Companies as diverse as Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Microsoft count Japan as their largest market outside the US. And in most cases their Japan operations are also more profitable than their US operations. While the country’s spectacular postwar economic miracle has slowed down in the last decade or so, the Japan boasts a wealthy population of savvy consumers that prefer to buy products that incorporate the latest technology and innovative design.
The Japanese are also very heavy users of technology. Recent data from the top search engine providers show that on a per-capita basis, only Americans use the Internet more frequently than the Japanese. In addition, Japanese users are many times more likely to user their mobile phones to access and make purchases on the Internet, revealing an incredibly robust mobile market for online commerce, games and applications.
A company that enters the Japan market early with the right combination of product, local partnerships can often gain more market share and revenue on a percentage basis than is possible in their home markets. Why? The market here is concentrated around a few population centers and the consumers are extremely loyal. That is why Yahoo is still the number one search engine in Japan and Google is still a distant number two. Yahoo was in the market early with the right partner—the users came and never left.
In Japan, whom you partner with and how early you get to market is extremely important. Also Japanese companies are also much more willing to invest in their partner’s long term success than is the case in other countries. At RTM Asia we have helped many companies leverage the right local partner to fund their efforts and accelerate their time to revenue—and market share dominance—in Japan.
Net/net Japan is a big market. With some effort, any company can find some level of sales success there. The key is how to dominate the market versus being a marginal player. When entering Japan you should do it early, do it with the right set of partnerships and do it so that you are set up to maximize your market share and revenue. RTM will find the best partner, funding and sales/marketing strategy to ensure this happens for your company.