Consumers

Going hyperlocal in Japan

SoftBank embarking on deep-tourism venture

TOKYO -- Japan's SoftBank Group is launching a travel business that will work with municipalities, sports venues and other players across the nation to offer distinctively local tours. The new venture, Tabirism, is the telecommunications group's ...

  • Online shopping takes hold

    Harbin's unique arcades left out in cold

    The temperature in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang, China's northernmost province, can drop to below minus 20 C in winter. The city of 10.6 million sits closer to the Russian border than any other large Chinese burg. Perhaps, then, it is no surpr...

  • Competing with Netflix

    Amazon to bring video streaming service to Japan

    TOKYO -- Streaming-media giant Netflix's planned September entry into the Japanese market has spurred rivals to step up, with Amazon.com set to bring its streaming service for paying members into Japan as well. Amazon's Prime Instant Video servic...

  • Building branded offerings

    Itochu to sell Orobianco bags in Japan

    TOKYO -- Itochu will market and sell Italian bag maker Orobianco's products here, strengthening its portfolio of well-known apparel brands. Along with the general trader holding distribution rights to Orobianco's products in Japan, the two compan...

  • Marketing to Chinese tourists

    New Sharp air purifiers play up 'made in Japan' cred

    OSAKA -- Sharp is putting out appliances aimed at cashing in on the cachet that Japanese-made goods have with Chinese tourists. The first batch, air purifiers, go on sale Friday at sales-tax-free specialty stores for foreign visitors as well as ...

  • Targeting couples at wedding halls

    Yamada Denki plans 3-D printing of custom figurines

    TOKYO -- Yamada Denki will sell custom human figurines made using 3-D printers as it tries to familiarize consumers with the technology and create demand. The Japanese electronics retailer will target couples and others visiting wedding halls, ph...

  • Partnering with SoftBank

    Netflix to wrangle Japanese customers with low fees

    TOKYO -- Netflix plans to crack the Japanese market with low monthly fees when it debuts Sept. 2 as competition heats up in the online video industry here. The U.S.-based digital video streaming company will offer monthly service at 650 yen ($5.3...

  • Going local

    As North America takes to ramen, Japanese companies get cooking

    TOKYO -- A quiet North American boom in authentic ramen has food makers back in Japan salivating over the prospect of a bigger market for the noodle dish. A U.S. joint venture between Ajinomoto, best known for MSG and other seasonings, and instan...

  • Digitizing style

    Japanese department store turns to high-tech fashion advice for shoppers

    TOKYO -- Japan's Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings plans to bring its fashion business into the digital age, introducing technology in its department stores to let shoppers digitally try on clothing and receive style suggestions from artificial intelligence...

  • Counterfeit fashions

    Indians step on to the 'copy catwalk'

    MUMBAI -- Fashionable Western brands are popular in India. So are their counterfeits. Young Indians who cannot afford proper products simply buy cheaper copies on the black market. Although counterfeiting is not welcomed by brands, it is helping ...

  • Play time

    Escape games have something for everyone -- even companies

    In an area of Taipai thick with office buildings, nestled between Minsheng East Road and Fuxing North Road, something unusual was going on in one particular building: A group of young people were trapped in a dim, cell-like room, restlessly checking ...

  • A financial boost

    Kyushu Electric to forgo rate hike after nuclear restart

    FUKUOKA -- The restart of one of Kyushu Electric Power's nuclear reactors will halt the deterioration of the Japanese utility's balance sheet for the time being, allowing it to avoid hiking electricity rates again. "We've stopped right on the bri...

  • Beyond Manila

    Global retailers making their way to Philippines' smaller cities

    MANILA -- Time goes slowly on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Unlike Manila, there are no skyscrapers, even in Davao, its largest city. Against this sleepy backdrop, the sprawling SM Lanang Premier shopping center is more than a littl...

  • Driving in style

    Japan's Yanase to rent out Mercedes cars under tie-up

    TOKYO -- Imported car dealer Yanase is launching a luxury vehicle rental business in partnership with Nippon Rent-A-Car. From August to October, Yanase will offer 10 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans at nine Nippon Rent-A-Car locations in Sapporo and ...

  • Consumer conundrum

    When cheap doesn't sell -- even to the poor

    NEW DELHI -- There's affordable, and then there's cheap. One is a selling point, the other an image problem, and makers in India are learning the hard way how important that distinction is. Although 60% of India's population of 1.2 billion still ...

  • Video

    It's high-end fast food at Myanmar's 1st KFC

    Nikkei Asian Review's Gwen Robinson visits the first American fast food outlet to open in rapidly changing Myanmar -- a KFC in Yangon -- where despite the comparatively higher prices, business is brisk.

  • Competing on speed

    Mitsui to offer Japanese goods through Chinese Web giant

    TOKYO -- Mitsui & Co. will soon begin selling Japanese-made products in China in partnership with Web portal operator NetEase, slashing delivery times and keeping out counterfeits as the Japanese trading house fights for a share of the growth market....

  • NetEase alliance

    Mitsui taps customers of China's No. 3 online retailer

    TOKYO -- Mitsui & Co.'s Chinese e-commerce partnership will leverage portal operator NetEase's user base of 800 million as the companies compete against a host of players moving to offer Japanese goods online. Chinese demand for Japanese goods is...

  • Restaurants in China

    Chain operator adapts by serving up variety

    SHANGHAI -- Xintiandi is one of Shanghai's most popular tourist attractions. The old warehouse district has been renovated and now hosts an array of restaurants and bars catering to domestic and international customers. One of the newer eateries...

  • Enhancing capital efficiency

    Hitachi to tap Shanghai free trade zone's simpler fund transfer rules

    TOKYO -- Hitachi will better manage yuan-denominated surplus funds by taking advantage of deregulation introduced by the Chinese government last year. Under the measure applying to companies operating in Shanghai's pilot free trade zone, the Toky...