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)