Consumers

Slam dunk

Internet giant Tencent to stream American basketball games in China

GUANGZHOU, China -- Internet services company Tencent Holdings has signed an exclusive agreement with the National Basketball Association to stream U.S. professional basketball games here. Tencent did not disclose the cost of the deal, announced ...

  • Base fare of 24 cents

    Uber launches even cheaper options in Jakarta

    JAKARTA -- U.S.-based Uber Technologies on Friday launched another on-demand car-ride service here. The uberX service offers one of the cheapest car transportation rates in the Indonesian capital. The service allows passengers to hail drivers thr...

  • Strategic reset

    Lawson to shed 100-yen stores, abandon small supermarkets

    TOKYO -- Lawson will scale back its network of 100-yen (84 cents) convenience stores by over 20% and withdraw from the minisupermarket business to focus more on chains enjoying brisk sales. The Japanese company plans to close about 260 of the rou...

  • Aeon in Southeast Asia

    'Go-it-alone' Japanese retailer shifts to local alliances

    TOKYO -- Japanese retail giant Aeon will form capital and business alliances with two major supermarket operators in Vietnam in a bid to expand its business in the country and better cope with increasing competition in Southeast Asia. In the 30 y...

  • Japanese theme park

    Huis Ten Bosch to open 'smart hotel' with low rates -- and robots

    NAGASAKI -- "Welcome to the future" might well be the greeting at a planned hotel at Huis Ten Bosch, where robots will greet guests, clean up and even serve coffee. The operator of the Dutch-inspired theme park in Nagasaki Prefecture is not intro...

  • Japan tourism

    Companies partner with businesses across Asia to attract visitors

    TOKYO -- A growing number of Japanese companies are joining forces with local businesses in other parts of Asia in moves to cash in on the increased number of foreign visitors to Japan. Retailers, travel agencies and companies in other industrie...

  • Your 'horigotatsu' is waiting

    Usen's new restaurant website caters to foreign foodies in Japan

    TOKYO -- A new website promises to make it easier for international visitors to sample Japan's culinary delights. Usen, the nation's top-ranked cable music broadcaster, in February will launch Savor Japan, an English-language restaurant search po...

  • Saizeriya's surprise

    China key to restaurant chain's unexpected profit jump

    TOKYO -- Shares in Japanese restaurant operator Saizeriya are at their highest level in seven years and two months, briefly hitting 2,019 yen on Tuesday, their highest since last year. Saizeriya was once called a "winner of deflation" but is now ...

  • Luxury market

    Burberry's new strategy in Japan

    TOKYO -- Burberry Group will reverse course in Japan and start expanding its network of directly operated stores in an effort to add luster to its brand image, a company official told The Nikkei on Wednesday. A licensing contract with apparel co...

  • Modern health care

    PC hospitals start in China as real ones are packed with patients

    GUANGZHOU, China -- In the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, big hospitals in the central part of the city are packed with outpatients during the day. By contrast, small clinics in residential areas are almost empty. People shun these smaller place...

  • Yoku Moku's cigar-shaped treats

    Japanese cookie maker trying to catch on with foreign tourists

    TOKYO -- Yoku Moku, a Tokyo-based cookie maker, has begun selling tins of its cigar-shaped treats designed especially for foreign visitors to Japan. The step comes as Yoku Moku has been expanding in the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia over the ...

  • Online shopping agents

    Chinese 'daigou' purchases grow

    SHANGHAI -- Chinese consumption of brand-name products via "daigou" agents is thought to have reached 55 billion to 75 billion yuan ($8.85 billion to $12 billion) in 2014, according to figures released Tuesday by U.S. management consulting firm Bain ...

  • 'Wealth effect' in Japan

    Consumption sluggish overall, but the rich are splashing out

    TOKYO -- While overall consumer spending remains weak in Japan, wealthy people have started splurging on art, jewelry and waterfront condos, among other baubles, as higher stock prices have them feeling flush. Nationwide department store sales in...

  • India's growing online services

    Consumers continue taking to the Internet for bargains and guides

    MUMBAI -- Online services continue to diversify in India. Consumers can now do things that range from shopping to restaurant and travel reservations, and it is all being driven by increased smartphone usage. Demand for access to services through ...

  • Audiophile's delight

    Sony to launch high-end Walkman in Japan next month

    TOKYO -- Sony will roll out the top-of-the-line offering in its Walkman portable audio player series Feb. 14. Pricing will be open. But the product is expected to retail for around 120,000 yen ($1,000) -- the most ever for a Walkman. Sony announc...

  • Phablet wars

    Xiaomi's new device presents challenge to Samsung, Apple

    BEIJING -- Having already grown rapidly to become a smartphone manufacturer vying for third place behind Samsung and Apple, Xiaomi now has thrown down the gauntlet in the market for bigger-screen smartphones known as phablets with a low-priced entry ...

  • Opening new OS front

    Samsung brings Tizen to smartphone for India

    SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics has begun Indian marketing of a smartphone that runs Tizen, an operating system positioned as an alternative to Android. The Samsung Z is the first smartphone to run Tizen, which enables devices to operate with lower-...

  • Seven-Eleven Japan does doughnuts

    Convenience store's move likely to help, not hurt, Mister Donut

    TOKYO -- Seven-Eleven Japan will make a foray into new territory this year. The convenience store operator plans to start selling doughnuts through its chain of about 17,000 outlets in 2015, with a goal of selling 600 million doughnuts in the year th...

  • A pall over malls

    New shopping centers dwindle further in Japan

    TOKYO -- The number of new shopping centers opening in Japan continues to decline on lofty construction costs, market saturation and weak consumer spending. Just 55 new centers with at least 1,500 sq. meters of store floor space and 10 or more te...

  • Foreign visitors to Japan

    Weaker yen, easier duty-free rules spark shopping spree

    TOKYO -- Foreign tourists in Japan are snapping up made-in-Japan products and other merchandise in bulk at stores here. The surge of overseas shoppers in Japan is partly due to the weaker yen and relaxation of tax rules last October when even inexpen...