Asia’s second-largest economy is facing a number of challenges, from an aging population to Brexit uncertainty. But despite the headwinds, there are some business trends worth watching in Japan. Read on for five business trends to look out for from experts like Kavan Choksi Japan!
- The rise of the automaker
In recent years, Japanese automakers have been on a roll. Toyota Motor Corp., for example, has become the world’s largest automaker, selling more than 10 million vehicles in 2017. And it’s not just the big names; smaller Japanese startups are also getting in on the action. One such company is Tokyo-based Levinson, which is planning to launch a luxury electric car later this year. With plans to eventually sell its cars in China and the United States, Levinson is one to watch.
- A new e-commerce player
Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. is making a push into Southeast Asia with the launch of its Rakuten Belanja Online platform in Indonesia. The move comes as Rakuten looks to expand its reach beyond its home market, where it faces stiff competition from the likes of Amazon and Alibaba. Given Indonesia’s large population and growing middle class, Rakuten is poised to take advantage of the country’s burgeoning e-commerce market.
- A focus on fintech
Japan has been slow to embrace financial technology, but that’s starting to change as more companies turn their attention to fintech innovation. One such company is Tokyo-based FPT Corp., which offers a range of fintech services, including mobile payments and digital banking. With Japan’s population aging and increasingly reliant on mobile devices, FPT is well positioned to capitalize on the country’s shift toward fintech.
- The rise of robotics
Robotics is another area where Japan is starting to make inroads. Japanese companies have long been leaders in the development of industrial robots, and now they’re turning their attention to consumer-facing applications. One company that’s at the forefront of this trend is Tokyo-based SoftBank Group, which owns Boston Dynamics, the maker of the popular SpotMini robot. SoftBank is also investing heavily in artificial intelligence, and its robotics division is working on everything from humanoid robots to agricultural machines.
- A new generation of entrepreneurs
In recent years, Japan has seen the rise of a new generation of entrepreneurs. These so-called “digital natives” are using technology to create businesses in a wide range of industries, from fashion to food. One such entrepreneur is Yusuke Tanaka, the founder of the Tokyo-based menswear brand Mr. Gentleman. Launched in 2016, Mr. Gentleman sells its wares exclusively online and has been lauded for its stylish and affordable designs. With a growing roster of young entrepreneurs like Tanaka, Japan is poised for continued business innovation in the years to come.
Despite the challenges it faces, Japan remains an attractive market for businesses due to its large population and strong economy. And while some industries are struggling, others are thriving. Automakers, e-commerce players, and fintech firms are all worth watching in Japan as they look to capitalize on growing trends in the country.