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一、经济学人杂志双语文章摘要

由马明哲创办的平安起初是深圳一家国有企业下属的一个小部门,向企业老板销售劳工保险。它最终于1988年脱离出来,成为一家独立公司。到2005年前后,它已成为中国最大的人寿和财产保险公司之一,并吸引了汇丰银行的投资。如今,它的市值为1.5万亿元(见图表1),并已把自己重新定义为一家围绕保险业务而建的科技企业集团。它现在成了汇丰的第一大股东。

二、经济学人杂志双语文章中英对照翻译

Metamorphosis 变形记

2020.12


The world’s most valuable insurer has transformed itself into a fintech super-app. Could others follow its lead?
全球市值最高的保险公司已经转型为金融科技超级应用。其他公司可能效仿它吗?

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A JOB INTERVIEW at Ping An is a strange experience. To become an agent at the insurance group, the world’s largest by market capitalisation, candidates must take questions from an intelligent machine. As they respond, their voice, choice of words and gestures are scrutinised for the qualities of the most productive salespeople. After accruing data from millions of such interviews, the firm believes its artificial-intelligence (AI) system can quickly pluck talent and weed out the duds. Judged by the company’s agent-productivity scores, it is working.
平安的求职面试不同寻常。要想成为这家全球市值最高的保险集团的代理人,应聘者必须回答智能机器的提问。他们作答时的声音、措辞和身体语言都会被仔细研判,以确定他们是否具备最高产销售人员的品质。在积累了几百万份这样的面试数据后,平安相信自己的人工智能(AI)系统可以快速择优汰劣。从平安代理人的产能评分来看,这个系统行之有效。
Just as the recruitment tool offers a glimpse into the future of hiring, Ping An itself may offer a window on to the future of finance. The tool is just one of thousands of applications built by the group’s army of engineers. They support a sprawling array of services, from insurance and banking to health care and education, which this year alone have been used by close to 600m people. No other traditional financial-services group in the world comes close to rivalling Ping An’s ability to develop technologies and deploy them at such a scale.
正如这个招聘工具让人一窥未来的招聘模式那样,平安本身可能也提供了一个眺望金融业未来的窗口。这个工具只是平安集团的工程师大军开发的数千个应用中的一个。这些应用支撑起平安多元扩张的服务,从保险、银行,到医疗和教育等,仅今年一年就有近六亿人使用这些服务。在如此大规模开发和部署技术的能力上,世界上找不出哪家传统的金融服务集团可与平安勉强一比。
The firm, set up by Peter Ma, began life as a small unit at a state-owned enterprise in Shenzhen, selling bosses insurance against worker-compensation claims. It was eventually spun out in 1988. By the mid-2000s it had become one of China’s largest life and property insurers, and attracted investment from HSBC, a bank. Today it is worth 1.5trn yuan ($236bn; see chart 1), and has redefined itself as a technology conglomerate built around an insurance business. It is now the largest investor in HSBC.
由马明哲创办的平安起初是深圳一家国有企业下属的一个小部门,向企业老板销售劳工保险。它最终于1988年脱离出来,成为一家独立公司。到2005年前后,它已成为中国最大的人寿和财产保险公司之一,并吸引了汇丰银行的投资。如今,它的市值为1.5万亿元(见图表1),并已把自己重新定义为一家围绕保险业务而建的科技企业集团。它现在成了汇丰的第一大股东。
Three things distinguish Ping An’s operating model from that of a standard insurer: its vast platform of services; its approach towards its hundreds of millions of users and customers; and, underpinning it all, its technological prowess. Take its array of subsidiaries first. The firm sells life and health insurance, which in the first three quarters of the year accounted for 67% of net profit. It provides health care through Good Doctor, its digital-medicine group. Customers can park their cash with Ping An’s bank or invest it through Lufax, its wealth-advisory arm (which listed in New York on October 30th). They can buy a car or sign up for education services, and then finance the payments through Ping An’s consumer-credit unit.
相比一般的保险公司,平安的运营模式有三大不同:庞大的服务平台、它对待数亿用户和客户的方式,以及支撑这一切的技术实力。先来看看它的子公司阵列。平安的人寿和健康保险业务贡献了公司今年前三季度净利润的67%。它通过旗下的数字医疗集团平安好医生提供医疗保健服务。客户可以把现金存入平安银行,也可以通过它的理财咨询机构陆金所(10月30日在纽约上市)进行投资。他们可以买车或报名参加教育服务,通过平安的消费信贷部门为这些开销付费。
The sheer breadth of services on offer allows Ping An to treat customers more as a social-media firm would, rather than an insurer—the second distinctive feature of its business model. Unusually for a financial institution, Ping An considers the majority of people buying its products to be users instead of customers. They may buy a health service from Good Doctor or a car from Autohome, its car-purchasing app, contributing to the company’s data pool, yet remaining outside its core customer base. “You don’t have to jump through hoops. All you need to do is download our app,” says Jessica Tan, one of the group’s three co-chief executives. Only when they hold a financial product at one of the core units of the company, such as an insurance policy, do users become customers.
