Thursday July 5, 2012
Japan goods fair to showcase SMEs
By EUGENE MAHALINGAM
KUALA LUMPUR: The Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) hopes to attract Malaysian wholesalers with a good distribution network at its “Good Goods Japan” fair later this month.
Jetro managing director Joji Ikeshita said the fair was aimed at supporting Japanese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) producing lifestyle goods that were looking to fast track their presence into Malaysia.
“We expect 40 Japanese companies displaying over 300 goods at the fair,” he told reporters at a luncheon.
Of the 40 companies, 30 would be selling their products on the spot. The event would be held from July 23 to 29 at Pavilion KL. Among the companies would be those from the Tohoku and Ibaraki areas that were hit by the Japan earthquake last year.
“They will exhibit goods for daily use, backed by traditional Japanese craftmanship,” said Joji, adding that the fair would serve as a great networking time for Malaysian companies looking to connect with Japanese organisations.
“The event will also serve to strengthen ties with Malaysian companies. Japanese companies are renowned for their product designs and technology.”
Jetro is a Japanese government-related organisation that promotes trade and investment. Senior director Katsushi Takehiro said the prices of the products at the fair ranged from around RM20 to over RM1,000.
He was, however, non committal on the total sales expected to be generated at the fair.
“The event is only for a week so it would be a limited amount.”
Asked about the challenges facing Japanese SMEs keen to enter the Malaysian market, Katsushi said: “Many of these companies are exporting for the first time and we need to educate them from scratch on this process.”
“We also need to help them find the right pricing for their products,” he added.
Katsushi also said that some Japanese companies were deterred by the perception that Malaysia was purely a Muslim market.
Joji meanwhile said he was optimistic about Malaysia's potential to build ties with Japanese organisations.
“Malaysia has good spending power and as the disposable income in the country increases, consumers here will also become more acceptable of Japanese products.”
Katsushi said many Japanese organisations coming into Malaysia comprised those from the services sector.
“They see Malaysia as an attractive investment market,” he said.
He added that Korean products were starting to gain traction in Malaysia and was having an impact on the sales of Japanese companies here.
“Japan needs to find new ways to market its products,” said Katsushi.