Have you ever wondered where to find the perfect spot to sell all of your excess Veldspar? Ever searched endlessly for the cheapest ship across the universe? Trading hubs are dynamic economic centers scattered throughout the New Eden galaxy, being stocked and depleted by a plethora of corporations and individual traders.
Trading hubs are centralized systems semi-regularly spaced throughout New Eden which have, for some reason or another, attracted many private investors, merchants, and traders. There are obvious needs for such locations; they allow purchasers to make easy and efficient marketing decisions and they provide sellers access to a fast-moving market. With universal knowledge of such systems, goods turnover occurs very frequently and if one invests wisely, money can easily made. With well-known market hubs in place, everyone from novice goods traders to savvy investors have locations to make contacts, discuss business, and turn a profit.
The first trading system we will be talking about is without a doubt the most famous: Jita. Specifically the Planet 4, Moon 4 Caldari Navy Assembly Plant, or ‘Jita 4-4’ as it is commonly known. This station, located within The Forge, has the most goods moved through it in all of New Eden, with billions of ISK changing hands daily. This station has a rich history, once being home to a great number of Caldari Navy mission agents. However, most of these agents have since moved to stations in surrounding systems as to avoid, amongst other things, the increasing overhead cost of living in Jita 4-4. In fact, Jita 4-4 has become so popular with traders that in the past, routes have been redirected around the system in order to lessen the strain on the stargates.
Other centralized trading hubs can be found in various other regions of empire space in New Eden, generally centralizing around the home systems of the major factions. These hubs are Rens, in the Heimatar region of Minmatar space, Oursalert, in the Essence region of Gallente space, and Amarr, of the Domain region in Amarrian space. Another notable hub is Hek in the Metropolis region of Minmatar space. Each of these systems offers unique advantages for pod pilots, be it easily accessible corporate agents, unique products, or pivotal staging locations. Generally, they are centrally located within their respective empires and each exists only a short distance from low-security space. Because of this, large corporations and alliances that live in 0.0 space can relatively easily acquire needed goods and sell excess resources.
Trading centers can be a great place for the budding market investor to make a fortune. However, one must first understand the hidden mechanisms surrounding these areas. The levels of supply and demand are constantly maintained within these areas by watchful traders. Since many purchasers come to trading hubs for easily-accessible goods, they are often willing to pay a little above average for the convenience factor. Having said this, many capsuleers in New Eden are shrewd enough to know when they’re being taken advantage of. For low-priced and commonly found goods, pricing always ebbs and flows. For luxury and hard-to-find goods, premium pricing often forces small fish out of the proverbial marketing waters before they can become fully established. Price wars between capitalist merchants are continuously in progress with the sellers rapidly adjusting their product pricing in order to capture the largest share of the market and generate the most funds.
Transportation of goods is an essential component to the survival of these trading centers. After the creation of the first freighter-class vessels, New Eden saw a boom in the volume of goods being moved through the empires. It was then economically feasible to transport larger quantities of items such as ships, minerals and building components across long distances, helping stimulate markets throughout the universe. An advantageous aftereffect of freighter transport was the price equalization throughout the regions. Once large-volume transport was established, smaller traders were able to compete with their larger counterparts by bringing in stocks of goods purchased cheaper elsewhere. It is important to remember that these trading hubs are fuelled by profit-driven capsuleers. If new nichés for profit arise, often a budding entrepreneur will step in to make a profit.
Market hubs are established through internally driven cycles. As markets grow in specific systems, more traders will migrate to those areas, knowing that their goods have the highest likelihood of selling in these locations. The knowledge of these market locations is of key value to help attract all classes of traders. As more merchants are drawn into the area, new items are introduced and economic competition and price wars are created.
Brand loyalty is not a concept that many open-market traders in New Eden are very familiar with. It is unlikely buyers will purchase goods from the same sellers if the same minimal prices are no longer provided. With the Secure Commerce Commission’s (SCC) current free-trade market system, buyers have quick and easy access to the ready information on the cheapest and closest items they desire, and no way to be sure of the seller until they access their market logs post-transaction. The SCC is a Concord-derived organization responsible for guaranteeing that there is fair and free trade for all, by ensuring the market does not become predominantly controlled by any specific faction. In addition, the SCC taxes all market transactions in New Eden to financially assist CONCORD's ongoing defense of lawful space.
Some pilots have discovered non-financial ways to reap the benefits of trading hubs. For example, a common strategy of corporations at war is to send patrols through systems with frequent trade in the hopes of finding an unwary opponent in the midst of moving important goods. In addition to this, some pirates have brazenly organized raids upon traders, shrugging off the inevitable retaliation from CONCORD and Police. These few pirates cause tremendous upheaval for security forces, for their attacks come quickly, without warning, and usually with repercussions too late. As is the case, it is always advised that traders fly in strongly defensive ships or with an escort to aid until police forces can arrive.