“The Embassy arranged the presentation of a Brompton by David Cameron to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in 2012 – and that triggered a huge interest in our bicycles.”
Makoto Nakane, President and CEO of Mizutani Bicycle Co., Ltd.
Every bike that is constructed by Brompton Bicycle Ltd. is marked out by its unique design and quality, both of which help to make the West London company’s products popular around the world.
And when one adds in the “Made in Britain” factor, the Japanese importer of what has become a road icon knows he is onto a winner.
“I would say that the average Japanese buyer of a Brompton today is someone in their 40s, who is not put off by the relatively high price, and we have a lot of female customers who are attracted by the fashionable styling of the bikes,” said Makoto Nakane, president and CEO of Mizutani Bicycle Co., Ltd.
“Those have been the people we have targeted since we became the distributor for Brompton in Japan in 2003, although in recent years we are expanding our target market and aiming to attract younger cyclists,” he said.
In the initial stages of the alliance, Mizutani Bicycle sold around 100 bikes a year. Today, the company is selling more than 4,500 bikes and has ambitions to steadily increase that figure, possibly through the opening of a Brompton store in Tokyo.
“We are sure that we can sell more, but we do not want to suddenly leap to selling 10,000 a year,” said Nakane. “Stable growth is what we are aiming to achieve.”
The UK company’s name is being raised through events such as the Brompton Japan Championship, held in May, while both firms in the partnership have leaned heavily on the team of UK Trade & Investment advisors at the British Embassy in Tokyo.
“We put on a Brompton Show at the Embassy and were able to invite around 50 managers of bicycle shops, who really enjoyed the special mood of the embassy,” said Nakane.
“The Embassy also arranged the presentation of a Brompton by David Cameron to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in 2012 – and that triggered a huge interest in our bicycles,” he added.
“Japanese people love the British royal family and we have tried to impress on our customers the sense that a Brompton is made in Britain, it is a traditional British bicycle and is a unique and ‘gentle’ design,” he said.
“The Embassy and the British Chamber of Commerce have both been really helpful and supportive in getting our message across.”
Contact out Consumer Goods team for more information, advice for your business and to understand the latest opportunities for UK companies in Japan.
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