Some Japanese companies are redirecting their focus

I am really impressed about two big Japanese companies who are proactively looking for opportunities abroad in time while the local market is decreasing: For me Aeon and Sapporo Holdings are two examples of leading Japanese companies. Based on a recent article of Yomiuri Shimbun, last week Aeon officially launched a project to operate in the Vietnamese market. Vietnam has a totally different environment compared to Japan. Can you imagine that the average age of Vietnamese nationals is about 27! Compare this to Japan, which is facing deflation, a declining birthrate and a rapidly aging population. According to Yomiuri Shimbun Aeon’s first store will open in the Celadon City district of Ho Chi Minh City, which is now being developed (Celadon City complex: scheduled to open in 2014 with 130 tenant stores). To make matters even more impressive, Aeon has plans to increase its combined overseas sales to the level of its domestic sales by 2020. Aeon’s pro-active driven behavior let me wonder many times, whether it is really a company with Japanese management!
Relying on the information from Yomiuri Shimbun Japanese beer manufacturers are not slow in moving a part of their activities abroad. Sapporo Holdings Ltd. started operating a brewery in Vietnam in January. Similar then, but a different local approach Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. decided in July 2011 to purchase a Malaysian beverage maker to get a foothold in the country’s market.
While I see local manufacturers wine about the increasing pressure of the local markets and difficulty to keep up with all the foreign originated changes coming in to Japan, at the same time I see companies that embrace new opportunities and are moving ahead. I am definitely curious how it will play out in the future. Was it worth the risk to go abroad or just stay focused on the home market?

Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (伊藤シビル)

2 thoughts on “Some Japanese companies are redirecting their focus

  1. Oh, in today’s global economy, and with the rapidly emerging numbers of customers in both Vietnam and Malayasia, I think these companies could scarcely do otherwise than move into those markets!

    • Dear Granbee,

      I fully agree with you. Especially Japanese companies that have to deal with a shrinking local market have to do the move now, or opportunities will be gone forever. I am really concerned with several larger local market focused Japanese manufacturer. Just hoping the situation will become better again will not be enough. I am not in favor for growth no matter what, but I expect that the management of larger Japanese companies to understand that the time of just reacting to change is gone. Be proactive towards coming changes or the sad reality now: down sizing or potential bankruptcy.

      All the best,


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