There are reasons for Swedish companies to re-evaluate their approach to Japan. The world’s 3rd largest economy is still highly interesting with a large consumer market and advanced manufacturing industry. Still, we observe a tendency among many Swedish companies to fall into somewhat of a passive “status quo” mentality in Japan. The Japanese market has never been (and still isn’t) an easy market for foreign companies to penetrate, but it can be very rewarding as long as you dedicate enough attention to its management. And there are signs that the market is becoming more accessible.
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions for success on the Japanese market, but having the right local organization in place and making regular visits are key success factors. Re-evaluating the rationale for establishing a wholly-owned subsidiary, expanding sales through inorganic growth or collaborating with Japanese partners are potentially interesting options to consider as the Japanese business landscape is undergoing change. This paper aims to briefly describe the changing landscape and offer some strategic alternatives regarding modes of establishment and partnerships during different phases of market development in Japan.
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