Have you ever thought about doing business in a different country? People often find themselves lost in their own curiosity. And I agree: with the ongoing trend of process digitalization it can be very interesting to start looking at more internationally focused companies, or even clients that are eager to get rid of their old business habits and work towards a more future-proof strategy. A good example is Japan and its current market – a pretty conservative country that is struggling with an abundance of old fashioned businesses that have been stuck in the past for a very long time. Small teams, cluttered desks, and nothing else but paper, old computers and countless hours of overwork.
But isn’t Japan one of the first countries to start working on robotics? And what about all the high-tech stuff you usually see on television? No doubt, this country has an extremely versatile market, ranging from classic bank payment forms to buying daily groceries with your smart phone. Interestingly enough, the total amount of smart phone users in Japan isn’t actually as high as it is in other countries, with just over 50 per cent of the population owning one. So why are so many companies interested in the Japanese market? To exactly see what is going on we have to understand how the economy works, and what these numbers represent.
Despite only having a 50 per cent market value, it is safe to say that this number probably covers over 80 per cent maybe even 90 per cent of its demographic. With the highest average lifespan and an insane amount (almost 30 per cent) of people being 65 years or older, it is suffice to say that the standard smart phone user can be found in a very stable environment. In 2015 you already started seeing an aggressive shift in the game industry, with billions spent on in-game currency or free to play smart phone games. Yes, the console and handheld market is huge, but with a drastic increase in smart phone users and the ease to play games on your way to work, it is not surprising that these companies want to spend a huge part of their annual budget on mobile projects.
To penetrate a market you will need to understand its needs. Ease of use, customer service, consistency: all of these are woven into the daily lives of Japanese people. And with almost no time on their hands, it is definitely not weird to see that mobile payment systems at convenience stores and train stations are already perfectly integrated. Even mobile providers currently have robots outside their store to help customers with questions.. It is all about fluency and stream lined behavior that represent the background and culture of this country. But even with several big implementations like these it is not easy to assume that a lot of companies are willing to invest in mobile solutions. The conservative mind of the old fashioned worker is still part of this country’s lifestyle and may need a kick in the butt to move on. “Don’t change a winning formula”, like many here would say. Or is it fear of change? Or maybe even failure? From my experience it is a mixture of both. The Japanese are often very interested in trying something new, but are – on the other hand – not always that fond of setting aside old habits and outdated work structures. A combination of the two may be the perfect solution, but for that to happen we need to start looking in different corners.