Faced with the falling stock price and the upcoming stock lifting period, Kuaishou founders Su Hua and Cheng Yixiao, who rarely spoke within the company, responded for the first time. They made it clear that they would not sell.
This makes the employees feel the firm determination from the management, but it does not stabilize the mood of the employees.
On August 5, the options held by Kuaishou employees ushered in the lifting of the ban. This is the moment most employees yearn for. They can exchange the options in their hands for “real money” cash.
However, Kuaishou’s share price rushed to the highest point of 417 Hong Kong dollars shortly after listing, and fell to 68 Hong Kong dollars on August 20 for more than half a year, which is equivalent to a 1.6% discount. When the market value of trillions fell like a free fall, the mood of employees also fell to the bottom.
In the past 10 years, a group of young companies caught up with the wave of the times and grew into super unicorns. Since July 2018, almost all Internet companies that can go public have knocked on the door of the capital market.
Behind the wave after wave of listing craze, there are stories of making wealth one after another. When Xiaomi went public, the per capita income of 5,500 employees was nearly 10 million.
However, today, exciting stories of benefit have become extremely rare.
Many employees of Kuaishou Technology, the most popular unicorn in Hong Kong stocks this year, lamented when the stock price fell to 67 yuan that the value of their options was almost zero. And Didi, the most popular unicorn in the US stock market, faces a great risk of uncertainty. The Internet super giants only have ByteDance not listed.
After a few years, we will look back again. 2021 will be a turning point for Internet companies. The regulation will become more stringent, the growth train will suddenly slow down, the myth of wealth creation is about to end, and the Internet is no longer the “promised land of milk and honey” that young people yearn for.
“The riches and nobles on paper without falling into the bag”
Almost a miracle, Kuaishou’s share price soared from the issue price of 115 Hong Kong dollars to 417 Hong Kong dollars in just 11 days. A Kuaishou employee sighed after seeing this situation, but it didn’t seem to be true.
Hong Kong stocks have not encountered such a large number of IPO companies for a long time. Among the 154 companies listed on Hong Kong stocks in 2020, only 8 have raised funds of over tens of billions of Hong Kong dollars. But even JD.com, which has the highest fundraising, can’t match the scale of Kuaishou. The market seemed to suffocate a big breath, and the smart money roared in and flocked to the unicorn.
However, the grand occasion lasted only more than ten days. “You have to know that our opening price was only 115. The 400-plus price must be a little too high. Now there are more than 200. The investment must be more rational.” Around June of this year, in the face of the ever-declining stock price, Kuaishou employee Hu Shuang was very rational. .
The reason why Hu Shuang remains rational is simple: the stock price continues to fall, but she still has gains. The salary of Internet companies is mostly calculated on the basis of the general contract, consisting of cash and options, which are converted into shares according to the company’s valuation at the time. According to different proportions, HR will give two options, one is more cash, the other is more options, at the moment of distribution, the two options have the same general package salary.
This kind of salary structure allows the grassroots employees of many Internet companies to enjoy the dividends of the company’s listing, but this kind of dividends is uncertain, and is usually called “the wealth of money on paper.”
When the stock price fell below the issue price, Hu Shuang was obviously not calm. She looked at the stock trading software almost every day. Without accounting for tax, when Kuaishou’s stock price was below 67 Hong Kong dollars, she was already in a loss. state.
Soon, the stock price drove her crazy. On August 19, Kuaishou’s stock price bottomed again and fell directly below 67 Hong Kong dollars. Hu Shuang lost it. On the same day, an employee in the Kuaishou Colleague Circle on Maimai said: The stock price that comes after 2018 has begun to lose money, right? Now a reply shows: Basically all of the 9.3 dollars have lost money.
Pessimism spread within the company. The option held by a senior executive in Kuaishou was worth 40 million at the peak of the stock price. He originally planned to use the money to buy a 200-square-meter large flat in Beijing, but now the value is only 6.5 million, and the large flat has become Two bedroom.
Based on the principle that “people can only earn money within their own knowledge”, a former Kuaishou employee bought Kuaishou stocks. “Now I feel guilty, even though I bought it at 130.”
In contrast, Hu Shuang was lucky. She told Tech Planet that she chose the option of more cash and less options. A Kuaishou employee who chooses less cash and more options bluntly said that the stock price fell so much that his total contract shrank by 400,000. This is an income that many workers in Beijing cannot earn in a year.
This uncertainty accelerates the flow of people. A headhunter serving Kuaishou told Tech Planet that many people recently left Kuaishou. When they first went public, they had a lot of options, and they wouldn’t leave because of the money. But now that stock prices are falling and falling, options are not worth the money, and many people will look for other errands.
Complaining belongs to complaining. When you ask more Kuaishou employees if they plan to sell stocks, their answers are highly consistent: Don’t sell! too low. Many employees believe that the current market value is by no means the true level of Kuaishou value.
20 Years of “Movement to Make Wealth”
In the past 20 years, the Internet has been a hot spot for making rich people.
In 2005, the day Baidu went public, it created 8 billionaires, 50 multimillionaires and 250 millionaires. Since then, China’s Internet has emerged from the global Internet bubble and has once again become a hot spot for investment.
Nine years later, when Alibaba went public, more than 10,000 multi-millionaires were born. This allows Alibaba’s P9s to queue up to buy a house with the tone of buying cabbage.
