Hello Interconnected Readers:
Last week, the world was enthralled by the battle between the subreddit, r/WallStreetBets, and Wall Street itself. I really do mean the world. I saw WeChat posts, tweets in different languages, and even bonded with my dad over it, who lives in Canada. (He signed up for a Reddit account because of all this; he is in his early 60s.)
[If you’d like to skip ahead to the six news stories and commentaries – three from English language sources, three from Chinese language sources -- here are this issue’s items:
- “After Huawei, Europe’s telcos want ‘open’ 5G networks” (English Source: Politico EU)
- “China's Huawei in talks to sell premium smartphone brands P and Mate” (English Source: Reuters)
- “China Trucking Startup Eyes $1 Billion U.S. IPO After Profit” (English Source: Bloomberg)
- “Agora acquires Easemob, one step closer to becoming Twilio” (Chinese Source: 36Kr)
- “Why does the capital market trust in Jia Yueting again?” (Chinese Source: China Venture)
- “ASML delivered 258 lithography machines last year, none of them went to SMIC, so difficult!” (Chinese Source: AI Frontier)]
There have been a lot of commentaries and opinions shared about what this all means by people who know the stock market better than I do. There’s also a lot of noise around who is “right” and who is “wrong”, who should be protected and who should be punished. For anyone who is still catching up on this story, I’d recommend two things to read and listen:
- WSJ’s exclusive profile of the redditor who began buying GameStop in June 2019 and became the de-facto leader of the WSB movement
- The first half of the All-In podcast’s new episode, where Chamath Palihapitiya provided a good rundown of the origin of r/WallStreetBets
At the time of this writing, r/WallStreetBets has 7 million “degenerates.” I have no doubt that number will reach 10 million by the end of next week. Personally, I’m sympathetic to the cause that WSB embodies. I graduated from college in 2008, just a few months before Lehman Brothers collapsed. That timing colored my first career choice -- joining Obama’s first campaign and jumping into government service to try to fix things -- and my attitude towards money and investing -- money was bad and investing was scary.
I have changed quite a lot since then with regard to my own relationship with politics, money, investing, and many other things -- much of that is reflected in this newsletter. Unfortunately, the rigged rules of the game haven’t.
We little guys and gals don’t need “protection.” We just need a fair shot with fair rules to play this game called “life.”
Before you read on, please check out last week's deep dive post: "What Does Agora ($API) Do?"
“After Huawei, Europe’s telcos want ‘open’ 5G networks” (English Source: Politico)
My Thoughts: this official support coming from the four largest European telcos (Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, Vodafone and Orange) for OpenRAN, an open source 5G network project, is significant. (See my previous post where I discussed OpenRAN here.) The 5G landscape has an antitrust problem. Even though Huawei has been pushed out of many European countries due to geopolitical and security concerns, having a Ericsson-plus-Nokia duopoly isn’t healthy either. Ericsson doesn't appear too happy with this endorsement of OpenRAN; Nokia appears more amenable as the smaller player. With something as fundamental and infrastructural as 5G network, open source is the right development model, not end-to-end control by corporations.
“China's Huawei in talks to sell premium smartphone brands P and Mate” (English Source: Reuters)
My Thoughts: this rumored sale of Huawei’s higher end smartphones was vigorously denied by Huawei itself. The likelihood of this sale happening could be high, because the earlier sale of Huawei’s low end smartphone brand, Honor, seems to have accomplished its goal of bypassing US sanctions to stay alive. Honor, under new ownership, now has partnerships with Qualcomm and Intel, with plans to launch a new phone.
“China Trucking Startup Eyes $1 Billion U.S. IPO After Profit” (English Source: Bloomberg)
My Thoughts: also a rumor but published on Bloomberg nonetheless, China’s “Uber for trucks”, Manbang, may be filing for a US IPO. Interestingly, Manbang is the result of a merger between two rival companies, Huochebang and Yunmanman, which you see a lot of in China’s hyper-competitive marketplace tech landscape with no antitrust guardrails. The other high profile example is the merger of Meituan and Dianping. If this IPO does occur, it will be yet another example of Wall Street bankers wanting to do business with Chinese companies and these companies willing to take the “delisting” risks -- a topic I did a deep dive on a few months ago in “Wall Street Blunts the ‘Delisting’ Hype.”
“Agora acquires Easemob, one step closer to becoming Twilio” (Chinese Source: 36Kr)
My thoughts: last week, I wrote an in-depth analysis on the company, Agora, but missed the announcement of its acquisition of Easemob (sorry about that). Easemob is a Chinese company that provides an API platform for text messaging, which seems to compliment Agora’s audio and video offering well. Easemob was also founded around the same time as Agora, but has not grown as much, partly due to the messaging space being more competitive with a lower technology moat. This 36Kr provides some good analysis on why Agora acquired Easemob as it tries to compete with Twilio. One macro observation worth highlighting is that China’s own enterprise technology and SaaS sector is close to 10 years old, thus this acquisition could be a case of a larger wave of consolidation that will happen in the next few years.
