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disruption games Mobile

Japan game market disruption: GungHo + DeNA + GREE overtake Japan’s game icons

Japan game market disruption: new smartphone game companies overtake Japan’s game icons like Nintendo in income

[日本語版はこちらへ]

Since last financial year (ended March 31, 2013), three newcomers (GungHo, DeNA, and GREE) combined achieved higher operating income and higher net income than all 9 iconic Japanese game companies (Nintendo + SONY-Games + SegaSammy + BandaiNamco + Konami + TakaraTomy + SquareEnix + Capcom + TecmoKoei) combined.

While the newcomer’s revenues are increasing (except for GREE), the traditional 9 game companies’ revenues peaked in 2008, and have been falling rapidly ever since.

Clearly Japan’s the 2003-2005 mergers in Japan’s game sector did not make the sector “future proof” – more dramatic changes will be either initiated by the iconic incumbents, or imposed on them from newcomers such as GungHo.

Note that the position of foreign entrants remain weak in Japan’s game market overall.

Read more in the article below or in our report on “Japan’s game makers and markets”, and in the following post “Brutal disruption of Japan’s Game Markets”.

Three new game companies (GungHo, DeNA, GREE) overtake Japan's 9 iconic game companies in operating profits
Three new game companies (GungHo, DeNA, GREE) overtake Japan’s 9 iconic game companies in operating profits (note that the last data point for 2013 for GungHo is only for the first 6 months, i.e. full year results will show that the “new” game companies are doing even better compared to the “old” game companies than visible in this figure) Source: https://www.eurotechnology.com/store/jgames/
Three newcomers (GungHo, DeNA, GREE) achieve higher net profits than all 9 Japanese game icons combined
Three newcomers (GungHo, DeNA, GREE) achieve higher net profits than all 9 Japanese game icons combined (note that the last data point for 2013 for GungHo is only for the first 6 months, i.e. full year results will show that the “new” game companies are doing even better compared to the “old” game companies than visible in this figure) source: https://www.eurotechnology.com/store/jgames/

Japan game market disruption: online and smartphone came company GungHo with Puzzle and Dragons

GungHo started as OnSale KK, a joint-venture between SoftBank and the US company OnSale Inc., the purpose of this JV was Japan market entry for this US company, an ecommerce company.
OnSale KK pivoted from ecommerce to games and started to distribute the Korean game Ragnarok and others, and changed its name to GungHo.
GungHo’s breakthrough came with “Puzzle and Dragons” – Jan-June 2013 operating profits increased 4050.1% (four thousand fifty percent) compared to the same period one year ago. GungHo is part of the SoftBank group.
More in our report on “Japan’s game makers and markets”

Japan game market disruption: GREE

GREE on the other hand – although a successful new venture in Japan’s game sector – is not doing so well currently: reported revenues and income have both been falling. Essentially, GREE has difficulties to implement the plan to build a global business based on their Japanese methods and business models. The factors are both “hard” and “soft”, i.e. business models, and human factors.
Details on GREE’s performance, and reasons for GREE’s current issues in our report:

Copyright 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
games Mobile

Japan game sector disruption

Japan’s iconic game companies (Nintendo, Sony, Sega-Sammy, Bandai-Namco, Konami, Takara-Tomy, Square-Enix, Capcom, Tecmo-Koei) see brutal disruption by smart phone games

Japan game sector disruption: Three newcomers (GREE, DeNA and GungHo) achieve higher operating income than all top 9 incumbent game companies combined

Japan’s top 9 iconic game companies, Nintendo, Sony, Sega-Sammy, Bandai-Namco, Konami, Takara-Tomy, Square-Enix, Capcom, Tecmo-Koei created much of the world’s games markets, and many of the world’s most loved game characters.

They are now seeing brutal disruption.

Japan game sector disruption

With the Financial Year ending March 31, 2013, for the first time, just three Japanese newcomers (GREE, DeNA and GungHo) achieved higher operating income than all top 9 Japanese iconic incumbent game makers:

In FY2012 combined operating income of all 9 incumbent game companies was YEN 67.6 billion (US$ 700 million), combined operating income of the 3 newcomers was YEN 174 billion (US$ 1.8 billion) – even though for GungHo only the first 6 months of 2013 are included in the calculation.

Operating income of Japan's top 9 games companies declined steadily since 2009 - combined operating income for FY2012 was YEN 67.6 billion (US$ 700 million)
Operating income of Japan’s top 9 games companies declined steadily since 2009 – combined operating income for FY2012 was YEN 67.6 billion (US$ 700 million)
In 2013, three newcomers (GREE, DeNA, GungHo) achieved higher operating income than all nine established Japanese game makers. Combined operating income for FY2012 was YEN 174 billion (US$ 1.8 billion) 
In 2013, three newcomers (GREE, DeNA, GungHo) achieved higher operating income than all nine established Japanese game makers. Combined operating income for FY2012 was YEN 174 billion (US$ 1.8 billion) 

The incumbents: Nintendo, Sony, Sega-Sammy, Bandai-Namco, Konami, Takara-Tomy, Square-Enix, Capcom, Tecmo-Koei

Because of its size, Nintendo has the greatest weight in the overall performance of Japan’s traditional game sector. Nintendo has been dramatically affected by the shift from traditional game consoles to smartphones. Still, Nintendo (as all other Japanese iconic game companies) has tremendous resources, tremendous creativity, globally loved characters and brands, and huge cash reserves. I don’t think that Nintendo (and other Japanese game companies) risk as much to follow Nokia and RIM/BlackBerry’s fate, but may be more resilient. However, there has been substantial consolidation in Japan’s games sector of recent years, and the current challenges could lead to more M&A in Japan’s games sector.

The disruptors

We have only picked three important new market entrants – there are many more in Japan’s vibrant mobile game venture scene.

