Partnerships / Don’t Go at It Alone When Launching In Japan

Our last post [link previous post] focused on how to build trust with candidates, and acquire the most attractive hires. This next tip illustrates how doing the same with the local community by partnering with respected companies is equally important in establishing a presence within the Japanese market.


During an interview with Globalization Partners, HCCR’s Executive Director Casey Abel offered four pieces of advice that are sure to be the key to your resounding success in Japan. Here is the second piece in our series “Winning in Japan”! Stay tuned for the rest.

Another [link to previous post] common mistake many international businesses make is navigating Japan’s complex and rich market alone. 


“Many companies often try to ‘go at it alone’ here [in Japan] and develop direct sales channels as opposed to partnering with local players with existing relationships in the market,” said Abel. 


While this might lead to success for some, companies must understand and cater to Japan’s preference for honing lasting relationships with clients. 


“More often than not, having a local partner who can help you open doors can be a much faster path to market development, especially given the relationship-based orientation of doing business here,” continued Abel. 


Companies have a better chance at success by partnering with domestic players who can help increase brand and product awareness. Take Uber, for example. Despite having a presence in Japan, Uber only successfully entered Tokyo after six years by partnering with local taxi operators. 


Working with local players is key for both established and emerging companies. 


“Partnering is a better path, especially for earlier stage companies that don’t have the organizational or financial firepower behind them yet,” explained Abel. “You can’t tip-toe into Japan and expect success in this market. I’ve seen too many companies come and go like that.”


International firms can also sponsor events, such as technology conferences featuring local leadership personnel as speakers to promote brand awareness.


“Ultimately though, securing a solid ‘anchor’ client recognized by other companies is often the single best way to validate your offering and develop your brand here,” said Abel. 


In Japan, most well established companies have had strong ties to the community for generations, and as such have secured trusting relationships with their consumers. On the other hand, it is a common instinct to be wary of new players in the industry, as companies deeply invested in the market shoulder the risk of losing business (to the rising / rookie competitors).


Therefore for companies entering the Japanese market, the most effective and efficient way to earn the confidence of Japanese businesses is to enter partnerships with respected companies. After cultivating relationships with them, your company will have been better prepared to venture into projects on its own.


Our series “Winning in Japan”, we bring you 4 insider tips that every international company should know before entering the market. Next week’s article  will be on “The Language Barrier in Japan / Don’t Fixate on English Skills”.


View the complete “Winning in Japan” article here [link] to get ahead of the game.

Building a global team in Japan 


Hiring international talent can be a complicated process that involves an understanding of different languages, cultures, and regulations. 


As a management consulting firm with talent acquisition, talent marketing, organizational strategy, and digital transformation capabilities, HCCR can pave the road to your success by solving the most critical talent issues and achieving immediate impact. 


Our team understands that people are the core drivers of value creation within any organization. HCCR’s diverse team combines deep technical expertise, industry experience and the operational know-how to tackle your most critical talent needs.