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This study covers the outlook products in Taiwan. For the year reported, estimates are given for the latent demand, or potential industry earnings (P.I.E.), for the Taiwan (in millions of U.S. dollars). Comparative benchmarks allow the reader to quickly gauge Taiwan vis-a-vis regional and global totals. Using econometric models which project fundamental economic dynamics within each country and across countries, latent demand estimates are created. This report does not discuss the specific players in the market serving the latent demand, nor specific details at the product level. The study also does not consider short-term cyclicalities that might affect realized sales. The study, therefore, is strategic in nature, taking an aggregate and long-run view, irrespective of the players or products involved.
This study does not report actual sales data, but gives, however, my estimates for the latent demand for products and services in Taiwan. For each category, I also show my estimates of how the P.I.E. grows over time (positive or negative growth). In order to make these estimates, a multi-stage methodology was employed that is often taught in courses on international strategic planning at graduate schools of business. The data presented are the result of various spatial econometric and time-series forecasting models which, for each category presented, are applied to forecast and allocate latent demand across all countries of the world and major distribution centers or centers of dominant influence within each country. This is accomplished knowing that economic fundamentals (e.g. income) generally vary from one country to another within a given country over time. In this report, I report the allocation for each category for Taiwan as an area of dominant influence in Asia and, potentially, the world.
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What is Latent Demand and the P.I.E.?
The concept of latent demand is rather subtle. The term latent typically refers to something that is dormant, not observable, or not yet realized. Demand is the notion of an economic quantity that a target population or market requires under different assumptions of price, quality, and distribution, among other factors. Latent demand, therefore, is commonly defined by economists as the industry earnings of a market when that market becomes accessible and attractive to serve by competing firms. It is a measure, therefore, of potential industry earnings (P.I.E.) or total revenues (not profit) if a market is served in an efficient manner. It is typically expressed as the total revenues potentially extracted by firms. The "market" is defined at a given level in the value chain. There can be latent demand at the retail level, at the wholesale level, the manufacturing level, and the raw materials level (the P.I.E. of higher levels of the value chain being always smaller than the P.I.E. of levels at lower levels of the same value chain, assuming all levels maintain minimum profitability).
The latent demand is not actual or historic sales. Nor is latent demand future sales. In fact, latent demand can be lower either lower or higher than actual sales if a market is inefficient (i.e., not representative of relatively competitive levels). Inefficiencies arise from a number of factors, including the lack of international openness, cultural barriers to consumption, regulations, and cartel-like behavior on the part of firms. In general, however, latent demand is typically larger than actual sales in a country market. It should be noted that the estimates are "culture blind" and "climate blind", meaning that sales may in fact be lower than the latent demand due to cultural or exogenous factors, such as religion or climate (e.g. the presence of certain religions can effect the actual sales of certain food and beverage products, in the same way that climatic conditions can affect the actual sales of clothing and/or heating products). The estimates of latent demand do not explicitly control for either these long-run exogenous factors or shot-run exogenous factors that may be present from year to year (e.g. the effects of war, SARS, terrorist activities, civil wars, natural disasters, elections, or similar events).
Another reason why sales do not equate to latent demand is exchange rates. In this report, all figures assume the long-run efficiency of currency markets. Figures, therefore, equate values based on purchasing power parities across countries. Short-run distortions in the value of the dollar, therefore, do not figure into the estimates. Purchasing power parity estimates of country income were collected from official sources, and extrapolated using standard econometric models. The report uses the dollar as the currency of comparison, but not as a measure of transaction volume. The units used in this report are: uuuu.
For reasons discussed later, this report does not consider the notion of "unit quantities", only total latent revenues (i.e., a calculation of price times quantity is never made, though one is implied). The units used in this report are U.S. dollars not adjusted for inflation (i.e., the figures incorporate inflationary trends) and not adjusted for future dynamics in exchange rates (i.e., the figures reflect average exchange rates over recent history). If inflation rates or exchange rates vary in a substantial way compared to recent experience, actually sales can also exceed latent demand (when expressed in U.S. dollars, not adjusted for inflation). On the other hand, latent demand can be typically higher than actual sales as there are often distribution inefficiencies that reduce actual sales below the level of latent demand.
As mentioned earlier, this study is strategic in nature, taking an aggregate and long-run view, irrespective of the players or products involved. If fact, all the current products or services on the market can cease to exist in their present form (i.e., at a brand-, R&D specification, or corporate-image level) and all the players can be replaced by other firms (i.e., via exits, entries, mergers, bankruptcies, etc.), and there will still be an international latent demand at the aggregate level. Product and service offering details, and the actual identity of the players involved, while important for certain issues, are relatively unimportant for estimates of latent demand.
In order to estimate the latent demand for Taiwan, I used a multi-stage approach. Before applying the approach, one needs a basic theory from which such estimates are created. In this case, I heavily rely on the use of certain basic economic assumptions. In particular, there is an assumption governing the shape and type of aggregate latent demand functions. Latent demand functions relate the income of a country, city, state, household, or individual to realized consumption. Latent demand (often realized as consumption when an industry is efficient), at any level of the value chain, takes place if an equilibrium in realized. For firms to serve a market, they must perceive a latent demand and be able to serve that demand at a minimal return. The single most important variable determining consumption, assuming latent demand exists, is income (or other financial resources at higher levels of the value chain). Other factors that can pivot or shape demand curves include external or exogenous shocks (i.e., business cycles), and or changes in utility for the product in question.
Ignoring, for the moment, exogenous shocks and variations in utility across countries, the aggregate relation between income and consumption has been a central theme in economics. The figure below concisely summarizes one aspect of problem. In the 1930s, John Meynard Keynes conjectured that as incomes rise, the average propensity to consume would fall. The average propensity to consume is the level of consumption divided by the level of income, or the slope of the line from the origin to the consumption function. He estimated this relationship empirically and found it to be true in the short-run (mostly based on cross-sectional data). The higher the income, the lower the average propensity to consume. This type of consumption function is labeled "A" in the figure below (note the rather flat slope of the curve). In the 1940s, another macroeconomist, Simon Kuznets, estimated long-run consumption functions which indicated that the marginal propensity to consume was rather constant (using time series data across countries). This type of consumption function is show as "B" in the figure below (note the higher slope and zero-zero intercept). The average propensity to consume is constant.
Is it declining or is it constant? A number of other economists, notably Franco Modigliani and Milton Friedman, in the 1950s (and Irving Fisher earlier), explained why the two functions were different using various assumptions on intertemporal budget constraints, savings, and wealth. The shorter the time horizon, the more consumption can depend on wealth (earned in previous years) and business cycles. In the long-run, however, the propensity to consume is more constant. Similarly, in the long run, households, industries or countries with no income eventually have no consumption (wealth is depleted). While the debate surrounding beliefs about how income and consumption are related and interesting, in this study a very particular school of thought is adopted. In particular, we are considering the latent demand across some 230 countries. The smallest have fewer than 10,000 inhabitants. I assume that all of these counties fall along a "long-run" aggregate consumption function. This long-run function applies despite some of these countries having wealth, current income dominates the latent demand. So, latent demand in the long-run has a zero intercept. However, I allow firms to have different propensities to consume (including being on consumption functions with differing slopes, which can account for differences in industrial organization, and end-user preferences).
Given this overriding philosophy, I will now describe the methodology used to create the latent demand estimates for Taiwan. Since ICON Group has asked me to apply this methodology to a large number of categories and countries, the rather academic discussion below is general and can be applied to a wide variety of categories and countries, not just Taiwan.
Step 1. Product Definition and Data Collection
Any study of latent demand across countries and within Taiwan...
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