DeNA

DeNA initially started as a mobile auction group, and sees continuous strong growth and high margins.

GREE

Of these three, GREE is currently suffering some set-backs originating from GREE’s business model. GREE started as a SNS and social game platform on Japan’s “galake” (Galapagos Keitai) relying on Japan’s mobile internet services i-Mode, EZweb and Yahoo-Mobile, where operators traditionally take 9% commissions. Initially GREE tried to transfer this “platform on platform” business model to other countries, but this does not seem to work out. So GREE is now pivoting to original games, and has seen setbacks.

GungHo

GungHo started as a joint-venture with a US company, the purpose of this JV was Japan market entry for this US company. GungHo then pivoted away from this joint-venture to become a games company, and produced a series of games, which all did well, but not extraordinarily well. That is, until GungHo created “Puzzle and Dragons”, which is growing spectacularly well: Jan-June 2013 operating profits increased 4050.1% (four thousand fifty percent) compared to the same period one year ago, and net profits increased 2507.8% (two thousand seven percent) compared to Jan-June one year ago.

The disruption

The shift to smartphones is hitting Japanese traditional iconic game makers from all sides:

  • the shift from TV to tablets and mobile phones
  • the shift from dedicated game consoles to smart phones and tablets
  • the shift from Japan’s “galake” feature phones to smart phones
  • the shift in business model from traditional US$ 40-60 game cassettes-type to free game downloads with in-game purchases and advertising
  • …and more

Japan’s game sector report

Learn more: read our report on Japan’s game makers and markets
(approx. 400 pages, pdf file)

Copyright (c) 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Mobile telecommunications

Masayoshi Son threatened to set himself on fire in Japan’s Postal Ministry?!

Masayoshi Son threatened to set himself on fire in Japan’s Post and Telecommunications Ministry? Is it really true?

by Gerhard Fasol

Masayoshi Son is known for his unbreakable will to achieve his and his companies’ business goals, and the will to take risks.

Masayoshi Son threatened to set himself on fire in the Ministry?!? Spectrum allocations for KDDI and SoftBank:

Currently Masayoshi Son, Founder of Softbank, is battling for a revision of a decision by Japan’s Ministry of General Affairs (Soumu-Sho) to award a new tranche of radio wave spectrum to KDDI’s subsidiary UQ, rather than sharing the spectrum equally with SoftBank‘s subsidiary Wireless City Planning.

Masayoshi Son threatened to set himself on fire in Japan’s Post and Telecommunications Ministry? Asking Masayoshi Son directly:

For a long time, I knew of a story about Masayoshi Son threatening to set himself on fire inside Japan’s Postal and Telecommunications Ministry (now merged into Japan’s Ministry of General Affairs (Soumu-Sho) since administrative reforms some years ago) in order to underline his request for a particular telecommunications license, or access to NTT exchanges, or similar matters Masayoshi Son was applying for at the time. I was long puzzled whether this story is true or not, so some years I go I had the chance to check this story out directly with Masayoshi Son, via the Chief- Editor of BusinessWeek, Mr David Rocks.

David Rocks, Editor of BusinessWeek in 2004 came for three weeks to Japan because BusinessWeek’s technology correspondent had tragically died of illness, in order to fill the gap of reporting about Japan. On the first day of his three weeks work in Japan he had Chinese dinner with me in Hibiya. Next day around noon he phoned me for advice of which questions to ask Masayoshi Son during an interview, and one of the questions that I suggest was: “Is the story true, that you (=Masayoshi Son) threatened to set yourself on fire in the Japanese Telecommunications Ministry”. A day later David Rocks told me, that Masayoshi Son’s answer was: “Yes, the story is true, I did threaten to set myself on fire inside the Telecommunications Ministry, but I did not take any petrol along!”.

Read this story in more detail here. This story became the headline of David Rocks’ BusinessWeek article “Setting fire to the cell-phone market“, published on October 31, 2004 in Businessweek.

More about Softbank and Masayoshi Son in our report.

Copyright notice:

The photograph of Masayoshi Son is used under Creative Commons license according to Wikipedia.
Copyright details are:
Description English: Masayoshi Son on July 11, 2008
Date 11 July 2008, 12:11:02
Source iPhone 3G Masayoshi Son Masaru Kamikura (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kamikura/2658524938/)
Author Masaru Kamikura (http://www.flickr.com/people/20119192@N00) from Japan
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en) license.

Copyright(c) 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
telecommunications

FTTH Japan Europe: more FTTH broadband subscriptions in Japan than in all of EU + Norway + Switzerland + Iceland

by Gerhard Fasol

Japan has more broadband fixed internet subscriptions than all of the European Union + Switzerland + Norway + Iceland

FTTH Japan Europe:While Japan initially was late in waking up to the commercial introduction of the Internet – Japan was fast to catch up and overtake

Japan alone currently has about 30% more FTTH optical fiber broadband subscriptions than all EU countries + Switzerland + Norway + Iceland added together.

How much broadband (ADSL, xDSL and FTTH) is installed in Japan? Find the answer and detailed statistics and market shares in our report on Japan’s telecom industry.

Japan was first to roll-out mobile internet with i-Mode in February 1999

Similarly, Japan was far in advance of other countries in laying the foundations for the mobile internet, with the introduction of the DoPa (DoCoMo Packet) packet switched network on March 28, 1997, several years before packet switched networks were introduced in EU and elsewhere. However, Japan’s electronics and telecoms industries largely failed to capture global value from this pioneering work. Essentially only Softbank with the SPRINT acquisition now has hope to capture such global value.

