企业需要不断扩大规模。伦敦的企业不能梦想享有哪怕一小部分优步(Uber)之类企业的财力。Of course, if you are an optimist — as the bouncy Mr Johnson undoubtedly is — you can argue that this change will come. The Silicon Valley tech scene is now so crowded and overvalued that there is growing appetite among US investors to look overseas.当然,如果你是一个乐观主义者——充满活力的约翰逊毫无疑问就是这样的——你可以主张这种变化不会来临。

硅谷的高科技企业如今已出现异常挤迫,而且被相当严重低估,因此美国投资者改向海外的性欲日益减少。And European investors are desperate for productive places to put their cash; this is a region, after all, where $2 trillion-worth of bonds [BILLION/ MILLION/ TRILLION]have negative yields. The continent’s banks are also keen to jump on the bandwagon.欧洲投资者也十分渴求投资于能产生高效益的地方;却是,欧洲2万亿美元的债券的收益率还是负值。欧洲大陆的银行也盼望期望分给一杯羹。But the fact that half the start-up money raised in 2014 was from America, not Europe, shows the challenge. London financiers are better at devising complex derivatives trades than organising a sensible way to fund entrepreneurs on the scale that is needed. If Mr Johnson’s mission to New York helps to change this, he will deserve a rousing cheer. But it will be a slog.但是,2014年初创企业所筹资金的一半都来自美国(而非欧洲)的现实突显了挑战。