Consumers

Going upscale

China's Midea taking appliances to Japan, Southeast Asia

TOKYO -- Midea, one of China's leading manufacturers of household appliances, is accelerating its push into foreign markets and may even set up a development base in Japan this year. By releasing high-value-added white goods under its own Midea b...

  • Girding for competition

    Osaka Gas to bundle gas, power

    OSAKA -- Osaka Gas plans to sell gas and electricity in packages starting next April, making an attractive product available when Japan's retail power market is fully deregulated, President Takehiro Honjo told The Nikkei. "We will make preparatio...

  • Marketing offensive

    UK's Dyson chooses Tokyo for first store

    TOKYO -- Dyson, the British company known for its futuristic vacuums and fans, will make Tokyo the home of its only directly run store in the world, opening the outlet Friday as part of a campaign to bolster its already-strong presence in the Japanes...

  • Food trends in Japan

    US sweets companies gaga for green tea

    TOKYO -- As tea harvest time approaches, U.S. sellers of treats in Japan are introducing seasonal products infused with matcha powdered green tea. Garrett Popcorn Shops, a Chicago-based snack retailer, will offer Matcha Carmel Crisp popcorn start...

  • Buffing their brands

    China's appliance makers take aim at Japan

    TOKYO -- Chinese home appliance makers are changing their tactics to court Japanese consumers. Generally known for inexpensive, low-end products, they are attempting to polish their brands and move upmarket. For their Japanese rivals, this means ...

  • Personal care products

    Japan goods makers target overseas visitors

    TOKYO -- Japanese companies are scurrying to take full advantage of a dramatic increase in tourism to the country. A record number of foreign visitors set foot on Japanese shores last year, and they are expected to keep coming in droves. In respo...

  • Dawn of wearables era?

    Apple Watch draws flood of preorders

    SILICON VALLEY -- Apple began taking preorders for the Apple Watch around the world Friday, with customers told they would have to wait at least two months for some models. The American company apparently aims to sell more than 20 million units a...

  • Early adopters

    Apple's Asian fans call smartwatch 'pricey,' order it anyway

    TOKYO -- Some lined up at 4:30 a.m. Some took the day off from work. Some wore masks, perhaps because they did not want their employers to catch a glimpse of them playing hooky. Apple fans in Asia came out Friday morning to try on and reserve the com...

  • Beer sales

    China drinking down in 2014

    DALIAN, China -- According to the latest statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the nation drank less beer in 2014 than the previous year -- the first year-on-year decline since such statistics became available in 1998. Accor...

  • Foreign competitor

    US company Spark Energy to sell power in Japan

    TOKYO -- American power provider Spark Energy is poised to enter the Japanese market when the nation's retail electricity market fully opens up next April. The Nasdaq-listed company is partnering with Japan's eRex, whose shareholders include Hita...

  • Rise of budget carriers

    Peach Aviation gets coveted Haneda Airport slots

    TOKYO -- Peach Aviation will become the first Japanese budget carrier to operate international flights out of Haneda Airport when its Tokyo-Taipei service starts in August. Peach looks to fly out of Haneda to Taipei seven times a week between 5 a...

  • Defending turf

    Mister Donut betting on novel treats to please snackers

    OSAKA -- Mister Donut operator Duskin announced another new pastry offering Monday as part of its bid to leverage unique, fresh-baked goods to deal with the rising threat from convenience stores. The Brooklyn Merry-Go-Round, which uses both cooki...

  • Retooled for Europe

    Toyota to offer turbocharged Auris

    NAGOYA -- Toyota Motor will release an upgraded Auris in Europe as early as June, offering a newly developed turbo engine. The partially redesigned Auris, which comes with a 1.2-liter direct-injection turbo engine and some exterior changes, went ...

  • Home field disadvantage

    Chinese cars shunned by image-conscious local consumers

    BEIJING/SHANGHAI/GUANGZHOU -- China has become the world's biggest auto market, but domestic brands face major hurdles in attracting local consumers more interested in foreign vehicles for quality and brand image. All leading automakers in China ...

  • Born in the USA

    Honda hopes to get mojo working with all-American Civic

    NEW YORK -- Honda Motor used the New York International Auto Show to unveil the new model Civic, revealing a car that was completely designed and developed in the U.S. and which will also be manufactured in America. This is the first complete mak...

  • Providing a taste

    Japanese businesses work to build fan base in China

    DALIAN, China -- Japanese companies are opening facilities and holding events in China to let local consumers try out their products and services, hoping the experience will lead to trips to Japan. Their interest in China has gone into overdrive ...

  • Borrowed design

    Toyota revs up youth-oriented Scion brand with Mazda's help

    NEW YORK -- Toyota Motor is adjusting its strategy in the U.S. market in a bid to shed its practical-but-boring image among young consumers, using competitor Mazda as its trump card to revive the flagging Scion brand. "We're really excited to be ...

  • Bank Mandiri, OCBC

    Over 700 million in Asia already bank digitally

    SINGAPORE -- According to a new report from McKinsey & Company, smartphones and high speed Internet access are transforming banking habits in Asia where over 700 million people already regularly conduct transactions online. "Consumers of financia...

  • Sales tax hike aftermath

    A year on, Japan retailers see mixed results

    TOKYO -- One year after Japan's government slapped a higher levy on consumption, the fortunes of the country's retailers have diverged. Store locations and pricing are two key factors separating the winners and losers. The consumption tax was rai...

  • Breaking new ground

    Kao, Lion develop products exclusively for Seven & i retailers

    TOKYO -- Japan's leading makers of personal care products, Kao and Lion, will each release new offerings sold only at retail stores run by Seven & i Holdings. Kao will sell a jointly developed fabric softener at Seven-Eleven convenience stores an...