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The Japanese market holds enormous potential for US companies who have developed innovative technologies. Japan is not only a market in itself, but also a bridge to the larger Asian market. Traditionally, US companies that have developed into Asian markets, from Apple to Google, have begun by entering the Japanese market.

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The largest Asian market, China, poses formidable difficulties for American companies looking to expand to Asia. Small companies can jeopardize their IP by entering the Chinese market too early; even large companies find they must compete with Chinese versions of American technologies. Japan has an established, reliable market that respects American and European laws regarding IP. The Japanese market remains the best point of entry for American companies looking to develop an Asian presence.

Many US companies have entered the Japanese market, but many fail, and many fail to grow their Japanese business to its potential. Communication protocol is no longer the problem; rather, American companies in Japan have difficulty understanding the Japanese distribution systems/value chain and decision-making process. We can help you navigate those differences so that you can efficiently launch your business.

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Japanese customers always put their trust in established companies. For this reason, in Japan, the distribution system relies on established business networks. Thus, if you want to sell something, you need to use an existing value chain. It’s possible to bypass large companies and make arrangements with small to mid-sized ones. However, in Japan, because consumers prefer large companies, the business climate resists changes in the structure of the value chain.

To succeed in Japan, you must identify the best value chain for your business. Based on that, you need to establish the right strategic direction before you enter the Japanese market. Selecting the right strategic partner is crucial to success.
We are experienced in identifying appropriate value chains, selecting strategic partners, and establishing strategic direction.

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Japanese companies make decisions by consensus: one decision reflects the accumulation of many small decisions by other members of the company. In Japan, even if the top manager likes a business deal, he needs to establish consensus with his staff and with the company’s associated divisions. This lengthy, complicated process makes it very difficult for outsiders to track the status of the decision. Often, American businesses get lost in that process, fail to apply pressure to the right people, and give up, losing valuable time and opportunities.

To succeed with Japanese companies, you need to identify the key decision-makers. You must understand their functions in the company and their own specific decision-making process so that you can give them the appropriate information for making their decisions. Then, you must follow through at critical moments with the right people.

We have 30 years of experience working with Japanese companies. That experience enables us to identify key decision-makers, map their responsibilities and functions, and work with all of them simultaneously.


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