如此广泛的服务范围让平安能够更多地以一家社交媒体公司而非保险商的身份对待客户——这是它商业模式的第二个独特之处。平安把购买它产品的大多数人视为用户,而不是客户,这在金融机构中比较罕见。他们可能会从平安好医生购买医疗服务,或者通过它的购车应用汽车之家买车,为平安的数据池添砖加瓦,却仍处于它的核心客户群之外。“你不用大费周章。只需要下载我们的应用就好。”集团三位联席CEO之一的陈心颖表示。只有当他们在平安的一项核心业务上拥有金融产品时,比如持有保单,用户才会成为客户。
By allowing hundreds of millions of people to dip their toes in its product offering, Ping An has created a pool of users that can be targeted for sales of more sophisticated products. More than 578m people used its platform in the first nine months of the year (see chart 2). Some 214m were customers who had contractual agreements with the company. The rest were considered users. In the first half of the year, about 35% of its 18m new customers were sourced from its users. As the company has won over more users, that percentage has risen steadily in recent years.
通过让数亿人先尝试自己的某个产品,平安已经创建了一个可定向销售更复杂产品的用户池。今年前九个月,超过5.78亿人使用了它的平台(见图表2)。其中约2.14亿人与平安签约,成为它的客户。其余的人被视为用户。今年上半年,平安的1800万新客户中有约35%来自用户。随着平安不断吸引到更多用户,这一比例近年稳步攀升。 
Ping An is also becoming better at the lucrative business of “cross-selling”, or selling customers more products from other parts of the group, which increases income without incurring the cost of acquiring new clients. The share of retail customers that have contracts with more than one subsidiary rose from around 19% in 2015 to about 37% in June. That puts Ping An about 20 percentage points above the average cross-selling rate for insurers in Asia, according to Bain, a consulting firm.
平安也越来越擅长利润丰厚的“交叉销售”,也就是向客户销售更多本集团其他部门的产品,这增加了收入,还省去了招揽新客户的成本。与超过一家子公司签约的零售客户占比从2015年的约19%上升到今年6月的约37%。咨询公司贝恩称,这让平安的交叉销售率比亚洲所有保险商的平均值高出约20个百分点。
None of this would be possible without Ping An’s technological prowess—the third and by far most important ingredient of its success. AI allows cross-selling pitches to customers to be made when they are most useful, for instance. “The final sale is done by an agent but the system develops the recommendation,” says Henrik Naujoks of Bain. “And it’s done at the right time.”
如果没有平安的科技实力,这一切都不可能实现——这是它成功的第三个也是绝对最重要的因素。例如,AI能确定向客户做交叉推销的最佳时机。“虽然销售最终由代理人完成,但推荐是AI系统做出的,”贝恩的亨利克·瑙约克斯(Henrik Naujoks)表示,“而且时机把握得很准。”
Large banks and insurers often sponsor “fintech incubators” that develop new technologies, or buy in applications that can be patched on to their core operations. HSBC, for instance, hired Identitii, an Australian fintech, this year to build a digital-payments tool. But for regulatory reasons such experiments tend to bering-fenced from the financial institution.
大银行和保险公司经常资助“金融科技孵化器”开发新技术,或者购买可以连接到自己核心业务上的应用。比如,汇丰银行今年请来澳大利亚金融科技公司Identitii为自己开发数字支付工具。但由于监管方面的原因,这类尝试往往都与这家银行的既有业务分隔开来以隔离风险。
Ping An, by contrast, has fully internalised these operations, apparently unafraid of regulatory blowback. The group has a 110,000-strong technology development team—larger than the commercial-banking divisions of all but the biggest banks—including 3,000 scientists. It submitted 4,625 technology patents in the first half of the year alone. The tools developed within the group’s technology unit are often used across the company. These include credit-risk models that use vast stores of data to make quick lending decisions at Ping An’s consumer-finance division, Puhui. Similar data crunching can track a customer’s driving habits through movements detected on a mobile-phone sensor and price car insurance accordingly. More accurate pricing on both fronts saves the company money.
而平安已经完全将这些操作内部化,看起来似乎不担心会触发监管干预。该集团拥有包括3000名科学家在内的多达11万人的技术开发团队,超过了除最大的几家以外一般银行的商业银行部门的规模。仅在今年上半年平安就提交了4625项技术专利。集团技术部门内部开发的工具经常在整个公司使用。其中就包括消费金融部门平安普惠使用的信贷风险模型,它利用海量数据快速做出贷款决策。类似的数据处理工具可以通过手机传感器监测到的活动来追踪客户的驾驶习惯,据此给车险定价。这两方面更精准的定价为公司节省了资金。
When large financial firms do develop systems in-house, they jealously guard them from competitors. Mr Ma has turned that notion on its head by transforming Ping An’s technology division into a sales unit and profit centre. When the company developed its own cloud-computing tech for hosting its banking and insurance systems, it eventually turned the technology into products that now serve 630 banks and 100 insurers across China—a “software-as-a-service” model for banking that is often compared to what Amazon Web Services has done for website hosting.
当大型金融公司真的用内部人员自行开发系统时,它们会对竞争对手严加防范。而马明哲颠覆了这一理念,他把平安的技术部门变成了销售部门和利润中心。平安开发出了自己的云计算技术来托管其银行业务和保险系统,最终把这项技术转变成产品,目前为全中国630家银行和100家保险公司提供服务——这种银行业务的“软件即服务”模式常和亚马逊网络服务(AWS)的网站托管相提并论。