A very interesting point is that in EU there are many discussions and uncertainties how broadband fiber investments can be profitable. Japan has solved this problem: FTTH business in Japan is profitable. We see arbitraging opportunities in capturing value from Japan’s know-how, similar to Softbank’s “time shift” investments, arbitraging the time shift of internet roll-out in US vs Japan vs China, as explained in our Softbank-report.

FTTH Japan Europe Broadband: about 30% more FTTH subscriptions in Japan than in all of EU + Switzerland + Norway + Iceland
FTTH Japan Europe: about 30% more FTTH subscriptions in Japan than in all of EU + Switzerland + Norway + Iceland. Source: https://www.eurotechnology.com/store/jcomm/

Japan has 30% more FTTH fiber broadband subscriptions than EU + Switzerland + Norway + Iceland…

Several years ago the EU engaged our company Eurotechnology Japan KK to benchmark EU vs Japan in fixed and wireless broadband. Our summary was that broadband connections are the lifeblood of our information society, and that Japan was far ahead of EU in providing and using both fixed and wireless broadband, and broad band fiber connections were much faster and cheaper in Japan than in EU. Although both have progressed since our benchmarking work for the EU, Japan is still very far ahead of EU in terms of fast fiber broadband penetration.

Capturing global value – Japan’s Galapagos effect

However, provision of broadband fiber connections is only one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is capturing value and creating wealth for the society. The really important point is, whether Japan’s electronics, telecoms, content and service industries can capture global value from the advanced deployment of broadband infrastructure. As we discussed in detail in the “Post-Galapagos working group”, Japan is being held back by the “Galapagos effect” – and the trick will be to make the necessary changes to break out from this trap.

Detailed analysis in our report on Japan’s telecommunications sector:

Copyright 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Leadership Mobile Renewable energy telecommunications

Growth in Japan: the SoftBank group

SoftBank gaining market share in Japan

SoftBank market cap catching up with Docomo

Mobile subscription data released last week show, that the SoftBank group continues to gain market share while incumbent NTT-docomo continues to lose market share – an upward trend for SoftBank, and a downward trend for NTT-docomo essentially unbroken since SoftBank acquired Vodafone-Japan and succeeded with the turn-round.

SoftBank’s market cap has also steadily increased recently and is now close to NTT-docomo’s, exceeding it on some days:

operator || Market Cap (May 10, 2013)

  • NTT-docomo || YEN 6945 billion (US$ 68 billion)
  • SoftBank || YEN 6688 billion (US$ 66 billion)
  • KDDI || YEN 4162 billion (US$ 41 billion)
SoftBank group exceeds 40 million mobile subscriptions
SoftBank group exceeds 40 million mobile subscriptions

Bringing eMobile and PHS operator Willcom under its group umbrella, and by creating the new operator Wireless City Planning (WCP), Softbank group subscription numbers now exceed 40 million, and have overtaken KDDI

PHS operator Willcom joins the SoftBank group

PHS operator Willcom registered for bankruptcy administration essentially because of the high investments in upgrading the legacy PHS network infrastructure, and is currently in corporate reconstruction with SoftBank as the reconstruction sponsor.

Wireless City Planning (WCP) is a wireless operator owned partially by Advantage Partners and SoftBank and other investors, and representing the next generation network Willcom hoped – but could not afford – to develop.

While negotiating the SPRINT acquisition, SoftBank tricks out KDDI to take control of eMobile

While Masayoshi Son was secretly negotiating his offer for SPRINT, he discovered that KDDI was in negotiations to acquire new entrant eMobile. While continuing the SPRINT negotiations, he was a faster decision maker than KDDI, and could win the eMobile acquisition right under the eyes of KDDI.

Since a few weeks ago, iPhones on SoftBank‘s network automatically log into both SoftBank’s and eMobile‘s LTE radio networks, greatly enhancing data transmission rates and coverage.

More in our report on Japan’s telecommunications sector

Softbank and Renewable Energy

Softbank recently also entered the renewable energy business. Read more about Softbank’s renewable energy business in our Renewable energy report (our work on Japan’s energy sector is referenced in IEEE-Spectrum here).

Learn more about SoftBank, Masayoshi Son, and his 30/300 year vision for SoftBank

Report on “SoftBank today and 300 year vision” (approx 120 page, pdf file)

Copyright 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Mobile Renewable energy telecommunications

Masayoshi Son: “I am a man – and I want to be Number 1”

SoftBank aims for global No. 1 position…acquiring SPRINT on the way to the top

SoftBank: towards global No. 1 with a 300 year vision

To understand SoftBank, and the planned SPRINT acquisition, you need to understand Masayoshi Son – and Masayoshi Son says: “I am a man – and I want to be Number 1”. SoftBank announced FY2012 financial results a few days ago – read below and in our SoftBank-report for analysis, but lets first look at Masayoshi Son.

Yes, Masayoshi Son threatened the Japanese Telecomms and Postal Ministry to set himself on fire inside the Ministry

A few years ago, the Chief-Editor of BusinessWeek visited Japan to interview Masayoshi Son, and the night before the interview over dinner he asked me to suggest interview questions. I suggested to ask if it is true that Masayoshi Son threatened to set himself on fire inside Japan’s Government Ministry for Telecommunications if he is again refused the telecommunications license he needed to build a telecommunications business. Masayoshi Son’s answer: “yes, its true, I threatened to set myself on fire inside the Ministry – but I did not bring any fuel along into the Ministry”. This story shows Masayoshi Son’s passion and extreme determination – and my suggestion became the headline of the article in BusinessWeek – and can still be found online here.

Faced with such passion and determination, Vodafone never had a chance in Japan – can you imagine the Chairman of Vodafone coming over from London to Tokyo to threaten to set himself on fire inside Japan’s telecommunications ministry? Not to mention the demanding customers: several times I personally saw complaining Japanese customers shout down Japanese Vodafone-staffers until these burst into tears and had to be consoled by Vodafone-coworkers… unbelievable, but true.
Japan can be tough for foreign companies…

BusinessWeek: “Apple would never talk to a “small fry” like SoftBank”. Really?

