這裏是個好市場

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1988 / 7月

文‧陳雅玲 圖‧鄭元慶


多少年來,我國儲蓄率一直高居世界第一,但這個寶座似乎即將拱手讓人。因為,來自全球各地的商人,正以各式各樣的進口商品,誘使國人掏出荷包,由銀行走向「洋行」。


過去提起台灣,世人的第一個印象多半是MIT(Made In Taiwan)——尤其在美國、日本人心中,台灣就像是他們海外的「加工廠」一樣。然而自從我國為錢(外匯)太多而煩惱的消息,在國際媒體披露、舉世矚目之後,已有愈來愈多外商開始動這市場的「腦筋」。

由工廠變成市場

日本人是動作最快的一群。過去日人在台灣的投資,多半是製造業,目的在加工之後外銷海外。現在他們的著眼點則在進軍我國市場,行業包括汽車廠、百貨公司、超級市場、量販店(批發商店)、電器連鎖店、速食業、營建業等。

美國人則在貿易方面取得優勢。近年由於美元對新台幣大幅貶值,使得美國貨一下子便宜了四分之一以上。去年五月以來,物美價廉的美國冰箱、電視、洗衣機、汽車等商品,終於改變了國人一向偏好日貨的口味,使美國成為我國最大的進口國,高佔三分之一的進口市場。

韓國、香港這二條小龍在全球市場攻城略地之際,也注意到了台灣。

香港商品今年將在「香港貿易發展局」的大力促銷下,大舉入侵我國。據業者透露,台北已有二家百貨公司向香港採購了上億元商品,將在下半年舉行規模盛大的商展。

自韓國進口的糖果、服裝、化妝品以及家電產品,走的則是中、下階級路線,價格比國產品還便宜。這一年來,來勢洶洶的韓貨已經開創出一片江山。在台北市後車站附近的大、中盤集散地,已有十幾家開始做起韓貨的批發生意;金星家電更在來台銷售的第一年內,創下新台幣六.五億元的營業額。

台灣的市場太小?

外貨蜂擁而至,去年我國進口了三百四十五億美元,成長率為百分之四十三,高居世界第一;今年第一季的成績更「嚇人」——年增率高達百分之六十三,遠遠超過行政院主計處原先預估的二倍。

看到這些數字,不禁疑惑——台灣不是一個小市場嗎?它為什麼能締造出如此「輝煌」的數字?

外貿協會市場開發處處長牟盾表示:我國是以外銷為主的島國經濟,每年的進口中,石油、農工原料就佔了三分之二以上。因此,純就消費品而言,台灣過去的「胃口」的確不大;但是這一、二年來,消費品進口的成長率都在百分之卅以上,顯示台灣市場並非真如一般外商,甚至我國外銷廠商所認定的「不可為」。

事實上,以市場行銷專家的眼光來看,台灣根本不該是一個小市場。

以市場的規模而言,台灣雖然面積不大,但人口約有二千萬,和國人心目中的「大國」加拿大差不多,比瑞典、芬蘭與丹麥三國的總和還要多。

「奢侈」重新定義

光有人口,沒有消費能力還是不夠。以這個指標來看,台灣的條件仍屬優越。

根據主計處統計,去年我國平均每人國民所得為四千五百多美元,居自由世界第卅名;據預估,今年更將超過五千五百美元。況且,我國約有一半家庭是夫妻都有收入的雙薪家庭,過去這些家庭締造了可觀的儲蓄率;換句話說,未來的購買「潛力」也一樣可觀。

「台灣的國民所得剛好達到了一個轉捩點」,牟盾認為,在這一分界點上,過去被認為是奢侈品的東西,現在已成為日常所需。因此,無論是進口或國產的高級商品,需求量都會突然間大幅增加。

他以啤酒的例子來說明:過去工人只有在請客時才喝的啤酒,現在已經是藍領階級日常解渴的飲料。因此,啤酒市場在數年內以幾何倍數擴增。

「現在很多商品在國內都已進入快速成長期」,太平洋崇光百貨公司副總經理王文局指出,汽車、錄放影機、微波爐、男性名牌服飾,即為這類商品的代表。

遠東百貨為了掌握先機,便早已將樓面較小的仁愛分公司,改為男性服飾專賣店,營業對象設定在「雅痞」、中年紳士等年收入在五、六十萬元的消費群。

賣東西好比賣水

台灣是個人口很稠密的地區,對居住在此的人來說,這並非幸事;但對商人來說,卻是「生意人的天堂」。理由之一是——行銷費用便宜。

「只要上一支電視廣告,就可以打遍各地,該看到的人一個都逃不掉」,意識型態廣告公司總經理鄭松茂表示,美國則不同,在美國要想讓二千萬人看到廣告,必須又是全國聯播,又是地方電台地打,費用不知比台灣貴出幾十倍。

