20世紀世界運輸史上發生了兩個重要的變化，即飛機和高速鐵路的運營（Fischer and Kamerschen，2003）。與鄰國日本和西方發達國家相比，中國的高速鐵路起步較晚，但發展速度很快（Liu and Kuang，2010）。據2014年底統計，全國鐵路總里程已超過11萬公里，高速鐵路總里程已超過1.5萬公里（張、楊、衛，2009）。高速鐵路在短途客運市場上具有航空運輸所不具備的獨特優勢。許多短途航線，由于高鐵的開通，航空的時間優勢已經不復存在，客運量已經下降甚至停飛（wei，2007）。中國高速鐵路的快速發展將使運輸市場的競爭更加激烈。在中短途市場上，高速鐵路以其與航空運輸一樣快的速度、不斷改進的服務和固有的準時性，對民航業產生了巨大的影響。面對如此強大的競爭對手，中國各大航空公司需要依靠自身獨特的飛行優勢、成熟的運營機制、積極的市場開拓、穩定的業務來源、以及應對挑戰的定價策略。本文以中國南方航空公司為例，探討如何運用博弈論制定價格策略，使其價格能夠吸引消費者，保證其合理收益。本文首先回顧了博弈論的相關文獻，然后介紹了如何計算高鐵與飛機的均衡價格，然后分析了南航應如何根據計算結果制定價格策略。
Two important changes have taken place in the history of world transportation in the 20th century, namely the operation of aircraft and high-speed railways (Fischer and Kamerschen, 2003). Compared with neighboring Japan and developed countries in the West, China's high-speed railways started late, but its development speed is rapid (Liu and Kuang, 2010). According to statistics at the end of 2014, the total mileage of the national railway has exceeded 110,000 kilometers, and the total mileage of high-speed railway has exceeded 15,000 kilometers (Zhang, Yang and Wei, 2009). High-speed railways have a unique advantage that air transport does not have in the short-haul passenger transport market. Many short-haul air routes, because of the opening of high-speed rail, the time advantage of aviation no longer exists, the passenger load has dropped or even grounded (Wei, 2007). The rapid development of China's high-speed railways will make the competition in the transportation market more intense. In the short- and medium-haul market, high-speed railways have a great impact on civil aviation by virtue of the speed which is as fast as that of air transportation, continuous improvement of services and inherent punctuality. Faced with such a strong competitor, China's major airlines need to rely on their unique flight advantages, mature operating mechanisms, active market development, stable business sources, and pricing strategies to meet the challenges. The aim of this essay is to take China Southern Airlines as an example to explore how to use game theory to formulate a price strategy so that its price can attract consumers and guarantee its reasonable income. This paper first reviews the relevant literature of game theory, then introduces how to calculate the equilibrium price of high-speed rail and aircraft, and then analyzes how the Southern Airlines should formulate a price strategy based on the calculation results.
2.0 Main body主體
2.1 China Southern Airlines南航
China Southern Airlines was headquartered in Guangzhou and established on March 25, 1995 (China Southern, 2018). It is the airline with the largest number of transport aircraft, the most developed route network and the largest passenger traffic in China. The data shows that the price of air tickets of China Southern Airlines has risen by less than 1% in the past 10 years (China Southern, 2018). In the context of China's annual average inflation rate of more than 8%, it shows that China Southern Airlines always uses low-cost competition to participate in market competition. One of the main reasons for that is the rise of China's high-speed rail. On the one hand, high-speed rail continues to use low-cost methods to seize the market share of China Southern Airlines, and Southern Airlines has to make frequent discounts. With the continuous improvement of manpower and operating costs, the profit margin of China Southern Airlines is getting smaller and smaller. For China Southern Airlines, understanding the essential reasons for price wars, determining a properly price, and getting rid of vicious price competitions are of great significance to the healthy development of China Southern Airlines.
2.2 Game theory
In a game, based on whether the participants can negotiate freely before taking any action, and whether the mutually beneficial action plan or strategy can reach a binding agreement, a game can be divided into cooperative game and non-cooperative game (Nash, 1951). A reasonable and predictable feature of a cooperative game is that it is Pareto optimal: if a different strategy can be used to simultaneously improve the situation of two participants, they will definitely agree to do that (Sehipper, Nijkamp and Rietveld, 2007). However, in reality, competitors in many cases find it difficult to reach a binding agreement, so the solution in the competition in this case cannot reach the Pareto optimality, but only the Pareto suboptimal (Hsu, Lee and Liao, 2001). One of the most typical examples is the prisoner's dilemma often studied. A study of the prisoner's dilemma found that oligopolists often struggled with a prisoner's dilemma when deciding their pricing strategy (Netessine and Shumsky, 2005). They must decide whether to take aggressive pricing to gain a larger market share at the expense of competitors' losses, or to adopt a more moderate pricing strategy to coexist with competitors in the current state of their respective market share and obtain higher profits than when competition is fierce (Anjos, Cheng and Currie, 2004). This is the inevitable result of a non-cooperative game. In a non-cooperative game, to accurately predict the behavior of rational participants in a game, it needs to introduce a concept of “Nash Equilibrium”, which refers to that in non-cooperative game strategies, in the case where other people do not change their strategies, the strategy of all players is the best for themselves. At the Nash (1951) equilibrium point, every player in the game has no motivation to change their strategy alone. Cooperative game refers to a binding agreement between players, such as price alliances between oligopolistic companies, etc. (Nash, 1951).
2.3 The price game between high-speed rail and aviation industry in China
Unchanged fare fare reduction
High-speed rail Unchanged price 5 10 -10 15
Price reduction 15 -5 -5 -5
Table 1 Simulation of price game of China Southern Airlines with China's high-speed rail Shao (2015)
The following is a game that simulates the price strategy of aviation and high-speed rail according to game theory.
If high-speed rail reduces price and aviation industry keeps the price unchanged, then high-speed rail will profit 15, aviation industry will lose 5, the overall profit will be 10; if both high-speed rail and aviation industry keep the price unchanged, then high-speed rail will profit 5 and aviation industry will profit 10, the overall profit will be 15; if high-speed rail keeps the price unchanged, and aviation industry reduces price, then high-speed rail will lose 10 and aviation industry will profit 15, the overall profit will be 5; if both high-speed rail and aviation industry reduce price, then high-speed rail will lose 5 and aviation industry will lose 5 neither, the overall loss will be 10.
For the high-speed rail, the price cut is obviously better than the maintenance. The expected return of the high-speed rail price reduction is 10 (15-5), and the retained income is -5 (5-10). The high-speed rail is for its own maximizing returns will inevitably reduce prices. From the perspective of China Southern Airlines, price cut is also better than maintenance, because the profit of its price cuts are 10 (15-5), the maintenance income is 5 (10-5), and it will most probably choose to cut prices. Or it can be said that this price war will definitely be provoked by high-speed rail, because the price cut will definitely bring higher profits and encroach on the aviation market share, and aviation has to choose to cut prices in order to meet the challenges of high-speed rail. Therefore, both the high-speed rail and the aviation industry have chosen to reduce prices as a strategy. From the perspective of revenue, they lose 5 and the overall loss is 10. The overall benefit at this time is the worst. This is the Nash equilibrium situation pointed out above. When each individual seeks to maximize the benefits, the overall interests are not optimal or even the worst, that is, the non-cooperative game can only reach the Pareto suboptimal.