Japanese business are looking for guidance from abroad


For sure I had to read the news on Nikkei Shimbun twice, because I could not believe my eyes. One of the most traditional, slow-moving company that I know in Japan is opening up and welcoming the opinions of non-Japanese decision makers. Based on the Nikkei article it seems that Hitachi is planning to incorporate the opinions of non-Japanese executives in the decision-making process for high level headquarters decisions. For sure I had never expected that in my wildest dreams. The planned foreign input is so far based on intra-company feedback. I wonder whether bigger Japanese companies become serious to open up to the global market, or whether it might be just a response to all the events that occurred at Olympus?
Starting this month Hitachi will hold quarterly sessions where non-Japanese executives from overseas subsidiaries will offer suggestions on how the company should change to achieve global growth. Soon the first Global Session will take place and feature Jack Domme the CEO of U.S. data storage subsidiary Hitachi Data Systems Corp. Based on the article of Nikkei Shimbun the goal is to increase their international sales from 41% (2012) with a modest increase to 50% in fiscal 2015. From the figure provided by Nikkei Shimbun the growth in sales does not seem aggressive to me, but we do not know how actually this year’s sales trend for Hitachi is.
Personally I hope this opinion sharing and opening up for new ideas will help Hitachi or then other companies in Japan to refocus on their strength. These days only a few companies can survive with solely selling into a local market. Let’s see whether other leading Japanese companies will follow the lead from Hitachi.

Brought to you by an excited Sibylle Ito (伊藤シビル)

2 thoughts on “Japanese business are looking for guidance from abroad

  1. The fact that they use as metric “% of hitachi sales” instead of “global market share” says it all. What about real change, like introducing women in top management, foreigners in the leadership team, and transparent corporate governance? Good luck with these “changes” that keep all the same. My advice is simple: if you really believe in this, buy some stock of Hitachi and wait for the results!

    • Thanks for your comment. I agree with you, although I would like to point out that so far I had not personally experienced in business with Hitachi so much openness to foreign comments. From the Hitachi I know professionally, this seems to me a big step forward.

      Sibylle Ito

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