Follow mission delegate Damon Hill on his week-long market visit to Japan led by UK Trade & Investment North West and East of England in early 2014.
This market visit, marking Damon Hill’s first trip to Japan, was led by UKTI North West and East of England. Barney & Taylor, a luxury leather goods manufacturer based in Manchester, wanted to evaluate their chances of success in the Japanese market. “Market research is pivotal for growing any business in Japan,” he declared.
“Prospective partners really liked the story behind our brand. The family history, the heritage, and the length of time we have been in business really appealed to our Japanese contacts,” he said.
Hill praised UKTI and the British Embassy in Japan for their excellent support in providing informative presentations and good networking opportunities, including the introductory briefing at the start of the visit, and a midweek evening networking reception hosted by the British Ambassador to Japan, Tim Hitchens.
““It has been really useful to speak to other people who are already dealing with Japanese companies. The meetings with distributors are our first footstep into Japan – the hard work begins after that. We are going to have to take a long-term approach to it. Establishing relationships and long-term partnerships is going to be slow initially, but once they have been nurtured and have matured, it’s going to be good,” he added.
The Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) provided by UKTI was crucial in initiating a point of first contact between his company and potential partners in Japan. “OMIS is great for offering people up and establishing contacts, but then it’s up to the company to work on finding the right partners,” he commented. “About 40% of leads have turned into appointments.”
After having a rewarding experience in Japan, he is eager to return as often as he needs to in order to find the right partner and make a calculated decision to make gains in the market.
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