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An Effective Approach for A Global Tech to Enter and Scale Business in Japan (1)

During the period from April 2016 to March 2018, when I was Head of New Business Development at Rakuten Marketing Japan, I supported expansions of overseas technology into the Japanese market for the first time.

“A partner’s teammates are like my company’s teammates.”
“A partner’s products are like my company’s products.”
“A partner’s business is like my company’s business.”

These were what I had kept teaching to my teammates back then by actually telling them so and embodying these by myself. As a result, I could gain very valuable experiences through 6 different partnerships with global tech firms at Rakuten. In April 2018, I established SOPHOLA. then I could further deepen the experience of such service/business development using global technology by working with a total of 17 different foreign tech companies with the same beliefs.

In today’s blog, I will start writing about an effective way for such a global tech firm to enter the Japanese market and scale its business here, based on my own experience. Now I have a question for everyone of you:)

Question: “What options do you think that the global tech companies usually have when expanding their business into Japan?”

By the way, I often see the following three options.
Option 1) Try to expand first with your own human resources
Option 2) Appoint a famous person who has great reputation, achievement, and connection in Japan as a country manager/director.
Option 3) Try to sell to a known ad agency/advertiser someone at the tech company had met at an event etc.

Of course, each option is not something like “always succeed” or “always fail”. It may or may not work. In my next blog, I’d like to analyze the common consequences of these options and elaborate what approach I’m taking. Please stay tuned!

Founder and CEO
Masaki Iino
PS: With my family, I went to a shrine famous for wonderful meetings. Let us do our best to find and build trustworthy relationships:)