第4課: 市場, 競爭及市場結構


創業家需要理解商品或服務的市場去賺取利潤。他要明白影響供求的因素。需求因素包括收入、品味、人口數量、取向、替代品或互補產品價格和未來預期。供應方面, 企業家要了解左右生產意向和能力的情況。這些情況包括自身的價格、生產成本、技術、未來憧憬、供應商數量、政府政策及規管, 以及聯合産品的價錢。此外, 經營者需了解不同價位的供求數目, 好決定生產數量。

In order to make a profit, an entrepreneur has to understand the market served by one’s product or service, which means one has to understand the factors that affect demand and supply. The factors of demand include incomes, tastes, demographic size, preferences, prices of substitute or complementary products, and expectations for the future. On the supply side, an entrepreneur has to know the conditions that pertain to production, which will affect one’s intention and capacity to produce. These include own price, production costs, technology, future expectation, number of suppliers, government policies and regulations, and price of joint products. Also, the entrepreneur has to know the quantity of demand and supply at the different price levels to determine how much one should produce at what price.

市場通過競爭和價格來分配稀少的資源。在一個完全競爭市場裡, 賣家及買家都明瞭商品訊息, 可以自由競爭和買賣。當供應和需求一致, 市場就達到平衡的狀態。不過, 現實的市場不是完美的。它可以處於壟斷, 寡頭壟斷或壟斷競爭狀態。這些狀況下, 市場會被一個、數個或多個公司佔據。

Market allocates scarce resources through competition and price. In a perfect market with numerous well informed buyers and sellers who can freely compete and transact, the market is said to be in equilibrium when supply is equal to the demand. However, in the real world, the market is not perfect. It may be in a state of monopoly, oligopoly, or monopolistic competition. In each case, the market is occupied by one, a few, or many firms.

為挑戰行業領導者, 創新的創業家會推出新產品或服務去迎合新的顧客。此舉風險甚高: 商品可以完全失敗或一舉成名。這視乎企業能否捕獲少數的早期接受者, 而接受者的需要並未在現有市場得到解決。挑戰現存企業是非常困難的, 因為它們會利用已有優勢去設置入市門檻, 阻止新企業奪走市場份額。如果早期採用者的影響能成功擴散, 那大眾也會大舉接納新産品, 市場生態亦會因而改變。例如, 在2008年, 蘋果引入Iphone, 顛覆了手機的市場。Iphone的崛起令諾基亞不再穩坐寶座。在交通方面, 優步在可經營的城市裡則從計程車搶走市場份額。

To challenge the market leaders, innovative entrepreneurs may come up with a new product or service that appeals to a completely new group of customers. This is a risky act that may end up in total failure or sudden glory, depending on whether a few early adopters, whose needs have not been addressed by the current market, can be captured. Usually this is very difficult to achieve because the incumbents may use existing advantages to put up entry barriers against the challengers to stop them from stealing away any converts. If the adoption of the early adopters spreads successfully, subsequent massive adoption by mainstream customers may ultimately shift the market. For instance, Apple’s introduction of IPhone in 2008 totally changed the landscape of the mobile phone market, leading to the dethrone of Nokia from her reign. In transportation, Uber has taken away market share from taxis in those cities that she is allowed to operate.

創業家需要克服這些障礙。譬如,Wintel平台(Microsoft Windows及Intel)曾被視為桌上型電腦平台的壟斷者。任何進入電腦市場的新企業都要用Wintel的軟件和硬件作為組成部件。簡短來說, Microsoft Windows和Intel透過互補的關係為行業定下標準。可喜的是, 時代變更 了。不被任何供應商或平台控制的互聯網成為電腦行業最重要的角色。現在, 我們可通過桌上電腦、平板電腦、智能手機或其他穿戴裝置上網。

These barriers will become obstacles for entrepreneurs to overcome. For example, the Wintel platform (Microsoft Windows and Intel) was once considered a monopoly of the desktop computer interface. Any new player entering the PC market has to use the Wintel’s software and hardware as the building blocks for one’s offering. In short, the two companies set the standard through their relationship as complementary products. Fortunately, time has changed. The desktop computer has surrendered her throne to the internet which is not controlled by any single vendor or platform. Right now, we can connect to the internet using our desktop computer, tablet, smart phone, or other wearable devices.

入行門檻有可能窒礙創新。沒有公平的競爭, 市場會欠缺替代品,公司缺乏動力改進, 商品和服務會隨之惡化。舉例而言, 無線在本地電視市場一台獨大, 很多人相信這就是節目素質下降的原因。

Entry barriers may stifle innovation. Without fair competition, the product and service offerings may deteriorate over time as there is no incentive to improve due to the absence of alternatives. For example, the TVB’s dominance of the local TV market has been said to cause a decline in production quality of her programmes.

扼要
1. 創業家需要理解商品或服務的市場去賺取利潤。他要明白影響供求的因素。
2. 市場通過競爭和價格分配匱乏的資源。在一個完全競爭市場裡, 賣家及買家都明瞭商品資訊, 可以自由競爭和買賣。
3. 現實的市場不是完美的。它可以處於壟斷, 寡頭壟斷或壟斷競爭狀態。這些狀況下, 市場會被一個、數個或多個公司佔據。
4. 創業家推出創新的商品或服務去照顧被忽略的顧客需要, 挑戰了現存公司。
5. 由於現存的行業領導者會設立入行門檻, 故新企業未必能打入市場。

Major points to recap

1. In order to make a profit, an entrepreneur has to understand the market served by one’s product or service, which means one has to understand the factors that affect demand and supply.
2. Market allocates scarce resources through competition and price. In a perfect market, numerous well informed sellers and buyers can freely compete and transact.
3. In the real world, the market is not perfect. It may be in a state of monopoly, oligopoly, or monopolistic competition. In each case, the market is occupied by one, a few, or many firms.
4. Entrepreneurs challenge market incumbents by coming up with innovative products or services that address the needs of a group of neglected customers.
5. The challenge may fail as there are entry barriers erected by the existing market leaders.

問題
1. 你能舉出一款智能手機市場的補充商品嗎?
2. 當某產品缺貨, 它的補充商品會面對什麼的處境?

Questions
1. Can you give an example of complementary products found in the smart phone market?
2. What will happen to one of the complementary products when the supply of the other one is in shortage?