Around the same time, I had to ask BusinessWeek to print a correction to BusinessWeek’s statement, that Apple would never talk to a “small fry” like SoftBank – read the correction here. Well, Apple did talk to the “small fry” SoftBank – and as a result the iPhone is the best-selling mobile phones for two years in a row, and SoftBank is on the way now to become No. 1 in Japan. Read here about a Press Conference discussing the original iPhone introduction by SoftBank to Japan.

SoftBank on the way to US$ 10 billion annual operating profits
SoftBank on the way to US$ 10 billion annual operating profits (Source: our Report on Japan’s telecom sector)

SoftBank aims for global No. 1 position: Japan’s most successful venture start-up – with a 30 year and a 300 year plan

SoftBank had already received a spectrum license and had intended to build up a mobile phone network from zero, when Masayoshi Son grasped the opportunity to acquire Vodafone’s struggling Japan operations – the former Japan-Telecom and J-Phone. Almost overnight Masayoshi Son arranged US$ 15 Billion in loans to fund the acquisition.

The acquisition was announced on Friday March 17, 2006, and the following Monday, Masayoshi Son moved all the remaining staff (minus most expatriates) from the Vodafone-Atago-office to Softbank’s offices in Shiodome, and shut down the Atago-offices to make a clear break. It took Masayoshi Son only a few months until it was clear that the turn-round will be successful. And now with the planned SPRINT acquisition, Softbank is on track to target global No. 1 position.

Softbank and Renewable Energy

Softbank recently also entered the renewable energy business. Read more about Softbank’s renewable energy business in our Renewable energy report (our work on Japan’s energy sector is referenced in IEEE-Spectrum here and here in The Economist).

SoftBank aims for global No. 1 position: Learn more about SoftBank, Masayoshi Son, and his 30/300 year vision for SoftBank

Report on “SoftBank today and 300 year vision” (approx 120 page, pdf file)

Copyright notice:

The photograph of Masayoshi Son is used under Creative Commons license according to Wikipedia.
Copyright details are:
Description English: Masayoshi Son on July 11, 2008
Date 11 July 2008, 12:11:02
Source iPhone 3G Masayoshi Son Masaru Kamikura (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kamikura/2658524938/)
Author Masaru Kamikura (http://www.flickr.com/people/20119192@N00) from Japan
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en) license.

Copyright (c) 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Mobile telecommunications

Japan telecom sector financial results and the Softbank-Sprint take-over battle

SoftBank seeks to win, where Docomo failed – taking Japan’s telecoms know-how global

Japan telecom sector financial results: very very healthy

With SoftBank and DISH battling for US mobile operator SPRINT, the eyes are on Japan’s very healthy mobile phone sector, which a few days ago announced financial results for FY 2012. Japan’s mobile operators combined achieve about US$ 120 billion in revenues and income margins are among the highest globally.

The size, success and extremely advanced state of Japan’s mobile phone sector, SoftBank’s excellence, and Masayoshi Son’s midas touch give SoftBank the strength to go for an acquisition of SPRINT – and to aim for the large scale globalization which DoCoMo tried, but could not achieve about 10 years ago.

Japan's mobile operator revenues are about US$ 120 billion and growing
Japan’s mobile operator revenues are about US$ 120 billion and growing

Japan’s mobile operators DoCoMo, KDDI and SoftBank are growing steadily

Japan’s mobile phone operators are protected by government licenses, but within this scope, there is passionate competition and there are many M&A actions. With high investments in infrastructure, Japan’s mobile phone sector is among the most advanced in the world. Japan initiated the global mobile internet revolution.

Combined, Japan’s mobile operators achieve about US$ 120 billion in sales annually

Combined, Japan’s mobile operators achieve about US$ 120 billion in sales annually, and the size of Japan’s mobile industry has been growing steadily ever since mobile phones started in Japan.

The Figure above clearly shows the growth of SoftBank from a small venture to one of the world’s largest telecom operators, and the acquisition and turn-round of Vodafone-Japan.

SoftBank aims for US$ 10 billion operating income/year
SoftBank aims for US$ 10 billion operating income/year

SoftBank is on track to achieve the target of YEN 1 Trillion operating income/year by FY 2016

FY2012 financial results announced a few days ago show that SoftBank has overtaken KDDI in terms of operating profits, is on track to overtake DoCoMo and to achieve its target of YEN 1 Trillion (US$ 10 Billion) in operating profits by 2016 – this while investing heavily in infrastructure in Japan, and paying down debt remaining from the acquisition of Vodafone-Japan.

Operator Operating income/year
China Mobile US$ 24.4 Billion
Vodafone US$ 17.4 Billion
Verizon US$ 13.2 Billion
SoftBank US$ 7.5 Billion, 2016-target: US$ 10 billion

More in our report on Japan’s telecom sector

SoftBank today and 300 year vision report:

Copyright (c) 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Mobile

Japan wireless industry boom driven by smartphones. Japan adds about two Finlands worth of wireless subscriptions per year.

Japan wireless industry adds 11 million subscriptions/year currently

Softbank targets ¥ 1 Trillion operational income

Japan wireless industry is growing, and Japan’s mobile operators add 11 million subscriptions/year currently: Japan adds about two Finlands worth of wireless subscriptions per year.

Softbank entered the telecom arena in 2001 with Yahoo BB, Nagoya Metallic and later Osaka Metallic and Tokyo Metallic Communications. However, when Softbank announced the acquisition of the ailing Vodafone-Japan operations, few telecom professionals outside Japan had ever heard about Softbank, and major telecom equipment makers approached our company to help start business with Softbank.