“Why does the capital market trust in Jia Yueting again?” (Chinese Source: China Venture)
My thoughts: Jia Yueting, one of the most notorious figures in China’s tech scene, may be getting a second life. After going bankrupt and defrauding his creditors with an overpromised, grossly under delivered Le.com, his electric vehicle idea, Faraday, may be going public via a SPAC. With the EV market getting hotter everyday, Faraday seems to have attracted an unsophisticated source of cheap capital. How unsophisticated? The sponsors of Faraday’s SPAC partner, Property Solutions Acquisition Corp, are New York real estate developers, with no discernible expertise in electric vehicles, car manufacturing, battery technology or really any technology.
“ASML delivered 258 lithography machines last year, none of them went to SMIC, so difficult!” (Chinese Source: AI Frontier)
My thoughts: ASML, the world’s leading lithography equipment maker, released its earnings for Q4 2020 and the entire last year. While business was booming, it looks like China’s “national champion” semiconductor foundry, SMIC, was not able to acquire any of ASML’s products. Lithography is a critical piece of the puzzle in advanced semiconductor production. The political pressure that the Trump administration has put on ASML via the Dutch government looks to be effective in preventing China from accessing that technology. I don’t see this changing under the Biden administration.
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上周，全世界都被 r/WallStreetBets 和华尔街之间的决斗吸引了。真的是全世界。朋友圈里在议论，Twitter上各种语言的推文，就连我住在加拿大的老爸也和我“热论”这门话题。他因此自己还注册了个Reddit账号，他已经60多岁了。
- “挤掉华为后，欧盟电信公司希望有个‘开放的’5G网络”（英文来源: Politico EU）
- “华为正在谈判卖掉高端手机品牌P和Mate”（英文来源: 路透社）
- “中国卡车创业公司盈利后准备募10亿美元赴美上市”（英文来源: 彭博社)
- “声网收购环信，距离copy Twilio的梦想又近了一步” (中文来源: 36Kr）
- “资本为什么再次相信贾跃亭？” (中文来源: 投中网）
- “ASML年交付258台光刻机，没有一台属于中芯国际，太难了！” (中文来源: AI前线）】
对于这一切都意味着什么，比我更了解股市的人已经分享了很多评论和意见。围绕着谁 "对" 谁 "错"，谁该被保护，谁该被惩罚，这些问题也有很多声音。对还在“补习”整个事情的来龙去脉的读者，我推荐两条媒体可以读读，听听：
- All-In播客新一期节目的前半部分，Chamath Palihapitiya对r/WallStreetBets的起源有一段很好的介绍
在写这篇文章的时候，r/WallStreetBets有700万成员（他们自讽叫 "堕落者"）。我毫不怀疑这个数字在下周末前会达到1000万。就我个人而言，很同情WSB所代表的运动。我是在2008年大学毕业，就在Lehman Brothers倒闭前几个月。那个背景影响了我的第一个职业选择 -- 参加奥巴马的第一次总统竞选团队，之后继续在政府服务部门工作试图解决这些大问题 -- 以及我对金钱和投资的态度 -- 钱是个坏东西，投资是件可怕的事情。
从那以后，我对自己与政治、金钱、投资以及许多其他事物的关系都有了相当大的改变 -- 其中的很多层面都反映在《互联》的文章中。可惜的是，游戏规则并没有任何改变。
“挤掉华为后，欧盟电信公司希望有个‘开放的’5G网络”（英文来源: Politico EU）
我的想法: 欧洲四大电信公司（德国电信、西班牙电信、沃达丰和Orange）对开源5G网络项目OpenRAN的官方支持意义重大。(我之前的文章里讨论也到了OpenRAN。) 5G格局其实存在一个反垄断问题。尽管由于地缘政治和安全问题，华为已经被挤出许多欧洲国家，但只剩爱立信加诺基亚这种双垄断对市场也不健康。爱立信似乎对OpenRAN有些敌意；诺基亚作为个稍小点的玩家态度似乎更温和些。对于5G网络这种基础性设施，开源才是正确的开发模式，而不是由某些企业端到端完全控制。
我的想法：这条新闻也是传言，但还是在彭博社上发表了。货车帮可能正在申请去美国上市。有意思的是，货车帮是两家竞争对手的合并而成。在中国竞争激烈的marketplace行业中，会经常看到这种整合，尤其在还没有反垄断护栏的情况下。另一个众所周知例子就是美团和点评的合并。如果这次IPO真的发生，那将是华尔街银行家想与中国公司做生意，而这些公司也愿意承担 "退市 "风险的又一个例子。几个月前，我在《华尔街钝化 "退市 "》中深入探讨了这个话题。
“声网收购环信，距离copy Twilio的梦想又近了一步” (中文来源: 36Kr）
“资本为什么再次相信贾跃亭？” (中文来源: 投中网）
我的想法: 臭名远扬的贾跃亭很可能将获得第二次生命。在因为乐视的骗局而破产并欺骗债权人之后，他的电动车点子，法拉第，看似即将要通过SPAC在美国上市。在电动车市场日渐火爆的情况下，法拉第吸引到了完全不懂行的廉价资本来源。到底有多不懂行？法拉第的SPAC合作伙伴，Property Solutions Acquisition Corp，的发起人是纽约的房地产开发商，在电动汽车、汽车制造、电池技术，甚至任何科技领域都没有什么专业知识。
“ASML年交付258台光刻机，没有一台属于中芯国际，太难了！” (中文来源: AI前线）