Consumers

Pioneer to release limited Hello Kitty audio systems to mark 40th birthday

TOKYO -- Japanese electronics maker Pioneer will release a CD stereo system and a wireless speaker system featuring Hello Kitty on Nov. 1 to commemorate the 40th birthday of the popular character. Both systems also have Bluetooth connectivity for...

  • Alibaba goes all in on travel

    BEIJING -- Alibaba Group rebranded its online travel business Tuesday, seeking a larger presence beyond retail on the Web. China's biggest e-commerce company launched Alitrip, which lets users choose from 10,000 Chinese and foreign travel agencie...

  • Theme parks stretch hours to lure more winter visitors

    TOKYO -- Amusement parks across Japan are extending their opening hours and putting on after-dusk events in a bid to get visitors to stay longer and spend more during the slow winter season. Sanrio Puroland, an indoor theme park in western Tokyo ...

  • Brand renaissance in China could prove crucial for Sony

    SHANGHAI/TOKYO -- In the global war for consumers, a battered Sony needs a winning strategy for emerging markets, and this could hinge on bolstering its brand in China. The company's steps toward this end provide the backdrop to the three-day Son...

  • Fujifilm going all in on hipster instant camera

    TOKYO -- Fujifilm has what may be a global hit on its hands in the form of the Instax mini, a tiny camera that takes instant photos, so the company is adding as much as 30% more production capacity to ride the wave. The Instax mini, known as the ...

  • Hyundai's operating profit down 18% for July-September

    SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor's operating profit fell 18% on the year to 1.65 trillion won ($1.56 billion) for the three months ended Sept. 30, declining for a second straight quarter. Although automobile sales rose 2% to 1.18 million vehicles, the stro...

  • Vietnam's beer tax grab stirs up brouhaha

    Vietnam is seeing a heated debate over raising the tax on beer, a move proponents say the country will need as a key source of revenue dries up. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is readying to form an economic union at the end of next y...

  • Budget carrier Hong Kong Express cruising ahead one year on

    HONG KONG -- Hong Kong Express, the city's only low-cost carrier, has had a surge in passengers since its rebirth as a budget airline a year ago. The company is adding flights to another Japanese airport to take advantage of the growing demand fo...

  • Japanese food companies gather in Singapore

    SINGAPORE -- Japanese food companies, from rice producers to confectionery makers to restaurants to processing machine manufacturers, gathered in Singapore to sell their products to the Southeast Asian market. They participated last week in two s...

  • Meiji trying to hit Asia's sweet spots

    TOKYO -- As Japanese confectionery maker Meiji increases its presence in the rest of Asia, it is experimenting with different sizes, pricing and marketing strategies in its attempts to find the sweet spot in each market. This spring, some 4,000 S...

  • Lotte beer taking South Korean market by storm

    SEOUL -- Lotte Chilsung Beverage has quickly carved out a niche in the beer market here through a 100% malt product with a rich taste and creamy foam, unlike the flat offerings of rivals Oriental Brewery and Hite-Jinro. Lotte sold 27 million cans...

  • Totoro, Ultraman goods maker to expand further in Asia

    TOKYO -- Benelic, known for its merchandise based on movie and TV characters, will launch Hong Kong and Taiwanese company stores next year. The Tokyo-based company will also move a portion of its production process from China to the Philippines a...

  • Sony, peers eager to capture demand for high-resolution audio

    TOKYO -- Japanese electronics makers are scrambling to capture demand for high-resolution audio systems from sound-savvy consumers. Sony showed off its Walkman A series, a new line of portable audio systems, at an expo held here Friday. The serie...

  • Consumers open their wallets for holidays but trim daily costs

    TOKYO -- Despite the consumption tax increase in April, Japanese people are still spending on fun, particularly luxury cruises. In August, the Diamond Princess, a large cruise ship, left the Port of Yokohama, carrying 2,500 passengers. Tickets f...

  • Foreign tourists changing Japan's retail landscape

    TOKYO -- More foreign tourists are coming to Japan, and going shopping. And this surge in foreign cash is changing the face of the nation's retail industry. Foreign tourists spent 487.4 billion yen ($4.5 billion) in the three months through June,...

  • Japanese coffee wholesaler bets big on bitter, rich roasts in Thailand

    BANGKOK -- Coffee drinking in Thailand is dominated by cafe chains like Starbucks and local food stalls. But one Japanese coffee and food trading house is trying to break into this competitive coffee market with the blunt catchphrase: "Tasty coffee e...

  • Skin whitening products continue to grow in popularity in India

    NEW DELHI -- Skin whitening products are continuing to grow in popularity in India -- for women as well as men -- where skin tone can often influence major life events, including marriage and the job hunt. According to the U.S. research company N...

  • China's fast-food joints are going into delivery mode

    BEIJING -- Restaurants, especially those of the fast-food variety, are stepping up delivery services here, hoping to tap latent demand from hungry consumers who just don't want to bother picking up their own snacks. In China's capital, even simpl...

  • Sanrio to open Hello Kitty amusement park in Indonesia

    TOKYO -- Japanese character goods company Sanrio plans to open an amusement park featuring its Hello Kitty and other popular characters in Indonesia in December. Sanrio will license the use of its characters to a local company, which will develop...

  • Foreign hoteliers go big in wooing wealthy Chinese -- in China

    DALIAN, China -- Hotel architects are letting their imaginations run wild in China, as the once impossible is becoming very real, if owners are willing to pay for it. And with young, rich Chinese looking for new lodging adventures, there is now a Eur...