他根據從事廣告十幾年的經驗指出,由於台灣的廣告費便宜,對於需要靠大量廣告建立形象的「廣告品」,如化妝品、各種飲料、零食等,生意人只要好好製作幾支廣告片,在電視上大量打,「賣東西就跟賣水一樣」,他作了這個「沒有一個生意人不怦然心動」的結論。

事實上也是如此。像近年崛起的伯朗咖啡、司迪麥口香糖,就是藉著成功的廣告策略,分別攻下台灣易開罐咖啡以及口香糖的山頭。

地小人稠,對於經銷網的建立,貨物的運輸,都比較省時、省力。此外,這樣的市場中消費者常有「人比人」的機會,對商品更有意想不到的促銷作用。

「如果在加拿大,你可能半年才到附近農莊拜訪一次,他買了什麼,不會很快影響到你」,牟盾半開玩笑地說:「但台灣不一樣,隔壁添了一台廿八吋的電視,我馬上就難過了。」

但這對商家也有負面的影響。他指出,如果商品的品質不好,或售後服務不好,商品可能會「死」得很快。

皮爾卡登進入浴室

台灣的地狹人稠和日本類似,所以當所得漸漸提高後,開始出現一個和日本相同的特色——由於屋價高昂,一般人,尤其是都市居民,住處不很寬敞,便轉而從各種新潮的家電產品尋求滿足;買得起大房子的人,則不惜花鉅額裝潢費來佈置。

針對此一趨勢,生產羅馬磁磚、內外銷並重的榮聯陶瓷公司,自今年六月起,成立「室內生活素材專賣店」,引進簽有「皮爾卡登」的名牌磁磚,打入國內建材市場。

乍聽之下,幾乎無人不認為這個構想稍嫌瘋狂:國人就算再愛名牌,也不至於到要在浴室貼「名牌」磁磚的地步啊!但是據該公司行銷經理陳丁榮透露,市場的反應相當好,目前已接到幾個貨櫃的訂單。

「從某一個角度來看,台灣市場的條件可能比日本還要好」,經濟部投資業務處處長黎昌意認為,中國人一向樂於接受新事物,比起日本,外國商品容易打入得多。

富人口袋,窮人心態?

國人對外來事物的高度接受力,尤其表現在名牌服飾、豪華轎車等能象徵身分地位的進口商品上。

據中華賓士汽車公司透露,台灣目前一年大約進口二千部Benz轎車。換句話說,我國每進口廿一部汽車,就有一部是身價百萬的Benz;以人口計算,國人擁有Benz轎車的比率,高居世界第一位。

「台灣消費者的口袋富有得太快,但心態還沒有轉變過來,所以一有錢就拚命追逐過去所豔羨的『富人生活』」,一位留學生暑假回國時,看到國人驚人的購買力,不禁瞠目結舌。

「從好的一面來看,這是一個還未充分開發的市場,商人有機可乘」,經常協助外商分析我國市場的理律法律事務所律師蔣德郎認為:「反面說來,我國消費者對價值的判斷力還沒有成熟,購買習慣不易捉摸,也可能會讓外國商人『陰溝娷蔡謘z。」

速食市場在我國短短四年內「由絢爛歸於平淡」,使當時一味擴大投資的業者應變不及,就是一個很好的例子。不過其他行業似乎並沒有被速食業的情形「嚇到」,例如外商來台投資百貨公司,先有香港的先施,繼而是日本的Sogo,馬上又有日本的八百伴,而且一家開得比一家大。

「只要國民所得超過三千美元,就可以開設大型的現代化百貨公司」,由Sogo與我國太平洋建設聯合投資的太平洋崇光百貨公司日籍總經理古市敏郎指出,根據他們事先做的市場研究發現,台灣十六家百貨公司一年的業績,還不及日本一家中型百貨公司,可見「這個市場的潛力還沒有充分發揮」,他肯定地說。

無論賣什麼,台灣都有市場

因此,繼曼谷、香港、新加坡之後,Sogo也在台北成立了海外據點。

「台灣市場『要人有人,要錢有錢』,所以二年前百貨業一開放外人投資,我們馬上就來進行籌備工作了」,古市敏郎說。

政府政策引起的大環境改變,確是「造就」台灣成為好市場的催化劑。

去年八月由美國商務部出版的AmericanBusiness月刊,刊登了一篇「與中華民國做生意,此其時也」的文章,就指出:中華民國大幅降低進口關稅、促使新台幣升值、降低商港建設費、開放外匯管制、制訂智慧財產權保護法令……等等措施,已使台灣成為一個特別有吸引力的市場。

