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[原创]小黄车的英国之旅:从ofo到。f。 | 双语阅读

FT每日英语  · 公众号  · 2018-12-01 17:30
 

Ofo从英国大部分地区撤出,解雇了大部分员工,并基本上放弃了让英国城市更健康、更清洁、更少拥堵的目标。


Screenshot: FTChinese


1

扩张过快导致亏损和裁员

When dockless bike-sharing service Ofo first appeared in London last year, many people were bemused and irritated by its bright yellow bicycles parked or piled up outside tube stations and on street corners.

当无桩共享单车服务提供商Ofo去年首次出现在伦敦的时候,许多人对其停放或堆放在地铁站外和街头拐角处的明黄色自行车感到困惑和恼怒。


The number of Ofo bicycles in the capital quickly rose to almost 3,000 and spread to several cities around the UK. But just as quickly, the bicycles began to disappear after the company cut back its operations in the face of mounting losses.

Ofo单车投放在伦敦的数量迅速增加到近3000辆,并扩散到英国各地的几个城市。但同样迅速的是,自从Ofo在亏损不断增加的情况下收缩运营后,其单车开始从街头消失。


① bemused [bɪ'mjuːzd] adj. 困惑的;发呆的

例句:He was rather bemused by children. 他被孩子们弄糊涂了。


As the craze for vehicle-hiring in the world’s biggest cities grows, the Chinese start-up highlights the risk of expanding too rapidly, particularly for companies such as electric scooter group Bird, which this month launched a trial in London.

随着交通工具租赁业务在全球各大城市变得红火,这家中国初创企业突显了扩张过快的风险,特别是对于本月在伦敦试运营的电动滑板车集团Bird之类的公司而言。


Ofo is now trying to address its problems with a new strategy.

Ofo现在正试图通过一项新战略解决问题。


② start-up [stɑrtʌp] n. 启动;初创企业

例句:There's a lot of up-and-coming tech companies and start-ups. 这里有很多很有前途的科技公司和创业公司。


Photo credit: Getty Images


This summer the group, which had raised $2.2bn from companies including tech giant Alibaba since it was founded in 2014, withdrew from most locations in the UK, including Sheffield and Norwich, sacked most of its staff and largely abandoned its aim of making British cities healthier, cleaner and less congested.

今年夏天,Ofo从包括谢菲尔德和诺维奇在内的英国大部分地区撤出,解雇了大部分员工,并基本上放弃了让英国城市更健康、更清洁、更少拥堵的目标。该集团自2014年成立以来已经从包括科技巨头阿里巴巴(Alibaba)在内的公司筹集了22亿美元。


Matt Thomas-Keeping, UK head of operations at Ofo, says the redundancies were part of a “global strategy . . . to focus only on the most mature cities, meaning London, Oxford and Cambridge in the UK”.

Ofo英国运营主管马特•托马斯-基平(Matt Thomas-Keeping)表示,裁员是“只专注于最成熟城市的全球战略”的一部分,这意味着在英国只专注于伦敦、牛津和剑桥这3个城市。


③ redundancy [rɪ'dʌnd(ə)nsɪ] n. 冗余(等于redundance);裁员;人浮于事

例句:Thousands of bank employees are facing redundancy as their employers cut costs.

数千名银行职员面临裁员,因为他们的雇主要削减成本。


2

中国的成功难以复制

Fellow Chinese start-up and rival Mobike has suffered a similar experience in Britain, retreating from Manchester — 10 per cent of its orange bikes there had been damaged or stolen in July alone — and scaling back in London.

中国初创企业、Ofo竞争对手摩拜单车(Mobike)在英国有类似的经历,退出了曼彻斯特——仅7月份其橙色单车就有10%损坏或被盗——并缩减了伦敦的投放规模


London, in particular, has presented problems for Ofo, making it hard to repeat the success the company enjoyed in China, where it had 10m bikes on the streets last year.

伦敦尤其给Ofo带来了问题,使其很难复制在中国的成功,去年Ofo在中国街头的单车数量达到1000万辆。


④ retreat [rɪ'triːt] n. 撤退;休息寓所;撤退  v. 撤退;退避;向后倾

例句:"I've already got a job," I said quickly, and retreated from the room.

“我已经有了工作,”我迅速说道,然后就从房间里退了出来。


Photo credit: Getty Images


Bike-sharing services cannot obtain a licence to operate across the whole of London. Instead, they need to sign contracts with each of the 32 boroughs, which can be expensive and time-consuming, and led Ofo to a patchwork of coverage.

共享单车公司无法获得在整个伦敦运营共享单车服务的许可牌照。相反,它们需要与32个行政区中的每个行政区签订合同,这可能既昂贵又耗时,并且导致Ofo在各区的投放情况参差不齐


This made the service “less attractive”, says Nicole Badstuber, a doctoral researcher in urban transport policy at University College London.

伦敦大学学院(University College London)城市交通政策博士研究员妮科尔•巴德施图贝尔(Nicole Badstuber)说,这使得Ofo的“吸引力下降”。


⑤ patchwork ['pætʃwɜːk] n. 拼缝物,拼缀物;混杂物

例句:For centuries, quilting and patchwork have been popular needlecrafts. 几个世纪以来,被褥绗缝和拼缝一直是流行的针线活。


One former Ofo worker, who like other ex-employees was only prepared to speak on the condition of anonymity, says: “We had bikes turning up . . . as far as Reading [40 miles from central London] which people had taken on the train. Our operations team used to have to spend hours at a time going to find single bikes that had been taken away.”

