Is it possible to create a new trade hub? Well the question has been asked before but to adjust it: Can one player lay the seeds of creation for a new trade hub? A trade hub obviously has to have more than one trader supplying resources and buying the excess, but can you start a trade hub that becomes permanent?
First off you have to have a massive amount of isk to hold an inventory. This is a given, any goods that you place on the market at first will not sell so even if it only costs one million isk a module you will need thousands of them and that money will not be available for months to come. Additionally you will need to place buy orders and while that is easily done with margin trading it can take a still take a lot of capital to get started. Considering that you have to buy T1 loot and sell T2 loot the money will turnover very slowly and minerals in particular are going to tie up a lot of the isk in the trade hub.
Secondly you will need multiple characters in order to create thousands of buy/sell orders. As I mentioned earlier both buy and sell orders will be needed because a hub doesn’t survive because of sellers it survives because of the players who sell to the buyers and then decide they need more missiles or another ship. Normally creating and maintaining these orders can be time consuming but in a market where no other players exist it actually wouldn’t require much maintenance. However with thousands of orders it could still take an hour or two to update the orders even once a week. Now it’s unrealistic to believe that a single player can supply every item and buy most items but the more characters that are buying/selling the more items will change hands, so in this case the more characters in the market the better.
You have to pick a location that makes sense or rather has a need, a location that isn’t near another major trade hub because otherwise it will be out shadowed. With isk being everything in eve players are willing to go 5 jumps to save a few million isk and that’s why you should keep away from other hubs. It is unlikely that you will be able to beat the prices of other trade hubs because of their size and besides you need a supply of goods which you won’t be able to manufacture yourself. Something like a mission hub wouldn’t be a bad idea but the idea is to get a location where players will be with or without a market. Placing it in a location with plenty of players will only help advertise the new trade hub which is important to the success of the hub. It also allows you to start turning over items immediately and will help spread word of mouth. Most trade hubs are major mission hubs or were at some point and even though they were created by thousands of players it is still a cornerstone to having a successful marketplace.
Eventually other players will move into the area and start trading there as well and you shouldn’t try to market pvp them out. Even though the traders are competing with you in a new hub they will expand the hub and help build a bigger market. They also pull the stress off you as they take over you will have less isk invested and more time to do other things. The idea proposed here is whether or not a trade hub can be created by one person, not can one player corner the new trade hub market. It is essential for any trade hub to have active traders if it is going to survive and one player cannot supply everything that the hub requires.
Even after those things you will have to be patient, something that people are not generally known for. It will take months or years in order for players to go to the station of your choosing on a regular basis. While some players will choose the hub for convenience lazy players will not be enough to make it an established hub. It can only be a hub when players go there to buy and sell goods and that includes other traders.
The unfortunate truth is that there is little chance for any trade hub to outdo Jita as the trade hub of choice. Jita has a central location, trillions of isk and items, and most importantly it is known by everyone in eve as the place to shop. Without being able to compete with Jita the other hubs will be no more than a drop of water in an ocean; this of course means that the smaller hubs will not ever reach even 10% of their potential. Why is this important? Because without the ability to sustain the market all trade hubs are doomed to fail and the ultimate question would be whether or not a trade hub can survive with such a small market share.
I would like to mention that most players buy the cheapest items and that would cause a new trading hub to fail because that hub would have to be supplied by the cheaper ones and upsell to make a profit, but in this case I will assume that the area has no nearby trade hubs and players are willing to pay more to save time going and getting their ships and modules. Having a niche market in the sense that there are few other choices around and there is a variety of items could actually overpower a players urge to go to Jita.
Realistically it is not possible to run a trade hub with only one person, but it is possible for that player to lay the seeds to get the market growing. It would take an immense effort and require more time than most players could stomach not to mention require more funds than 99% of eve players have. While creating a new market hub might be a good “because I can” project it would not be a good choice to actually make isk. A trader who wishes to try such an endeavor would have to markup the items reasonably because even with variety most eve players are not willing to pay 20million isk more for a drake just because they want to save 10 or 15 jumps, and overpricing items will mean a quick death to any trade hub, new or old. There is simply too much work, too much initially investment of isk, and too little profit in a trade hub, let alone a new trade hub. To the original question, yes I think it is possible for a single player to start a market hub, but it is extremely unlikely that the hub will be profitable or even be able to survive long term.
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