These rich people hidden in the Internet giants are extremely low-key. They may not have high ranks, but because they joined the company earlier, they have a lot of wealth. For example, an old Aliman P7 who rides an electric bicycle to work may be worth more than 100 million yuan.
The rapid advancement of the mobile Internet has supported such unicorns as Bytedance, Didi, Meituan, and Kuaishou. Starting in July 2018, Xiaomi, Pinduoduo, Meituan, Kuaishou, and Didi have successively landed in the capital market.
Xiaomi is listed. There are more than 7,000 employees holding stocks or options. According to the market value of 100 billion U.S. dollars, 9 billionaires and 5,500 millionaires will be born out of 7,000 people.
When Meituan went public, a total of 4,614 employees, excluding executives, exercised 86.55 million shares at an exercise price of no more than $3.86. Today, Meituan’s stock price has reached $24.
The other side of the listing tide is that the Internet rushing train started to decelerate sharply in 2019. The arrival of the new crown epidemic has changed this status quo. The “black swan” of the epidemic has trapped people and allowed the Internet to show its final prosperity in 2020. At the end of 2020, 16 of the 20 Internet companies with a market value of more than tens of billions of dollars in China had their stock prices rising. The average increase was as high as 185.9%.
Meituan’s gains were the most eye-catching. In February of this year, its share price reached its highest point in history: 460 Hong Kong dollars, compared with 110 Hong Kong dollars at the beginning of 2020, it can be described as a rocket-like rise.
Meituan’s stock price also bottomed out at HK$40, with a market value of HK$217 billion, which is less than US$30 billion. This is clearly underestimated. However, once optimism appears in the financial market, it is often easy to be overly optimistic, and once pessimistic occurs, it is easy to be overly pessimistic. Even the most steadfast supporters may be shaken.
An employee of a major Internet company told Tech Planet that as far as he knows, his big leaders have millions of stocks in their hands, and they are directly worth more than 100 million yuan. The leverage effect brought about by the company’s listing is shocking, but it is also enough to test human nature.
The employees of the above-mentioned big factory said that a big man who held more than 100,000 shares of the company had all liquidated when the stock price was less than 50 Hong Kong dollars. One after another, the wealth in his hands differed by more than 8 times.
The restless stock market has attracted the attention of young people. Many young people poured into the stock market through funds last year. They expect that they can also get the dividends of the Internet boom, but this hope will be completely shattered in 2021.
After the Internet heat wave, overweight technology
The Internet is no longer sweet and pastry. According to public statistics, as of August 19, Tencent, Alibaba, Meituan, and Kuaishou had lost 8 trillion yuan in market value. In 2020, Beijing’s GDP will be 3610.26 billion yuan, which is equivalent to Beijing’s GDP for more than two years.
A middle-level employee of a major Internet company told Tech Planet that the domestic Internet market value is too moist and the high-tech orientation is not obvious. The moisture inside may need to be squeezed.
The Internet used to be an efficiency machine. When Baidu went public in 2005, 600 people created a market value of 4 billion U.S. dollars, which is equivalent to one person creating a value of 6.67 million U.S. dollars. The most typical one is Pinduoduo. A company with fewer than 7,000 employees had a market value of US$24 billion when it went public. Today, the number of employees has not expanded significantly, but its market value is already four times that of the original.
In the past, the Internet relied on algorithms to create “extreme efficiency”, such as the takeaway brother trapped in the algorithm system and the “information cocoon room” created by the recommendation algorithm.
But now such algorithms are being increasingly regulated, and the Internet is no longer an efficiency machine. It is gradually becoming a labor-intensive industry. JD Group already has 370,000 employees, Alibaba has 250,000 employees, and Bytedance has exceeded 100,000.
In the past, many young people wanted to join Internet companies and accepted work systems such as “small weeks” and 996 in order to share the dividends of listing. Now, the feast is basically over, and the only unlisted super unicorns are Bytedance and Ant Group.
When it becomes more and more difficult for ordinary people to share the dividends of Internet expansion, the attractiveness of the Internet is also weakening. The “Talent Migration and Flow Trend Report 2020” released by Maimai pointed out that in 2019, there has been a visible outflow of talents in the Internet industry.
The signal has become more obvious this year. Investors in the primary market seem to love only two types of projects: new consumption and hard technology. Investors hope to find the next tens of billions of unicorns. Therefore, there has been a spectacle that the average value of each coffee shop in a startup company is over 100 million.
On the morning of August 18, TSMC’s market value exceeded US$538 billion, surpassing Tencent and Alibaba, and became the most valuable company in Asia for the first time. This is considered a historic moment by industry insiders, and the market value of technology companies surpassed Internet companies for the first time.
After the demographic dividend has been exhausted, Internet companies have also increased their efforts in technology. After the failure of the listing, JD Digital was renamed JD Technology, and the cloud computing business became the focus of their publicity this year. Meituan has raised US$10 billion by issuing additional stocks and selling convertible bonds, which will be used for technological investment such as unmanned vehicles and drone delivery.
Technology is always one of the core competitiveness of enterprises, but the road to realization of technology is too long. Baidu has invested in autonomous driving for more than 7 years and has not yet generated considerable revenue for the company.
An unquestionable reality is that it is difficult to have exponentially growing companies in the short term. The story of the Internet needs to be told in a new way.