Trading Companies can be created only after you develop one of the technologies from Economy and Trade tree. Thanks to them you can increase your income by getting more Dust and Science. Besides that you can also trade and get more luxury resources. If you unlock a technology that allows you to sign a trading contract then you can also use subsidiaries of Trading Companies that belong to other civilizations if you have an established connection with them. After placing your first Trading Company, with time, you will unlock another one. You can speed up this process if your active company gives you good profit. This encourages in-game characters to invest in a new one. You can have up to 5 Trading Companies.
How do Trading Companies work?
They consist of a headquarter and a subsidiary. First, you need to build a headquarter in one of your systems and only after that you can access the option that allows you to build subsidiaries. Remember that systems must be connected by Star Lanes or Wormholes. You can't have a connection with a system that is outside of a constellation - the ones that can only be accessed by using free movement. When you build a headquarter in your best system you usually have high Industry and thanks to that the process of building said headquarter is very short. Building a subsidiary can take a little bit more so you should speed up the process by spending some Dust. Each of the Trading Companies' headquarters will use all available subsidiaries. If you build a few headquarters and subsidiaries you create a web of trade routes which will increase your income. When you sign a trading contract with other civilization you get the access to their subsidiaries and vice versa. Thanks to that you can have access to otherwise unobtainable resources - it is because your Trading Company will start producing such resource.
How a Trading Company earns Dust? The income is based on a few factors: the distance from a headquarter to a subsidiary, number of systems through which a trade route goes, how rich are the systems in the area around the route, number of recipients (the connections between a headquarter and all available subsidiaries), amount of structures that modify an income from trade and production (FIDSI and resources) in a headquarter and a subsidiary. Thanks to that you can receive a lot of income. The only direct way is to built subsidiaries and buy new trade ships to your Trading Company fleets. But this is only a statistical value and you won't see those ships moving between systems. However, they increase the percentage of income from your companies. You can buy trade ships that increase your income of Dust and Science or increase the amount of luxury resources.
How to effectively place and create Trading Companies:
- The length of a trade route is the most basic determinant of its profitability. An ideal situation is when a headquarter and a subsidiary are in two opposite ends of a galaxy. Extending a route artificially allows you to generate more profit.
- It is recommended to establish a headquarter in the richest system (the one with the biggest population and Dust production) that has deposits of luxury resources. Their number, expressed as a percentage, is added to Trading Company profits. After a few upgrades a production of resources can be much bigger than in two planets combined. The excess can be used, e.g. for upgrades from System Development or to trade in the Marketplace to get even more profit.
- When you get the access to Wormholes, usually, you get new possibilities for making new trade routes. You can sell some of your subsidiaries and build new ones in farther parts of your empire.
- When you are planning your Trading Company you must watch out for uninhabited and neutral systems. The first ones can be taken overtime by someone which interrupts your route. A neutral system allows you to keep your route but they are places that generate pirate fleets. They, in turn, have tendencies to block systems and therefore they stop a trade route. This means that you won't get any profits from it.
- It is worth to build your subsidiaries in safe parts of empire, away from border systems. Even if it means that you will get less profit. In the systems that are farther from you, you should build subsidiaries. By doing that, when you lose that system, you only have to create a new subsidiary. Losing a headquarter is a different story - when this happens you lose Trade Company and all investments connected with fleet development.
- Moving a subsidiary is much less expensive than creating a company from scratch, especially if you have more headquarters and subsidiaries. This means that you can safely test which systems are the best recipients or place them in systems where you can increase those luxury resources that are the most important to you at that moment.
How does the Marketplace work?
You get the access to the Marketplace when you develop a technology from the second ring in Economy and Trade (the second upgrade allows you to buy ships and heroes). Enter the Economy Screen and select the Marketplace tab. On your left there are two windows. The one above informs you about your strategic and luxury resources and allows you to sell a certain amount. Below, you can see the recent transactions. Another part of the screen shows you a graph with prices which is divided into four tabs. In the first two you can learn about prices and buy resources. Remember that you can trade only those resources that you mine or were acquired, e.g. as a loot for scanning a planet.
Purchase and sale influences prices in the entire galaxy. The number of resources that you can buy is limited but you can always sell any number of resources from your warehouses. It is not worth to buy all of the available quantity of a given resource. Instead, you should buy up to 2/3 of what is available at that moment. The closer you are to a buyout of all available quantity the higher the prices are. You can pay much more for the last units of a resource than they are worth. Besides that you can often receive random information about sudden decrease or increase in a price of a particular resource.
In the other two tabs you can get ships from other neutral factions. You can use them to strengthen your fleet or to use them as a corsairs (this option becomes available after developing a certain technology from Military ring). The ships will appear in a hangar in your capital. You can command them in the same way as the ships constructed in a shipyard. However, you can't upgrade them which means that they are better as an addition to your defense forces during critical situations. The last tab takes you to heroes screen. Here, you can get new subordinates by paying a certain amount of Dust. You can use this option from time to time if you want a certain type of a hero or you have a lot of Dust. Heroes are unique agents that can greatly help your empire.