The Pearl Industry: Is There a Market Opportunity?
(7 pages of text)
Case (Gen Exp)
In May 2018, a China-born entrepreneur living in Canada was at a seaside market in Qingdao, China, inspecting inexpensive pearls. She wondered whether pearls presented a good market opportunity in the West. At markets in China, she consistently found cultured pearls that would cost far more in Canada. This experience led her to wonder whether or not it was feasible to sell pearls on a wholesale basis in Canada, or perhaps through one of many retail options. Or was there a reason why pearls—such a timeless product—did not present more of a dynamic market opportunity in the West?
This case is suitable for use in various courses at the undergraduate or graduate level. When used in a strategic management course, the case introduces students to the topics of industry analysis and competitive strategy. The case can also be used in marketing courses because it lends itself to a full treatment of the 4Ps of marketing (price, product, promotion, and place). It is also suitable for an entrepreneurship course, in a section focusing on the process from idea to opportunity to business plan. After completion of this case, students will be able to
- discuss how entrepreneurially spirited people can enter an industry characterized by too-high prices, and do so with modest investment;
- assess how an entrepreneur could start to source pearls from China and set up a small business, focusing on a relatively concentrated market; and
- discuss why any start-up decision should be preceded by an industry analysis, an investigation of available sample products, and the development of a thorough market plan.
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
Canada; China, Small, 2018
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