Recently so many people from Asia visited Japan. When I started working in Asia 20 years ago, people told me that they found Japan fascinating but it is too expensive to visit but it is only their dream to visit Japan some day.
But recently Japan became a more realistic holiday destination to experience the different culture.
While popularity of Japan as the holiday destination is soaring, Japanese products and foods are getting increasingly popular overseas. Then more Japanese companies started seeking overseas markets.
Small and medium sized companies are looking for local partners
Once only large Japanese companies invested overseas for production and sales, but now more small and medium sized companies started investing overseas.
The challenge of small and medium size companies to go overseas is that they do not have the support system to be successful in the new markets. Normally they do not have the local market information and they often do not speak the local languages.
Japanese have products and manufacturing expertise while they are looking for local partners who can bring them the aspects where they do not have the knowledge nor resources. If you can bring the skills, knowledge and/or expertise in the area where the Japanese are struggling with, successful partnership can be established.
Typically they are looking for the expertise in the area of:
- accounting and tax
- human resources
Of course you can come in as a shareholder, a staff or a part of the management to be a part of the companies. Also you can be their agent or franchise of the companies.
Under the current conditions, the investment might go back to indirect investment
At the time of Covid-19, it is more difficult for the Japanese to directly invest overseas, then it could be the option for the Japanese companies to look for agents or franchise to sell their products or foods for overseas markets.
I saw many cases in Indonesia where the Indonesians visited Japan and they talked to the promising restaurants and eatery shops and assisted the Japanese to open the shops and restaurants in Indonesia ranging from ramen shops, pork cutlets restaurants, cheese cakes etc. What was interesting for this case, the Japanese think that these restaurants which serve porks would not be successful for the country which has a large Muslim population, but then these shops opened in predominantly Chinese population area in the capital city and became very popular. This kind of investment will not be possible unless the local partners did not provide the input to the Japanese companies. For small and medium sized companies, it is a good way to go abroad when they do not have expertise and also the partnership can share the risk of investment.
Also the local partners know the market. They know the local points of view. Local partners can provide local insights to the new operations such as the followings:
1, regulations to set up the operation
2, sourcing of materials
3. marketing such as social media
5. business customs
6. religious points of view
If you can bring in the skills, expertise and knowledges where the Japanese are not strong at, you can create the valuable partnerships directly or indirectly.
Sachiko has led the Japan desk of Ernst & Young Indonesia (EY Indonesia), one of Big 4 accounting firms and the largest professional service network in the world as Executive Director over 20 years. She provided consulting services to their Japanese clients. Sachiko was also a professional member of tax committee in Jakarta Japan Club as well as assumed the role of accounting and tax counsellor to its corporate members. Currently she resists in Japan.
She spent 30 years overseas and visited 38 countries and more than 480 cities in Asia, Europe and North America. She graduated from International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan and haas a MBA degree from Manchester Business School in the UK.