Ping An’s lending algorithms facilitated 47.4bn yuan in loans at rival banks in the first half of the year. That unit, renamed OneConnect, went public last year. Another, called Smart City, builds and operates internal systems for hospitals. Local governments in 118 cities buy Ping An’s administrative technology.
平安的借贷算法在今年上半年帮助自己的竞争对手银行总共发放了474亿元贷款。开发算法的部门金融壹账通已于去年上市。另一个叫作智慧城市的部门为医院构建和运营内部系统。118个城市的地方政府购买了平安的管理技术。
Its technology business, which includes the sale of cloud-computing services, generated just 4.5% of group net profits in the first nine months of 2020. But making the transition from financial institution to fintech means turning tech into a profit centre, says Leonard Li at Oliver Wyman, a consultancy. That tech turns a profit at all, rather than adding to its cost base, makes Ping An unusual.
包括云计算服务在内,平安的科技业务在今年前九个月只为集团创造了4.5%的净利润。但是,从金融机构转向金融科技公司意味着把技术变成利润中心,奥纬咨询(Oliver Wyman)的李懋华表示。让平安与众不同的是,它确实用科技盈利了,而不是增加自己的成本基数。
Could elements of the model be adopted elsewhere? Many of the individual technologies developed by Ping An will soon be applied by western insurers; some are already talking about how to become “the Ping An of Europe”. But wholesale fintech adoption will be harder in countries with stricter regulation on big data (and will probably become more difficult in China, too). Customers in America and Europe may also be more reluctant than those in China to buy insurance, health-care and wealth-management from one company.
这种模式的要素能否在其他地方采用?平安开发的许多单项技术很快会被西方保险公司采用,它们中的一些已经在谈论如何成为“欧洲的平安”。但大规模采用金融科技在更严格监管大数据的国家会更难(在中国也可能变得更难)。相比中国的客户,欧美客户也可能更不愿意从同一家公司购买保险、医疗和理财等多种服务。
Meanwhile, Ping An’s approach is being put to the test. When covid-19 first struck in January the company was a year into restructuring its life-insurance business. That involves improving its force of over 1m agents, who are still the main channel for insurance sales in China. The country’s insurers are not only battling among themselves for talent, they are also fighting off new entrants. “We are competing with the tech companies too,” says Jason Yao, another co-CEO. Companies with their own financial technologies, such as Ant Group, have launched rival insurance offerings.
与此同时,平安的模式正在经受考验。今年1月新冠疫情爆发时,平安着手重组人寿保险业务已有一年。此次重组要提升它逾100万名代理人的队伍,因为代理人仍是中国保险销售的主要渠道。中国的保险公司不仅相互争夺人才,也在与新进者较量。“我们也在和科技公司竞争。”平安另一位联席CEO姚波表示。蚂蚁集团等拥有自己的金融技术的公司已经推出了竞争性的保险产品。
The AI-powered recruitment and training tool has been one of Ping An’s top solutions. It appeared to be working in 2019, when the value of new business per agent in the company’s life-insurance division rose by a healthy 16.4% compared with the previous year. The gauge fell by almost as much in the first half of 2020. Analysts say that rivals in China have fared even worse. But the risk, says one consultant, is that the effectiveness of some of Ping An’s tech solutions may have been overestimated because of rapid growth in the insurance industry in China at the time. A prolonged downturn could show that some of its tech is less effective than first thought.
AI驱动的招聘和培训工具一直是平安最重要的解决方案之一。它在2019年似乎卓有成效,当时平安寿险部门每个代理人的新业务价值增长良好,较前一年提高了16.4%。但在2020年上半年,这一指标出现了几乎同等幅度的下滑。分析人士表示,它的中国竞争对手的情况还要更糟。但一名顾问表示,风险在于平安的一些技术解决方案的有效性可能在中国的保险业快速发展之时被高估。一个长期衰退期可能会显示它的一些技术不如当初以为的那么有效。
Another threat comes from leadership changes. In part, these reflect Ping An’s position on the tech frontier, which has led rivals to sniff around its executives. Ericson Chan, chief executive of Ping An Technology, was poached in September by Zurich, another insurer. Lee Yuan Siong, Ping An Insurance’s chief executive, took over as the boss of AIA, a Hong Kong-based insurer, this year. The loss of the pair has been a blow to the group. More could follow.
另一个威胁来自领导层变动。这在一定程度上是平安技术前沿地位的反映——这种成就让竞争对手觊觎它的高管人员。9月,平安科技的CEO陈立明被另一家保险公司苏黎世(Zurich)挖走。平安保险的CEO李源祥今年接任总部位于香港的友邦保险(AIA)的掌舵人。失去这两员大将对平安是个打击。未来可能还会有更多人离开。
Questions also hang around the future of Mr Ma, who is 65 this year. He stepped down as group chief executive in July, prompting industry watchers to expect him to retire soon. But he continues to call the shots as chairman, and there is no talk of succession planning yet. Were Mr Ma to depart, some worry that Ping An’s rapid rise would come to a swift end. “There’s only one person driving innovation,” says a consultant. For all its use of machines, Ping An is still subject to key-man risk.
马明哲今年65岁,他的动向也悬而未决。他在7月辞去了集团CEO一职,业内观察人士因此预计他很快会退休。但目前他继续以董事长的身份发号施令,也还没有听闻有什么接班人计划在议。一些人担心,如果马明哲真的离开,平安的快速崛起会戛然而止。“只有一个人在推动创新。”一名顾问说。尽管如此大规模部署机器,平安仍受制于“关键人物风险”。

