當創業家開發一個市場時, 他必須決定什麼樣的企業類型最有利。公司一共有三種:獨資經營、合夥公司、股份公司。一所股份公司是擁有有限責任的法人。在香港, 股份公司有兩種:
As the entrepreneur embarks on a journey to start a venture to exploit a market opportunity, one must decide what form of organization will be most advantageous. There are three type of organization structure that one can pursue: sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. A corporation is a legal entity with limited liability. In Hong Kong, there are two types of corporation: private limited company and public limited company.
在獨資經營的企業裡, 公司是被一個經營者管理的, 而這個人跟所有風險和利潤都有關。成為獨資經營者的好處包括容易創業, 處事簡單,靈活,自治和高度的隱私。缺點包括無限的責任, 籌措資金的困難, 以及負責人出意外或生病時造成的嚴重業務影響。
Each of the aforementioned organization type has its advantages and disadvantages. An entrepreneur may choose different type as the business expands or contracts over time. All business organizations operating in Hong Kong SAR has to comply with the rules enforced by Company Law and Partnership Law.
In sole proprietorship, the company is managed by a single person who assumes all risks and profits associated with the business. The advantages of operating as a sole proprietor include easy to get started, simplicity, agility, autonomy, and high level of privacy. The disadvantages include unlimited liabilities, difficulty in financing, and severe business interruption when the owner gets into an accident or becomes sick.
合夥公司是由兩個或以上的人組成的。這種公司的好處包括數方共同承擔風險與責任、合夥人 能結合資源(才能和資金)、高度的隱私、組織架構與股份公司相比起來較簡單。壞處包括合夥人對彼此都有責任, 意即如果有人想要轉移公司份額, 必須得到其他搭檔的同意。合夥公司跟獨資經營很像:當公司資產不能抵債,每個合夥人都要為公司承擔責任。有限公司是以獨立法人的方式存在的。它可以被兩個或以上的個人持股者所擁有。在香港, 我們有私人有限公司和公眾有限公司(又稱股份有限公司)。私人有限公司的持股人可以有一個到五十個。單獨經營者可以同時是公司的總監跟秘書。
這種彈性讓有限公司的形式變得非常吸引。因為, 作為一名法人, 它能為私人物業提供保障, 把責任局限在公司本身。可是, 有限公司和合夥經營一樣, 能夠把風險分散到眾多持股人身上, 並把資源結合來繼續發展公司。儘管保障公眾持股人的監管費用較高, 但公眾有限公司卻享有從大眾集資的額外好處。公眾有限公司的結構更加複雜和需要更多錢去營運, 因為它需要記錄詳盡的資料去達到監管當局的要求。
Partnership may be formed by two or more people. The advantages of partnership include the sharing of risks and liabilities by multiple parties, pulling together the resources (talents and capital) of all the partners to develop the business, high level of privacy, and simpler organization structure when compared with a corporation. The disadvantages include accountability toward the other partners, which means when one wants to transfer one’s share, agreement from the other partners has to be received. Similar to sole proprietorship, each partner is also personally held responsible for one’s share of the company’s liabilities when the company’s assets cannot settle outstanding debts.
Limited company is a form of business organization that exists as a separate legal entity. It can be owned by two or more individual shareholders. In Hong Kong, there are private limited company and public limited company. Private limited company ranges from one to fifty shareholders. The single owner can be the company director as well as the secretary at the same time. Such flexibility makes this type of organization form very attractive to entrepreneurs in Hong Kong. Because as a legal entity it can provide protection to private properties, limiting the company’s liabilities to the company itself. But like partnership, limited company with multiple shareholders enable the company to diversify her risks among the shareholders and pull together their combined resources for further business development. Public limited company enjoys the added benefits of raising fund from the public, although the regulatory costs are much higher as required by law to protect the interests of the public that owns the company’s shares. The organization structure is more complex and costly to organize with extensive record keeping as required by regulatory authority.
當公司成長時, 創業家可以從數個途徑增加資源分配的效率。首先, 企業的擴張會帶來規模經濟。規模經濟能讓企業在購買大批的材料、部件和服務時得到優惠。生產成本將得以降低, 公司也會較其他競爭者擁有比較優勢。在國際貿易裡, 比較優勢解釋了為什麼國家之間存在分工。每個國家能專注於自身比較有優勢的行業裡, 然後依賴貿易得到其他國家的貨品和服務。同樣的, 分工也存在於公司層面。
As the company grows, there are multiple paths that the entrepreneur owner can pursue to increase the efficiency in resources allocation. First of all, the growth will lead to economy of scale. Economy of scale will result in volume discounts on the purchase of materials, parts, and services in bulk. This will lower the cost of production and create a comparative advantage over other competitors. In international trade, comparative advantage explains why there is a division of labor between nations as each nation can concentrate her production in industries in which she has comparative advantage and rely on trade to obtain goods and services one needs from others who have comparative advantage in producing them. Similarly, the same division of labor can occur at the firm level.
