數位經貿的壟斷化

數位經貿的壟斷化

“assorted shipping containers in dock” by chuttersnap on Unsplash

本份來自 UNCTAD 的報告剛出爐。各項論點並不一定能獲得廣泛的共識,爭議當然所在多有,但報告來得正是時候。在經貿世界比較少談到數位化平台的寡頭現象,本份百來頁的報告多有著墨。這些現象對台灣而言並不陌生,生活上也有體驗的機會,但完整的報告幾乎不存在。以致於政策利益相關者常常在狀況未明的情況下就東抄西抄做出決定,而這些決定又和現行的經貿政策沒有足夠掛連,更多狀況是互相矛盾,浪費政策資源。

資料來源:

摘要:

The widening gaps across firms have been particularly marked in the digital world. Of the top 25 big tech firms (in terms of market capitalization) 14 are based in the United States, 3 in the European Union, 3 in China, 4 in other Asian countries and 1 in Africa. The top three big tech firms in the United States have an average market capitalization of more than $400 billion, compared with an average of $200 billion in the top big tech firms in China, $123 billion in Asia, $69 billion in Europe and $66 billion in Africa. What has been significant is the pace at which the benefits of market dominance have accrued in this sector: Amazon’s profits-to-sales ratio increased from 10 per cent in 2005 to 23 per cent in 2015, while that for Alibaba increased from 10 per cent in 2011 to 32 per cent in 2015.

在數位化領域,各公司之間的差距越來越大。前25大市值的科技公司中,有14個總部設在美國,3個在歐盟,3個在中國,4個在其他亞洲國家和1個在非洲。美國公司的平均市值超過4000億美元,中國平均為2000億美元,亞洲其他頂級大科技公司為1230億美元,歐洲690億美元,非洲則是660億美元。最重要的擁有市場主導地位在這一領域的獲利成長:亞馬遜的利潤與銷售額比率從2005年的10%增加到2015年的23%,阿里巴巴從2011年的10%增加到2015年的32%。

The size of these gaps and the speed with which they have opened up are, in large part, due to the extraction, processing and sale of data. Data, like ideas and knowledge more generally, and unlike most physical goods and services, if easily available, can be used simultaneously by multiple users. The challenge for business is twofold: to convert a seemingly abundant resource into a scarce asset and to realize the scale economies associated with network effects; if firms can achieve both, the returns appear to be limitless.

這些差距的大小和它們開放的速度,有很大的一部分取決於數據的挖掘、處理和銷售。如同更普遍的想法和知識,數據本身與大多數實物和商品服務相當不同,因為數據可以更容易獲得且同時可以為多用戶所使用。這現象對業務的挑戰是雙重的:轉換看似豐富的資源成為稀缺資產,實現規模經濟與相關網絡效應。如果公司能實現兩者,那麼回報似乎是無窮的。

One way in which digitization is profoundly impacting distribution is through the emergence of platform monopolies. Using a combination of strengthened property rights, first-mover advantages, market power and other uncompetitive practices, these platforms control and use digitized data to organize and mediate transactions between the various actors, and have the capability of expanding the size of such ecosystems in a circular, feedback-driven process.

數位化影響分配的一種深刻方式是透過平台的壟斷。例如加強產權的組合,先發者優勢,市場力量等不具有競爭力的做法,這些平台控制和使用數據來組織和調解各級參與者之間的交易,並且擁有能夠以循環方式擴大這種生態系統的規模,達到反饋驅動的過程。

The trend towards greater concentration, in both the digital and analogue worlds of business, poses several macroeconomic risks and development challenges …

在數位和類比方面,商業世界更加集中的趨勢,帶來了一些宏觀經濟風險和發展挑戰…

Regulating digital super platforms and developing national marketing platforms is essential for developing countries to gain from e-commerce. Without this, linking into existing super platforms will only provide the companies that run them with more data, strengthening them further and facilitating their greater access to domestic markets.

如何監理數位超級平台,發展全國性的行銷平台,對發展中國家如何從電子商務中獲益至關重要。若沒有這些,直接連結到現有的超級平台,只會提供平台公司更多營運的數據,進一步強化它們,導致它們能更成功地進入在地市場。

National data policies should be designed to address four core issues: who can own data, how it can be collected, who can use it, and under what terms. It should also address the issue of data sovereignty, which relates to which data can leave the country and are thereby not governed under domestic law.

應制定國家數據政策以解決四個核心問題:誰可以擁有數據、如何收集數據、誰可以使用數據,以及在何種情況下使用數據的條款。這些數據政策還應該解決與數據主權有關的問題,如哪些數據可以離開該國,因而其不受國內法所管轄。

At the same time, the digital economy creates significant new regulatory policy challenges because the network effects and economies of scale associated with digitalization can cause rising inequality and generate barriers to market entry. The overwhelming control over digital platforms by a few firms points to the need for active consideration of policies to prevent anticompetitive behaviour by such firms, as well as potential misuse of data that are collected in the process.

此時,數位經濟創造了新的監管政策挑戰,因為網絡效應和規模經濟與數位化的關聯可能導致不平等的加劇,創造出市場進入的障礙。對於一些在數位平台擁有壓倒性控制的公司,需要積極考慮政策要防止這些公司的反壟斷行為,以及在服務過程當中所潛在的數據濫用。

One way of addressing rent-seeking strategies in a digital world would be to break up the large firms responsible for market concentration. An alternative would be to accept the tendency towards market concentration but regulate that tendency with a view to limiting a firm’s ability to exploit its dominance. Given that a country’s data may have public utility features, one option could be to regulate large firms as public utilities with direct public provision of the digitized services. This means that the digital economy would be considered similarly to traditional essential network industries, such as water and energy.

在數位世界中解決尋租策略的一種方式是拆解造成市場集中的巨大公司。另一種方法是接受市場集中的這個傾向,但必須限制公司利用它的主導地位所造成的剝削能力。有鑑於一個國家的數據可能具有公用事業的特性,一種選擇可能是將大公司當成是公共事業,對其數位化服務進行監管。這意味著數位化經濟可能與傳統的公共資源系統類似,如水和能源等行業。

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