Japan: a market of luxuries
By Jean-François Ridel
We know Japan as being THE country at the cutting edge of technology, but the reality does not seem to be so eloquent to me. In fact, America, Europe and the rest of Asia all have technology that is comparable to what can be found in Japan. Japan is without contest a great creator of technology, but above all it is, according to me, the great master integrator of technology. Take the case of televisions. The concept is evidently Japanese, but the more complicated and crucial pieces are of American or European design and made in China before being assembled in Japan or in a Japanese factory in China. Now that China, India and even Turkey are capable of designing appliances that are just as sophisticated as Japan’s, with access to the same technology, what is left for Japan? I think it is the Japanese consumer market that is the distinguishing factor. The Japanese are very fond of products that typify novelties, fashion, quality, harmony and effectiveness. Image being crucial, a Japanese person would not get his cell phone out to read or write emails in the metro unless it were the most up-to-date model, which explains the infatuation with brand names. Thanks to this market that is not too big or too small but so demanding, Japanese companies are capable of manufacturing products that can meet very high expectations. This market also offers good opportunities for Quebec products and technology, assuming that they will be marketed by competent local partners.