Japan entry and turn-round

(C) Gerhard Fasol

Japan market entry

Japan’s recent paradigm shift creates new investment and market entry opportunities:

following a period of 30 years of GDP saturation – no economic growth, Japan is still the third or fourth largest economy globally. Recently a number of factors multiply to bring Japan to center of global attention for investment:

  • geopolitics favors Japan: investment flows from China to Japan & India
  • many large investments flow to Japan: both financial and industrial
    • financial: Warren Buffet created attention with his investments into Japan’s trading companies, large global VC investment funds long ignored Japan, and now slowly started to invest in Japan
    • industrial:
      • Google invests US$ 700 million in data centers in Japan,
      • AWS/Amazon to invest US$ 15 billion in data infrastructure in Japan,
      • Amazon invested US$ 8 billion in 2022 in distribution/fulfillment/logistics infrastructure in Japan
      • Oracle will invest US$ 8 billion over the next 10 years
      • TSMC invests US$ 20 billion in two semiconductor factories in Kyushu (West-Japan)

Recent changes and continuing opening of Japan’s economy causes not only giants like Google and Amazon to invest in Japan, ventures and small and medium sized companies also enter, expand and invest in Japan.

Our track record: entry into Japan’s environmental technology markets for one of Europe’s largest industrial groups

With a team of Japanese and European PhDs, MBAs we deliver an understanding of all required areas of Japan’s environmental technology sectors, and we develop strategy proposals for entering these sectors.
Markets included many areas, renewable energy, recycling, soil pollution, radiation protection, waste collection and disposal management, land fill management, electricity co-generation, lean production.

In addition, we profiled a list of Japanese electronics corporations regarding their environmental strategies and impact, and part of our customer’s competitive analysis.

We support a French pharmaceutical group in acquiring a Japanese pharmaceutical factory

We deliver the environmental and regulatory due diligence report on the Japanese pharmaceutical factory, we find approximately ten different potential problem areas, and estimate the associated risks and potential costs, enabling our customer, the French company’s CEO, to negotiate a fair acquisition price, based on a thorough environmental due diligence assessment.

We selected and partnered with Japan’s leading environmental technology engineering company, and supervised the project management, and assisted our customer’s CEO with negotiation meetings with the the seller of the factory.

The acquisition was successfully completed and the factory is now under new ownership by our customer

Our customer: European manufacturer of high-precision components for Japan’s mobile phone base station market, and other telecommunications applications

Our customer needed an accurate and detailed mapping of Japan’s mobile phone base station market, in order to sell components for mobile phone base stations and other telecom network applications in Japan.

We delivered a detailed quantitative and qualitative mapping of Japan’s mobile phone base station market, segmented by manufacturer, technology, type of base station, mobile operator, installation history, and future projections.

Breaking through to growth after 30 years in Japan

One of Europe’s most famous multi-nationals has been developing business in Japan for 30 years, however has not yet achieved the breakthrough to grow to their potential in Japan. We estimate that this company’s business potential is around US$ 1 billion, while current business is around US$ 50 million – an opportunity to grow business in Japan 20 times is waiting!

We created an understanding of the most important factors holding back this particular company, and created proposals how to break through this company’s “glass ceiling” in Japan. We worked throughout this project with the Japan-CEO, and prepared a workshop for this company’s top 35 global executives, including CEO, CTO, CFO to discuss our findings and recommendations.

Market entry to Japan for high-precision electronic components manufacturer

The company had for several years exported from Germany to Japan without direct presence in Japan, and had run into a number of difficulties. In the first phase we prepared a two day structured workshop at company’s German headquarters with CEO and core staff to discuss the current situation, options for business development in Japan, and the requirements of Japanese customers.

In the second phase we prepared due-diligence of the company’s actual situation in Japan, which turned out to be quite different than the company’s perception. We assisted decision making on the incorporation of a Japan subsidiary, and assisted with restoring the business relationship with Japan’s most important electronic component distributor, who had broken off the relationship, and we worked on developing growth strategies and market research, as well as operational advice.

Market entry to Japan for a silicon valley marketing automation company

We prepared market entry to Japan for a leading Silicon Valley marketing automation company. We prepared qualitative and quantitative understanding of Japan’s marketing automation market landscape, Japan’s Software as a Service (SaaS) market and trends, we prepared success stories of comparable companies, in particular we prepared a detailed understanding of how salesforce.com built its business in Japan and lessons to learn, and we made detailed recommendations on how to build the business in Japan, which our customer followed.

In particular, we answered the question “is Japan ready for SaaS cloud solutions” and created market entry scenarios as alternatives.

Turn-round: “third restart” in Japan for a Silicon Valley based SaaS business process company (market cap US$ 15 billion)

This Bay Area B2B SaaS company (NASDAQ listed, market cap around US$ 15 billion) asked us for help for the “third restart” in Japan. The company had started in Japan about 10 years earlier, was not growing as fast as hoped and asked us to create a new “go-to-market plan”, and strategy for their “third restart” in Japan.

We determined the company’s competitive positions, market shares, true market positioning, recommended focus on priority verticals, talked with Japanese customers to understand Japanese customer’s pain points with the company’s products, found several problems of the company’s products which needed fixing, recommended an acquisition to address missing functionality needed by Japanese customers. We created a go-to-market plan focussed on priority verticals, and addressed issues with the management structure for Japan, holding back growth in Japan.