一位像其他前雇员一样只愿在匿名情况下说话的前Ofo员工表示:“我们的单车曾出现在……距伦敦市中心有40英里远的雷丁(Reading)镇,有人坐火车时带过去的。那时我们的运营团队常常花费数小时去寻找被带走的单车。”


⑥ anonymity [ænə'nɪmɪtɪ] n. 匿名;匿名者;无名之辈

例句:And yet another way of diminishing responsibility is anonymity. 再有一种减少责任的办法就是匿名。


Photo credit: Getty Images


The company has tried various measures to address this problem, including saying this month that it would fine users £15 if they parked their bikes outside permitted areas.

Ofo尝试了各种措施来解决这个问题,包括在本月宣布,如果用户将单车停放在允许区域之外,就会被罚款15英镑。


3

英国本土化势在必行

The lack of trackers on Ofo bikes, which meant the company could not find and collect them when they were left outside a permitted borough, created big problems in the early days, says another Ofo worker.

另一位Ofo工作人员表示,Ofo单车没有跟踪器,这意味着公司在单车离开允许停放的行政区时无法找到并收回它们,这在早期产生了很大的问题。


“You put them on a street and they essentially disappeared and there was no way for us to find where those bikes had gone. At the beginning . . . we were paying people to literally walk around the city looking for bikes,” the worker says.

这名员工表示:“你把它们放在街上,它们基本上就等于消失了,我们无法找到那些单车去了哪里。一开始……我们花钱请人满大街寻找单车。”


⑦ literally ['lɪt(ə)rəlɪ] adv. 照字面地;逐字地;不夸张地;正确地;简直

例句:We've got to get the economy under control or it will literally eat us up. 我们必须控制住经济,否则它真的就会把我们困住。


A further issue was the size of the vehicles. “The first version of bikes that came into London were . . . absolutely tiny,” says a former employee. “Very quickly we realised we needed new bikes . . . They’re the things that start causing trouble.”

另一个问题是单车的尺寸。一位前雇员表示:“进入伦敦的第一批单车……非常小。很快我们意识到我们需要新的单车……它们是造成麻烦的开端。”


Photo credit: Getty Images


Beijing would also not let its UK arm sign long-term leases on warehouse space, says the former employee, “until we saw how the business developed”, which meant short-term fixes had to be found to store the vehicles.

这名前雇员表示,总部也不会让英国分公司签署租赁仓库的长期租约,“直到我们看清了业务拓展情况”,这意味着必须找到存放车辆的短期方案。


Ofo shipped bikes to London as fast as it could, but it was not fast enough. The former employee adds that the breakage rate on bikes was “incredibly high”: 3,000 bikes would turn into 1,000 within six months because of wear and tear and vandalism.

Ofo尽可能快地将单车运往伦敦,但速度不够快。这名前雇员补充说,单车的毁损率“非常高”:由于损耗和故意破坏,3000辆单车在6个月内就能变为1000辆。


⑧ vandalism ['vænd(ə)lɪz(ə)m] n. 故意毁坏文物的行为;破坏他人财产的行为

例句:It was boarded up in 1984 after years of urban decay and vandalism. 多年的城市衰落和损坏之后,它在1984年被关闭了。


Technological development was done in China, say other former workers, which showed a “lack of willingness to involve anyone outside of Beijing in the development process”.

其他前雇员表示,技术开发是在中国完成的,这表明“在开发过程中不愿意让北京以外的任何人参与进来”。


Photo credit: Getty Images


4

前员工仍对Ofo抱有希望

Eventually Ofo’s rapid global expansion piled up unsustainable losses and led the company, according to one industry figure, to spend as much as $25m a month.

据一位业内人士称,最终Ofo快速的全球扩张产生了不可持续的亏损,并导致该公司每月花费高达2500万美元。


As one of the former Ofo workers put it: “Everyone thought Ofo had all the money — you see them winning $1bn in funding, and you think, money isn’t an issue. But that much money when you expand into several countries in a year doesn’t go far. I think by the time the financial brakes were slammed on by China it was too late.”

正如一位前Ofo员工所说的那样:“每个人都认为Ofo拥有足够资金——你看到他们获得了10亿美元的融资,你认为,钱不是问题。但是,当你在一年内扩展到几个国家时,那些钱支撑不了多久。我认为在中国猛踩金融刹车的时候,就为时已晚了。”


⑨ slam [slæm] v. 砰地关上;猛力抨击 n. 猛击;砰然声

例句:She slammed the door and locked it behind her. 她砰地关上门,身后的门锁上了。


Yet despite this, some former workers remain hopeful for the company: “We wanted people to be able to have cheap, easy, friendly transport. Five years down the line, hopefully it’s sustainable.”

尽管如此,一些前员工仍然对该公司抱有希望:“我们希望人们能够拥有廉价、便捷、友好的交通工具。5年,希望它还在。”



词组拓展


scale back

相应缩减;按比例缩减


例句:Despite current price advantage, UK manufacturers are still having to scale back production. 尽管目前在价格上占据优势,英国生产商还是不得不减少产量。


pile up

积累,堆放起来


例句:Problems were piling up at work. 工作中的问题越积越多。


down the line

完全地;沿着街道;...后


例句:Television was a good place to learn a lot of skills that helped me do other things on down the line. 我在电视上学到很多技能,这些技能对后来我所做的其他事情很有帮助。




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