Today, Softbank has acquired Japan’s eAccess/eMobile, is sponsoring the rehabilitation of Willcom, founded Wireless City Planning, and is in the processes of gaining regulatory approval to acquire the US operator SPRINT – on the way to become one of the world’s largest telecom operators.

Japan wireless industry operators have combined operating profits of US$ 24 billion/year – Softbank targets operating profits of YEN 1 Trillion (= US$ 11 Billion) for financial year 2016

Softbank targeting YEN 1 trillion operating income by FY2016
Softbank targeting YEN 1 trillion operating income by FY2016

Will Softbank overtake NTT-docomo?

NTT-docomo and Softbank could not be more different. While both are public companies, traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, about 21.7% of NTT-docomo’s shares are owned by Japan’s Ministry of Finance via their holding of NTT shares.
On the other hand, Masayoshi Son owns about 21.4% of Softbank shares – almost the same ratio.
One of Softbank’s targets is to achieve YEN 1 Trillion (= approx. US$ 11 Billion) in annual operating income.
Softbank recently acquired US operator SPRINT, and to stimulate cooperation between Japanese employees of Softbank, Softbank is now offering YEN 1 million (US$ 11,000) bonus to those Softbank employees clearing a certain level of English language test.

Japan's mobile subscriptions growth by 11 million/year
Japan’s mobile subscriptions growth by 11 million/year

Smartphones drive a boom in Japan’s mobile communications sector

Smartphones drive a boom in Japan’s mobile communications sector: while growth has been fading over the last 10 years, iPhone and other smart phones accelerate growth. Currently Japan adds about 11 million mobile subscriptions every year: Japan adds about two Finland’s worth of mobile subscribers per year.
Read detailed analysis in our Japan-Telecommunications-Industry Report

Copyright 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Japan's electronics industry Japan's energy sector telecommunications

Japan trends for 2013 (New Year post)

Japan replaced nuclear electricity generation by LNG, by imported gas

Japan trends for 2013: Nuclear reactor restarts are on their way

Japan trends for 2013 Japan’s energy sector: Japan has essentially replaced the 30% of its electricity energy supply which was from nuclear power plants, by electricity produced in aging thermal power plants from urgently arranged LNG purchases at very high prices. Prime Minister Abe said that he wants to restart all nuclear power stations, which receive safety clearance by the new Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), and asks for these safety examinations to be completed within 3 years – however the NRA said, that 3 years is far to short to complete the safety assessment.

Given that any discussion about Japan’s energy mix, and “new” renewable energy (except for water power), liberalization and development of free energy markets were suppressed for many years in Japan, Japan now urgently needs to start innovating many components of the energy landscape including insulation and smart grids, and a new energy mix. PM Abe thinks that it will take about 10 years to settle on a new energy mix for Japan.

Japan trends for 2013: Japan is now waking up to innovation and changes of it’s energy and electricity sector

Japan’s electronics manufacturing sector is about as large as the economy of the Netherlands, but collectively showed no growth and lost money over the last 15 years, and therefore will either fade away, or very urgently needs new business models (see interview on BBC). PM Abe’s push for a lower YEN might soothe the symptoms a bit, but does not solve the fundamental problems. Hitachi’s “smart transformation” are steps in the right direction, but its really too early to tell – also “smart transformation” does not solve Japan’s traditionally low emphasis on software and other non-hard-ware-producing crafts.

Telecoms: Masayoshi Son, master of the midas touch and founder and master mind of SoftBank, acquired what was left of Vodafone-Japan and turned it around successfully within weeks, said reportedly: “I am a man – and want to be Number 1”. Now he aims to apply his midas touch to SPRINT. Expect more acquisitions by Son on the way to Number 1 in global telecoms.

Copyright 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Japan's electronics industry Japan's energy sector telecommunications

Japan trends for 2013 (Christmas, Festive Season blog)

Japan trends for 2013: Energy crisis continues as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Renewables: Japan’s feed in tariffs are among the world’s highest

Japan trends for 2013: Japan’s energy sector: Prime-Minister Abe announced that he will review the Fukushima nuclear accident before taking decisions on nuclear power, essentially postponing the nuclear issue. Japan’s feed-in tariffs for renewable (new) energy sources are among the highest in the world, about three times higher than Germany’s. While renewables (except for water power) were kept below 1% by an “untouchable” rule in the past, expect the rapid built-up of renewable sources in Japan to continue, initially mainly solar energy, and later wind, geo-thermal and other sources to follow. METI is also working on liberalization of Japan’s energy markets – I would not be surprised if the election results lead to a slow-down of liberalization. (read more in our Japan-Energy-Report, outline here on slideshare).

Japan trends for 2013: Japan’s electronics industry needs “smart transformation”

Electronics sector: as we show in a previous newsletter and in our Electronics-Industry report (read outline on slideshare), Japan’s electronic component makers overall are doing much better then Japan’s electronics conglomerates, but all are in dire need of new business models. We expect winners and losers to emerge. We are impressed by Hitachi’s steps towards “smart transformation”. If successful, Hitachi’s “smart transformation” might become a model for other Japanese electronics conglomerates to follow (watch BBC-Interview).

Masayoshi Son, founder of SoftBank: “I am a man- I want to be Number One”

Telecoms: Masayoshi Son, founder of SoftBank, reportedly said: “I am a man- I want to be Number One”, and he acquired US-Telecom operator SPRINT on his way to become global No. 1 in telecoms. While Masayoshi Son was busy negotiating with SPRINT in the US, KDDI reportedly tried to snatch Japan’s No. 4 operator eAccess/eMobile away, so Masayoshi Son also acquired eAccess/eMobile on the side.