「那兒充滿了機會,美國貨的價格變得更具競爭力,無論你賣的是消費品、工業機具、還是服務,台灣都會有你的市場。」

事實證明,國內大環境的改變不僅僅對美國商人有利,對其他地區的商品也同樣提供了大好市場。

例如這二年汽車關稅連番下降,義大利進口的飛雅特轎車,便趁機把售價調整到與國產車「有拚」的價位。結果業績由八五年的一千六百輛,突然增加到前年的三千八百輛,去年更暴增到六千五百輛。

皮爾卡登磁磚之所以「敢」進入我國市場,也是因為磁磚類的關稅已由百分之五十降到十七.五,因此售價可以壓到國產高級品的二倍。陳丁榮表示,平常一間浴室大約需要花一萬五千元的磁磚費,若改用名牌磁磚,不過是三萬元。「我相信大家付得起」,他很有信心地表示。

採購團轉移陣地

由於進口貨全面性降低價格,昔日國人出國採購的「盛況」,隱隱然在國內重現,於是各種「有趣」的現象產生了——

美國進口的冰箱、洗衣機成為國內家電市場炙手可熱的明星商品,儘管幾家主要代理商今年的進口數量比去年成長了七成,這些家電仍然大量缺貨,令進口商對於有錢賺卻賺不到懊惱不已;我國航空貨運站進口倉儲容量不夠,許多貨物只好堆到走廊、停機坪等地;去年七月,國內六家貿易商向農委會申請進口象牙八萬公斤,由於數量太大,令該會在「國際形象」與「國內需求」之間左右為難……。

進口大增,也使風水跟著輪流轉。過去我國致力出口時,時遭進口國控告傾銷;現在經濟部工業局卻發現,已有不少外國產品在台灣傾銷,對我國形成不公平貿易。

國人也分一杯羹

此外,我國過去一向致力出口的貿易商、製造商,已經紛紛「見風轉舵」,開始代理外國商品,把目標對準國內市場。

例如大貿易商高林公司,一改十八年來純外銷的經營型態,積極籌備連鎖店,打算直接販售進口商品;金鐘領帶公司也已爭取到Play Boy等名牌領帶的代理權,開始成立男飾用品專賣店;國內家電大廠更紛紛引進國外名牌家電。例如中興電工總經銷美國楷模家電,聲寶公司代理惠格家電,三洋、歌林也介入美製家電的進口。

雖然這多少也造成了些「自家人打自家人」的困擾,但是當初盡全力說服老闆代理「皮爾卡登」的陳丁榮認為,「這是一條必走的路,因為生意你不做,別人就搶走了;沒有及時轉向的人,恐怕最後會成為輸家。」

看來,台灣是個好市場,但國人也沒讓肥水全落入外人田呢!

〔圖片說明〕

P.16

相不相信?國人擁有Benz轎車的比例,高居世界第一。

P.18

隨著國民所得提高,外商已將腦筋動到國內娛樂服務方面的市場了。

P.18

在中華民國做生意行銷費用便宜,許多外國商品很快就利用廣告建立起知名度。

P.20

太平洋崇光百貨開幕時,在門口大排長龍的消費者顯現出台灣市場驚人的潛力。

P.21

關稅降低、美元貶值後,美國雪佛蘭仗著強勁的價格優勢,進入我國市場。

P.22

不讓漢堡專美於前,披薩也來我國速食市場分一杯羹。

P.23

啤酒已成為我國藍領階級日常解渴的飲料。在台灣,真是什麼牌子都看得到。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Bought in Taiwan

Elaine Chen /photos courtesy of Arthur Cheng /tr. by Phil Newell


In the past, when people thought of Taiwan, it was as part of "Made in Taiwan." Indeed for Americans and Japanese in particular, Taiwan has been like an overseas processing plant. However, after news of Taiwan's excess of foreign reserves created a stir in the international media, more and more foreign businessmen have set their sights on the Taiwan market.

The Japanese have been among the fastest to move. Previously, Japanese investment in Taiwan was concentrated in manufacturing, with the aim of reexporting processed goods. But now the focus is to break into the market, with businesses like department stores, supermarkets, fast food, wholesale stores, and construction.

Americans have gained the upper hand in trade, thanks to the recent fall of the dollar, which caused American products to drop one-fourth in price. Since May of last year, well-made and inexpensive American refrigerators, TV's, washing machines, and other products have changed the previous preference of Japanese products, and have made the U.S. into the leading importer to Taiwan, with one-third of the import market.

Hong Kong and Korea are also turning to the Taiwan market. Already two Taipei department stores have purchased over NT$100 million of HK products, and will hold large--scale displays in the latter half of the year. And now Taipei has tens of stores specializing in wholesaling Korean products. Golden Star Electronics has done over NT$650 million in business within its first year in Taiwan.

