Representation in Japan Massappeal
Company Representation in Japan
Very often, small or mid-sized non-Japanese companies have a small part of their sales in Japan, without having sufficient or any representation in the country. In many cases, such businesses run through agents or distributors without the principal seller having much insight into the contents of the business. I can work on the local Japanese market to enhance insights, optimize businesses and thus increase profitability.
Communication with Japanese companies is difficult. Language barriers are there, and the conceptual understanding of many matters is often different. Face to face meetings, with a lot of non-verbal communication, are still very important in the Japanese business culture. On top of that, the Japanese language has many expressions of which the meaning is immediately understood by the native Japanese, but which are difficult to translate because the conceptual thinking is different. Therefore, many companies find that the communication and relationship building is not going smooth and takes a lot of effort. I can intermediate in such cases, improving the business relationships and the business itself.
Merger and Acquisition
For strategic reasons, companies might consider teaming up with a Japanese company. It could be since Japan is an attractive market, or for gaining access to the specification departments in global end markets like automotive or electronics. Identifying a potential partner is not such a big problem; for specific products or businesses, there are usually only a handful of Japanese companies active. However, getting aligned on the strategic goal and reaching an agreement in full detail with such a (potential) partner is a very tedious process which can easily take 2-4 years and considerable manpower from an organization, which is already heavily loaded with its running business. I have personally been involved in setting up, running and dismantling Joint Ventures with Japanese companies, as well as acquiring business from and selling business to Japanese companies and from that experience can support a merger or acquisition process. Value assessment is of a running or future business is part of this.
For this specifically Joint Ventures of a foreign and a Japanese company are considered. Discussions between the parent companies can be very complicated, slow, cumbersome and sometimes downright frustrating. I have seen the value of having somebody on the Board who can see both sides, enhance communication and create mutual understanding. I can play such a role.