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Marketing in Japan



Marketing in Japan | 28 March, 2001

I am doing a research project for school and was hoping somebody could asnwer the following:

How would I market a new product to Japanese electronics manufacturing factories? Do they use catalogues like they have here, similar to Contact East or Techni-Tool? Are sales reps as plentiful as they are here? How does one get listed with a sales rep.?

The reason I am asking these questions is that I have to develop a business plan for a company that wants to export. I appreciate any help in advance.

-Ryan Jennens TelGen Corporation

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Marketing in Japan | 1 April, 2001

I have no first hand knowledge, but the following may help:

JAPAN MARKETING ASSOCIATION Head Office: 3 rd Floor, Wako Bldg., 4-8-5 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106, Japan Tel: +81-3-3403-5101 Fax: +81-3-3403-5106

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Marketing in Japan | 3 April, 2001


It is a must that you try to get a partner in Japan that can help you market your product. Japan is not a very open marketplace. Many of the companies will only deal with other Japanese companies. I used to work at a company that was successful at selling into Japan. I would say the biggest reason for the success was our Rep/Distributor. They had existing relationships that helped us get into the companies that we wanted to get into. There is also the yen to dollar rates that need to be negotiated on almost a constant basis. Your customers will also expect you to bear the burden of the exchange rate. Meaning they will demand that you keep prices the same or discount them when it favors you. It is not easy but if you get in you can get the benefit of a conservative business approach where change is looked on as a bad thing so they will stick with you unless you do something that forces them to change. (Like bad quality, huge price increases or bad delivery.)

Good Luck!

J.D. Talken Panasonic Create

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Marketing in Japan | 4 April, 2001


I agree with J.D, and emphasize that the single biggest issue is "partner". We are extremely succesful with our US manufactured product in the Japan marketplace, but this success is solely due to partnering with a very capable and talented "distributor". Of course, you need a good product too, but that alone won't get you there. One could say there is a "double standard" when comparing our open market to Japan's relatively closed one (you don't see a whole bunch of Ford Taurus's in downtown Tokyo) and the issue of culture does play a big role. Once you establish a good relationship with a Japanese distributor, you must maintain and nurture it, and to do so you will need to remove any preconceptions you have from doing business with US customers and distributors. The issue of respect, honor, and cordial business etiquette become paramount, even if they don't seem to be on the surface, as compared to America's fast paced, fast food, "me" culture.


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