Last year Taiwan imports totaled US$ 34 billion, an increase of 43 percent over the previous year (the highest rate in the world). The annualized increase for the first quarter of this year is 63 percent, more than double the initial estimates by the Executive Yuan.

How did Taiwan's market reach this level? The head of the Market Development Department of China External Trade Development Council, Dick Mou, has noted that as an exporting island economy, Taiwan's imports in the past consisted primarily of oil and raw materials (two-thirds), but growth figures for the past two years show that Taiwan is a much bigger market than commonly thought. In fact, with a population of twenty million (about that of Canada), a per capita income of US$4,500 (which is expected to pass US$5,000 this year) and many households having two incomes, the purchasing power potential of Taiwan is evident.

"Taiwan's per capita income is just now reaching a turning point," argues Dick Mou. Products that were formerly considered luxuries are now ordinary consumer goods. "Now a lot of products have already entered a high growth period in Taiwan," says Roy Wang, Vice General Manager of Pacific Sogo Department Stores, citing cars, video recorders, and brand-name fashions.

One reason for rapid sales is low overhead. Sam Cheng, General Manager of the Jeng's Agent Ltd., points out, that "You only have to put on one TV ad, and you can reach everywhere, and there is no way for those who should see it to avoid it." Because advertising costs are so low, products like soft drinks or cosmetics, which need intensive advertising to develop their image, can be easily marketed. Recently Mr. Brown Coffee and Stimorol gum have both used this strategy successfully.

Because Taiwan is especially small but densely populated, it is faster and easier to build sales networks or to transport goods. Besides that, there is also incentive for people to "keep up with the Joneses," giving sales an unexpected boost. This has a negative side for business as well--if quality or service is poor, word will get around fast.

Crowded like Japan, Taiwan has also begun to manifest similar phenomena. For example, since housing is expensive, people who invest a lot of money in new homes go all out to decorate them. But "from another point of view the conditions of the Taiwan market are even better than Japan," says Li Chang-yi, Director of the Office of Investment Affairs in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, since Chinese are more receptive to outside things.

Taiwan consumers show their buying power especially in the area of "status symbols." For example, Taiwan has the highest ratio of Mercedes Benz to population in the world. One overseas student commented that Taiwan consumers got rich "too fast" but that their attitudes have not changed, so that they seek to match the once-envied lifestyle of the rich.

"On the good side, this is not yet a fully developed market, so there are opportunities for businessmen," says Dean T. Chiang, a lawyer who frequently assists foreign businessmen in understanding the local market, "but on the other side, the value judgment of consumers in our country is not yet mature, and their buying habits not easy to fathom," leading to problems for foreign businesses.

Nevertheless, sectors such as department stores, do not seem scared off. First came Hong Kong's Sincere, then Sogo from Japan, soon to be joined by Yaohan (also from Japan), with each bigger than the last. It was only restrictions on entry into the Taiwan market that blocked Sogo from coming even sooner.

Indeed, the government policy of opening the market has been crucial. Last year's August issue of American Business, published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, ran an article titled "There Has Never Been a Better Time for U.S. Companies to Sell to Taiwan." The article cited lowered tariffs, the appreciation of the NT dollar, a lower harbor tax, the relaxation of controls on foreign exchange, steps to protect intellectual property, and other factors as making Taiwan an attractive market. And not only for American businesses: sales jumped dramatically for Italy's Fiat automobiles when reduced tariffs on automobiles made Fiats price competitive with domestically produced cars.

The rapid increase in imports has created some interesting new phenomena. In the past, when Taiwan was pushing exports, other countries raised accusations of dumping. Now, says the Ministry of Economic Affairs, there are already quite a few foreign products being "dumped" into Taiwan.

Another phenomenon is that a lot of Taiwan's export and manufacturing companies are now turning to imports. For example, the major trading company Kaolin, after eighteen years of exporting only, has decided to go into direct domestic sales of imported products. Although this is in a sense competing against oneself, businessman Chen Din-Rong argues, in effect, that if the opportunity is passed up, then some competitor will do it.

It's clear: Taiwan is a good market, but Taiwan's businessmen aren't going to let foreign businessmen get all the gravy!

[Picture Caption]

Can you believe it? Taiwan has the highest per capita ownership of Mercedes Benz in the world!

Following the rise in personal incomes, foreign investors have already begun to enter the entertainment market.

The costs of doing business in the R.O.C. are low; a lot of foreign products have used advertising to quickly establish name recognition.

The long line in front of the new Sogo Department Store testifies to the buying potential of consumers on Taiwan.

With the lowering of tariffs and the fall of the US dollar against the NT dollar, U.S. products have poured into the market at competitive prices.

Pizza chains have come to get a piece of the fast food action.

Beer has become a blue-collar staple beverage; many brands are now available on Taiwan.

 

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