More cash revenue for Google-Play Apps in Japan than in all of the mighty USA

Mobile-App statistics provider AppAnnie recently announced that there is more cash revenue for Google-Play Apps in Japan than in all of the mighty USA. So if you are an App-Developer, and if you like to see good cash revenues, you better focus on Japan first and USA second ;) and 7 out of the Top-10 publishers by revenue on Google-Play apps are Korean or Japanese…

Japan has more FTTH subscribers than all of EU + Switzerland + Norway + Iceland

FTTH (optical fibre to the home broadband): Japan has more FTTH subscribers than all of EU + Switzerland + Norway + Iceland. EU is catching up with Japan, but Japan alone today has more FTTH broadband than all the mighty EU countries added up together. (more in our JCOMM-Report on Japan’s telecom sector).

Copyright 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Japan's electronics multinationals Mobile

Apple-Samsung Patent War and Impact on Japans Industries (talk at Foreign Correspondents Club Tokyo on Oct 2, 2012)

PROFESSIONAL LUNCHEON

“Apple-Samsung Patent War and Impact on Japans Industries”
Speaker: Gerhard Fasol
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
12:00-13:30
Foreign Correspondents Club Japan (FCCJ), Yurakucho

Outline: In a global war to dominate the smartphone market, Samsung and Apple have been at each other’s throats, playing out the war in courts around the world and accusing each other of patent violations. A California court recently ruled in favour of Apple and ordered Samsung to pay $1 billion, a figure that could rise dramatically when the case is played out. Samsung has won minor battles in the U.K., Japan and Australia, but with new mobile phone models and tablets being introduced by both firms, the war is only going to get bigger and bloodier. In Japan local manufacturers are being marginalized and even fighting for survival.

Japan-based expert Gerhard Fasol will return to the FCCJ (for “FCCJ: Fasol & Matsumoto, The iPhone And Japan’s Mobile Phone Industry”, report of Fasol’s talk with Softbank Mobile CTO Tetsuzo Matsumoto at the first iPhone landing in Japan) to shed light on the Apple-Samsung dispute and how it impacts the Japan market, Japan operators and Japan manufacturers.

Gerhard Fasol runs Japan’s Eurotechnology K.K. consultancy (www.eurotechnology.com), has advised the president of Germany, JETRO and number of Japanese companies involved in high-tech industries and has authored Japanese patent applications. Fasol, who has written a number of books, graduated with a PhD in Physics from Cambridge University and was a tenured professor at Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory, a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Solid States Sciences in Germany, a manager of one of Hitachi’s R&D labs and was Director of Studies at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Read our report on Japan’s Telecom landscape

Copyright·©2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Categories
mobile payment

Mobile payments: 10 years to reinvent the wheel?

Mobile payments for train travel was demonstrated in Tokyo in 2003, but has not reached London yet

Mobile payments: Tokyo (mobile SUICA) vs. London (OYSTER)

Mobile payments are big: Reuters estimates that the mobile payment market will be about US$ 1000 Billion by 2016, and in Japan just a single railway line achieves already now several US$ billion in mobile payments per year.

Mobile payments in London:

On July 17, 2012 The Wall Street Journal reports, that as far as Transport for London is concerned, there is no viable mobile payment solution at this time:

  • Transport for London sees no way to use mobile payments at ticket barriers at this time, because the technology is not advanced enough
  • London’s state-of the art mobile payment transactions take longer than 500 milli-seconds which is too slow for Transport for London requirements

Mobile payments in Tokyo:

While no viable solution has yet been found in London, in Tokyo millions of people use “mobile SUICA” mobile payments every day at Tokyo’s rail, subway, tram lines and buses:

  • mobile payments at ticket barriers were first demonstrated in Tokyo in 2003 (photo below shows a demonstration at a trade show in Tokyo in 2004)
  • “mobile SUICA” mobile payments were commercially introduced to the public since January 28, 2006
  • payment transactions take 100 milli-seconds or less, which would fulfill Transport for London’s speed requirements
  • in addition mobile SUICA also has a full e-money function, and can be used at 1000s of stores all over Japan for payments, and for 1000s km of high-speed trains all over the main island of Japan, between Hakata and Aomori.

Mobile payments: Why does it take at least ten years to reinvent the mobile payment wheel in London?

Why is it that a problem the solution of which was demonstrated in Tokyo in 2003 and put to commercial use every day since January 28, 2006 without any problems, has not yet been solved in London even today?

The answer to this question is of course complex, and you will find elements of a discussion of this question on pages 185-188 of our mobile payment report (click here for free download which includes pages 185 – 188, pdf-file).

In our opinion the answer for this huge delay even today in the age of globalization and internet is a combination of:

  • human nature and
  • the huge communication gap and disconnect between European organizations and companies and Japanese organizations and companies and
  • the totally different way in which banking systems, payment systems, and also the commercial structure and way of thinking of transportation companies are organized regulated in EU vs Japan.

Mobile payments in Japan vs Apple Pay

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2014/09/16/why-apple-pay-isnt-as-revolutionary-as-it-seems.html

We have been working on mobile payment and e-money issues here in Tokyo for about 10 years or longer, and you may be interested in some of our reports:

Copyright 2012 -2019 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Economics Mobile telecommunications

How to turn Galapagos into a competitive advantage in both directions

Positive and negative aspects of Japan’s Galapagos issues

European Institute of Japanese Studies Academy Seminars presents

  • Speaker: Dr. Gerhard Fasol, President, Eurotechnology Japan K.K.
  • Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 18:30 – 21:00
  • Embassy of Sweden, Alfred Nobel Auditorium
  • Stockholm School of Economics, European Institute of Japanese Studies

About the talk:

In the last 20 years, several global revolutions were created in Japan, including the LED lighting revolution(1), mobile internet(2), electronic money(3). However, in each case Japan failed to capture much of the global value created by these revolutions. Dr. Fasol will talk about what is holding back Japan from capturing more global value from its unique creativity and how Western companies can do better in Japan, and avoid the most well-known traps

About the speaker:

For the last 15 years, Gerhard Fasol has worked with more than 100 investment fund managers in Japan, advising them on technology inflections, initiated and managed business development and assisted M&A projects. Dr. Fasol is currently working with several US and European companies in these areas, helping them onto successful paths in Japan. Dr. Fasol has been an Advisory Board member to the Chairman of JETRO and the only foreigner on Japan’s “Post Galapagos working group”.