為進一步提升生產效率, 企業可以把效率較低的步驟外判予承包商, 因為承包商比企業有比較優勢。根據交易成本理論, 企業的形成可以減少交易費用, 如搜尋、談判、合作、管理及組織內部的監管費用。當中的基本原理是: 如果市場能把同樣的事情做得更有效率, 那我們為什麼要在公司裡做呢? 所以, 這也解釋了為什麼企業有時候不進行外判, 反而直接收購和合併別的公司以改善生產力。垂直整合和橫向整合是改組公司的兩種形式, 用作企業增長、尋求協同效應或移除競爭威脅。
To further increase efficiency in production, the firm can outsource less efficient production procedures to external parties who have comparative advantages in relation to oneself. According to the transaction cost theory, the formation of an organization is to lower the transaction costs such as search, negotiation, co-ordination, supervision, and monitoring costs within one’s organization’s boundary. The rationale is: if the market can perform the same task more efficiently, why does it have to be done in-house? This also explains why sometimes instead of outsourcing to external parties, a company may decide to acquire or merge with another company for improved productivity that may not arise otherwise. Vertical and horizontal integrations are two forms of reorganizing a firm to achieve growth, seek synergy or remove competitive threats.
整合是以合併或收購進行的。被收購的公司將停止存在。它會完全同化於購買它的企業。而在合併的情況之下, 兩所公司會組成一個新的企業, 並同化到新企業裡面。垂直整合是指處於供應鏈不同階段的兩家或以上的公司整合到一起。向前整合意指與銷售對象公司的整合, 而向後整合則容許企業與其供應商結合。例如, 當出版公司收購了印刷企業, 這就是向後整合。如果出版公司跟連鎖書店合併, 那它們進行的就是向前整合。與垂直整合不同, 橫向整合是指合併或收購相同生產階段的企業。譬如, Facebook收購Instagram就是橫向整合, 因為兩者都是相互競爭的社交平台。
The integration can be either a merger or acquisition. When an acquisition takes place, the company being acquired will cease to exist. It will be totally assimilated into the acquiring company. In a merger, the two companies may join force to form a new company where both companies will be assimilated into it. Vertical integration allows the integration of two or more companies along the different phases of a supply chain. Forward integration allows integration with one’s customer while backend integration allows integration with one’s supplier. For example, when a publication company acquires a printer, it is backward integration. When it mergers with a bookstore chain to create a new entity, a forward integration is in place. Horizontal integration occurs when the merger of acquisition is taking place in the same industry along the supply chain. For example, when Facebook acquires Instagram, it is considered as horizontal integration as both companies were social networks competing in the same space.
2. 成長的企業會達到規模經濟, 收穫生產優勢。公司可以通過數個途徑成長。交易成本理論認為擴張的企業會有界限的變化: 什么生產步驟應該內部完成? 什麼應該外判出去? 這個購買或製造的決定會把公司跟市場作比較, 考慮誰能把交易成本降低。
3. 當企業增長時, 他們可能會面對收購和合併, 以達到擴張、協同效應或消除競爭威脅。企業可以在不同的生產行業裡進行垂直整合, 也可以在相同行業裡進行橫向整合。
Major points to recap
1. Out of sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation, an entrepreneur must decide which form of organization will be most advantageous to run one’s business.
2. A firm will grow to achieve economy of scale to reap production benefits. There can be multiple paths for growth. Transaction cost theory describes the changing boundary of the firm as it expands in size to grow: what should be done in-house and what should be outsourced? This make vs buy decision will separate the firm from the market to see who can do a better job in reducing transaction costs.
3. Merger and acquisition can happen to two or more firms when achieving growth, seeking synergy or removing competitive threats. They can take the form of vertical integration across different industries along the supply chain or horizontal integration within the same industry.
1. 隨著數碼網絡的激增, 很多白領和諮詢工作都被外判到其他區域, 而不少新企業也利用外國人才降低生產成本。你能運用經濟學用語去解釋當中的現象嗎?
1. With the proliferation of digital networks, many white-collar and information works have been outsourced to other regions, many startups have leveraged oversea talents to lower their production cost. Can you explain the phenomenon in economic terms?