Direct cash costs of failure in Japan can be huge, indirect costs, opportunity costs and strategic losses can be even more serious.
For global brands, for technology ventures and many others Japan is one of the key global markets, e.g. Apple, Google, or Coca-Cola. About 25% of Coca-Cola’s global business is in Japan.
Who can afford losing 25% of global business?
It took IKEA 32 years to enter Japan a second time!
IKEA entered Japan in 1974 via a joint-venture, which failed for IKEA and IKEA withdrew from Japan. It took 32 years for IKEA to enter Japan the second time – this second time successfully and with a totally different strategy, see:
Ikea reenters Japan: IKEA’s first try to enter Japan in 1974 failed for IKEA. Now second try in 2006
Can you afford to wait 32 years when you fail the first time in Japan?
Vodafone’s failure and total withdrawal from Japan in 2006 lead to an asset write-down of £28bn (= approx. US$ 50 billion)
we estimate Vodafone’s lost opportunity cost in Japan to be on the order of US$ 80 billion
Consequential costs, and strategic developments can be even more serious than direct costs of failure in Japan
Vodafone’s failure in Japan and sale of Vodafone-Japan to Softbank laid the key foundation for Softbank’s meteoric rise, including the acquisition by Softbank of chip IP giant ARM, a dominating force for mobile communications and IoT.
- SoftBank acquires ARM Holdings plc: paradigm shift to internet of things (IoT) and a Vodafone angle
- Vodafone Japan fail: Why did Vodafone lose the opportunity of US$ 83 billion value, and help jumpstart the growth of SoftBank
Which company can afford to write-off US$ 50 billion and miss the opportunity of US$ 80 billion growth?
Failure of Japan projects can be very embarrassing:
Mr Suzuki (Chairman of Suzuki Motors), wrote in his Japanese blog, that “ending the partnership with Volkswagen (Wagen-san as he calls VW) was like the relieve I feel after having a fishbone stuck in my throat removed”
- “Mr. Suzuki didn’t want to be a Volkswagen employee, and that’s understandable” (Prof. Dudenhoeffer via Bloomberg)
Failure in Japan can damage global brand value and failure in Japan can damage your career – don’t be a loser
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