Gerhard has an extensive business and academic career, as manager of one of Hitachi’s R&D labs, University Lecturer in Physics at Cambridge University. He also served as Director of Studies at Trinity College Cambridge, Research Scientist at the Max-Planck-Institute for Solid State Science in Stuttgart, and invited Professor at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, was one of the first working on spin-electronics and magnetic memories in Japan, and has won a Sakigake research program from Japan’s Science and Technology Agency while faculty member in Electrical Engineering at the University of Tokyo. Gerhard graduated with a PhD in Solid State physics from Cambridge University and Trinity College, Cambridge, UK.

Gerhard Fasol lecture at Stanford University: “New opportunities vs old mistakes – foreign companies in Japan’s high-tech markets”

Copyright (c) 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Disaster GPS Mobile telecommunications

Disaster communication. Lessons from the Tohoku disaster

Communications save lives during disasters

Disaster communication: keynote at the 7th KCC Korea Communications Conference, Seoul

Communications save lives during disasters, and are essential for survival, for “situational awareness” (= to know what is going on), for decision making, and business continuity. Nobody likes to experience a disaster, but when disaster strikes there is no time, and decisions taken within a split-second can decide about life or death. Preparations need to be taken far in advance.

Victims and responders need “situational awareness” to take the right decisions

Japan’s continuing disasters have put Japan’s very advanced mobile and fixed line communications systems to an extreme test from which other countries can learn. Currently, Japanese operators are learning from the experience and are hardening communications and broadcasting systems. Understanding communications during disasters is essential for business continuity.

While traditional communications broke down due to overload, social networks showed resilience

It has been reported that mobile communications peak demand during the March 11 disaster increased to about 50-60 times normal volume, leading to a break-down or switch-off of mobile voice communications, and to an extended near-break down of mobile email.

Twitter and social networks showed strength and resilience, as did internet based communications. The internet was initially designed in the 1950s to provide communications during nuclear war.

The Korean Communications Commission invited me to talk about “Communications in disasters” at the 7th Korea Communications Conference in Seoul on May 12, 2011.

Copyright·©1997-2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Categories
Japan's electronics industry telecommunications

Post-Galapagos Japan? – globalizing Japan’s fantastic technologies…

Japan Galapagos effect: “Why do Japanese companies make so beautiful mobile phones with fantastic functions, and have almost no global market share?”

I asked this question back in 2003 to NTT-DoCoMo’s CEO Dr. Tachikawa (see my article “Leadership questions of the week” in Wallstreet Journal of June 12, 2006, page 31), and offered several proposals to Dr. Tachikawa, of which he accepted one.

A related question is: “why can Samsung, LG and Apple beat Japan’s initially far more advanced mobile phone makers, and why have Japan’s phone makers taken no effective action to build global business in order to avoid extinction?”

Now six years after my initial presentation to DoCoMo’s CEO, I have been invited as the only non-Japanese to work on Japan’s “Post-Galapagos Committee”. For most of this year our small group of industry CEOs, academics, government officials and other leaders have been working on understanding the reasons for Japan’s “Galapagos effect” and how to overcome it.

Read about this work here in the New York Times, about my (Japanese language) presentation to the committee on the IT-Media website here (in Japanese)

The “Galapagos effect” has not been created by a single factor. Instead a collection of choices by the management teams of Japan’s electrical conglomerates have prevented leverage of their domestic success stories into global success stories. These choices can be overcome. In our “Post-Galapagos committee” we have worked all-year on how to overcome these choices.

Unfortunately the “Galapagos effect” is only one symptom of the crisis of Japan’s electrical giants: most have shown little or no growth in sales over the last 10 years, while at the same time margins tend to be small or negative. Over the same period, General Electric has increased sales by a factor of about three, while at the same time earning healthy margins.

Overcoming this crisis will create many opportunities. If at least some of the conclusions of our “Post Galapagos Committee” can be realized, then our committee’s hard and totally voluntary work during most of this year and many late nights will not be wasted.

For an analysis of Japan’s electrical industry sector see our

Copyright (c) 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Economics Finance Galapagos effect mobile payment

Will cash become obsolete?

Gave presentation to the Telecommunications Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) on October 7, 2009, entitled “Will cash become obsolete? E-money, mobile payments and mobile commerce”.

Talk was attended by about 30-40 executives from major global telecom operators, global banks, new-age payment companies, and from major internet companies.

Outline:

What is money?

