Entering The Japan Market

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Campaign Asia magazine asserts that the multinationals are rediscovering Japan.  According to their article, “foreign brands need to discard their preconceptions about Japan.”

Although, evidently many brands entering the Japan market are still not doing their consumer research and are making the mistake of portraying a consumer who no longer exists—like the 1950’s style housewife waiting for her husband to come home.

As we have seen in other markets, Japanese consumers are thought to increasingly resemble their Western peers. The perception exists that the Japanese are more open to foreign products than ever before, including those made in China.

Writes Toru Nitta, Network ACE for WPI at Asahi Advertising Inc, Tokyo, Japan, “It is true that, in recent years, some Chinese brands have been introduced into the Japanese consumer market in some product areas. However, you cannot easily say that Japanese consumers have started to accept Chinese brands wholeheartedly.”

“Some consumers may be price-sensitive and just opting for Chinese brands for reasons of price, “explains Toru. “Others may be buying these Chinese brands because they know that the Chinese brand is originally a Japanese brand acquired by a Chinese company and that the products are really manufactured in Japanese factories by Japanese workers.”

Toru points out that articles in both People magazine and Search China.Net claim that the Japanese are accepting Chinese brands like Haier, Huawei and Lenovo.

But says Toru, “Personally, when I look back on my buying habits, I haven’t considered buying Chinese brands when buying electric appliances or smartphones. Also, I haven’t noticed Chinese brands so much at electric appliances stores, and I haven’t directly dealt with Chinese brands in my work, either. In this sense, I don’t think Chinese brands are deeply penetrating the Japanese consumer market.”

Toru continues, “However, when I see the big digital signage of Haier in Ginza, near the place I work, I am reminded that Chinese brands are really trying hard to penetrate the Japanese market.”