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三、翻译园地-always, all ways区别

(1) always通常不用在句首,往往和动词放在一起(与其他频度副词所处位置相同)。句中只有一个动词时,always放在动词前(另见“ever, always, once”条)。
I always ask myself what I'm doing here. But I never find the answer.
我总是问自己我在这儿干什么,但我从未找到答案。
(2) 句中有be或助动词时,always放其后。
He was always loyal to the people in all his life. 他一生始终忠于人民。
I will always keep this in mind. 我将永远把这铭记在心。
(3) always可以放在祈使句之首。
Always put on your safety belt when you drive.
开车时,永远要系上安全带。
(4) 有时为了强调,always也可放在句首或整个谓语动词前。
You always were kind and generous. 你总是又善良又慷慨。Always he was the loyal, dependable friend of mine.
他一向是我忠实可靠的朋友。
(5) always间或放在句末。
She gets her own way always. 她总是自行其是。
(6) 当always意为“从过去直到现在”时,通常用现在完成时态。

I've always believed he was innocent. 我一向相信,他是无辜的。
You've always been my closest friend. 你一向是我最亲密的朋友。
(7) 口语中always修饰动词进行式时,往往表示厌烦或不满。
He is always finding fault with his workmates. 他总是挑他同事的刺。
The boy is always asking whys. 这男孩老是问这问那。
(8) for always意为“永远地”,与for ever相同。
He has given me the book for always/for ever. 他把这本书给了我,永远地。
(9) as always意为“如一向那样;一如往常”。

When I last saw him he looked well and vigorous as always.
我上次见到他时,他看上去一如往常——身体很好,精力充沛。
(10) all ways意为“千方百计,想尽一切办法”。
All ways have been tried to make the experiment a success.
为了试验成功,一切办法都试过了。

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