  1. Medium of exchange
  2. Unit of account
  3. Store of value
  4. (Standard of deferred payment, unit for debt)

e-Cash value to society:

  • reduced cash handling costs
  • Higher transaction speed
  • Convenience
  • Greater security (especially mobile) vs. reduced privacy

Why should be care? (Summary)

  • Electronic money is here to stay
  • One e-money card/Japanese person
  • 2% of banknotes and coins today
  • YEN 100 billion outstanding
  • YEN 100 billion transactions/month
  • Japan is far in advance, rest-of-world is likely to follow. But can Japan capture the value? maybe not.
  • However: “Galapagos syndrome

More information in our reports:
Mobile payments, e-money and mobile credit in Japan
SUICA and NFC payment for transport
QR codes are also used for payment

Categories
Internet media Mobile TV

Evolution of TV and social TV (Keynotes at BCWW2009 Global Media Forum, Seoul, Korea Sept. 10, 2009)

Two keynotes on “Evolution of TV” and “Social TV” and chaired session at BCWW2009 Global Media Forum, Seoul, Korea, September 10, 2009

Evolution of TV and social TV (Keynotes at BCWW2009 Global Media Forum, Seoul, Korea Sept. 10, 2009)
Evolution of TV and social TV (Keynotes at BCWW2009 Global Media Forum, Seoul, Korea Sept. 10, 2009)

Evolution of TV and social TV (Keynotes at BCWW2009 Global Media Forum, Seoul, Korea Sept. 10, 2009)
Evolution of TV and social TV (Keynotes at BCWW2009 Global Media Forum, Seoul, Korea Sept. 10, 2009)

Evolution of TV and social TV (Keynotes at BCWW2009 Global Media Forum, Seoul, Korea Sept. 10, 2009)
Evolution of TV and social TV (Keynotes at BCWW2009 Global Media Forum, Seoul, Korea Sept. 10, 2009)

Evolution of TV and social TV (Keynotes at BCWW2009 Global Media Forum, Seoul, Korea Sept. 10, 2009)
Evolution of TV and social TV (Keynotes at BCWW2009 Global Media Forum, Seoul, Korea Sept. 10, 2009)

Evolution of TV and social TV (Keynotes at BCWW2009 Global Media Forum, Seoul, Korea Sept. 10, 2009)
Evolution of TV and social TV (Keynotes at BCWW2009 Global Media Forum, Seoul, Korea Sept. 10, 2009)

Categories
QR codes

When did qr-codes start on mobile phones? (in August 2002)

qr-codes were developed by Toyota subsidiary denso-wave

When did qr-codes start on mobile phones: First mobile phone with qr-code reader was the J-SH09 by SHARP for Japanese mobile operator J-Phone

When did qr-codes for mobile phones start in Japan?

Here is the answer: the first mobile phone with qr-code reader was the J-SH09 produced by SHARP for Japan’s J-Phone mobile operator (today’s Softbank) and came on sale in August 2002 – seven years ago.

More details and more than 100 case studies of qr-code applications in our QR-Code report

Copyright (c) 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
mobile payment

M-payments and e-money grow exponentially

1 Billion e-money transactions/month around 2014

Exponential growth: The number of e-cash payments per month increases by a factor of 10 about every 4 years

E-money transactions (including mobile e-cash) grow exponentially in Japan, and we expect to see 1 Billion e-money transactions/month around 2014 (this figure would be much bigger if contactless train travel tickets were included). e-Money now represents about 2% of all cash (banknotes + coins) in circulation in Japan, a recent examination of e-money by the Bank of Japan shows. More below, and a detailed analysis in our mobile payment and e-money report, where we combine the newest data from the Bank of Japan with our own research data.

Exponential growth: The number of e-cash payments per month increases by a factor of 10 about every 4 years

We expect 1 billion e-money transactions per month around 2014. Green curve shows payments with Suica, Pasmo and Edy (not including train travel). The blue curve shows data for all e-money transactions researched by the Bank of Japan.

Total number of e-money transactions in Japan per month
Total number of e-money transactions in Japan per month

Research by the Bank of Japan shows that e-money has reached the level of 2% of all cash in circulation (bank notes and coins).

e-Money as a percentage of total money in Japan
e-Money as a percentage of total money in Japan

To know more – and to find detailed statistical data: read our mobile payment reports

Mobile payments in Japan vs Apple Pay

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2014/09/16/why-apple-pay-isnt-as-revolutionary-as-it-seems.html

Mobile payment Japan, e-money and mobile credit report:

Copyright 2013 -2019 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
mobile payment

10 years e-cash and mobile payments

Mobile phone payments with RFID start in Japan in 2003

i-Mode mobile payments started in Japan in 1999

10 years ago – 1999 – the global mobile payment revolution started in Japan: with i-mode introducing an essentially Japan-only highly successful micropayment system for online content and brick-and-mortar based m-commerce, and SONY’s Edy starting e-cash experiments in Tokyo’s Osaki district. In 2003 SONY’s Felica IC semiconductor chips were combined with mobile phones to introduce the first “wallet phones” (“saifu keitai”). Today the majority of mobile phones in Japan are wallet phones.

For the last 10 years, Japan has been a laboratory for mobile payments and e-cash, conducting a test on 125 million population on which mobile payment and e-cash models work and which don’t. -> We can all learn from Japan’s 10 years of experimentation which mobile payment business models are likely to work, and which might fail!

Edy stands for Euro, Dollar, Yen… expressing the hope for global success – Intel Capital believes in this success and has invested in the company that runs Edy: BitWallet (initially backed by SONY and now acquired by Rakuten).

Which are the most effective e-cash systems?

While SONY has distributed the largest number of cards, in our view the world’s largest (by payment volume) and most effective e-cash and mobile payment system is operated by the world’s largest railway company: SUICA and mobile SUICA.

Edy, SUICA and other e-cash usage in Japan
Edy, SUICA and other e-cash usage in Japan

the world’s most effective railway company in our view also operates the world’s most effective mobile commerce system: The Express Card / EX-IC system.

Although we only have official figures for FY2008, we estimate that in 2009 about US$ 3 billion worth of train tickets are sold via JR-Tokai’s Express card system for a single train line – and much of this by m-commerce via mobile phone. JR-Tokai’s Express card system is an entirely different system than the i-Phone – but an equally friendly and efficient design solution. (For a case study of JR-Tokai’s Express card system download our report).

Mobile payment for Shinkansen high-speed trains in Japan
Mobile payment for Shinkansen high-speed trains in Japan

Mobile payment Japan, e-money and mobile credit report:

Copyright 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved