Consumers

Private-label retailing

Swiss retail giant heading to Japan

GENEVA -- Switzerland's top retailer, Migros, will sell private-label foods and cosmetics at Japanese supermarkets in hopes of succeeding where other European retailers have failed. A subsidiary will handle distribution. Migros will offer its war...

  • Growing pains

    Yangon infrastructure lacking

    "It was a year too late to start my own business, but a year too early to be dispatched by my company." Mr. Kondo, 49, edits a community magazine for Japanese nationals living in Yangon. He soon departs Yangon after a six-month term there. Yangon...

  • A different selfie

    Japan cosmetics makers woo Chinese

    TOKYO -- Japanese cosmetics makers are stepping up marketing programs to attract tourists visiting Japan from China. One product line that has proved particularly popular with tourist from across the sea is "self" cosmetics -- makeup bought without c...

  • Luring users from cable

    Sony will offer PlayStation Vue to customers without game console

    TOKYO -- Sony Computer Entertainment will make its PlayStation Vue cloud-based television service available to users without the company's game systems. The change will come by the end of this year, allowing anyone with a tablet to use PlayStatio...

  • Budget travel

    Peach Aviation to offer Haneda-Taipei seats from 7,680 yen

    OSAKA -- Peach Aviation will launch a new route linking Haneda Airport with Taipei on Aug. 8, as it becomes the first Japanese low-cost carrier allowed in the highly convenient airport in central Tokyo. Fares on the route will likely be less than...

  • Going to the aquarium

    Theme park operator USJ has designs on Okinawa

    TOKYO -- Universal Studios Japan operator USJ will build a new theme park at the state-run Ocean Expo Park in Okinawa. Ocean Expo Park is a 77-hectare site that includes the popular Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. It is now managed by the Okinawa Chur...

  • Cruising in style

    Royal Caribbean makes Shanghai home port for advanced ship

    SHANGHAI -- Royal Caribbean Cruises has steered its new state-of-the-art luxury liner the Quantum of the Seas to China, where it will run trips from its home port of Shanghai to destinations in Japan and South Korea. The world's second-largest cr...

  • Taste of Japan

    'Pocky' snacks for foreign visitors to debut at airports

    OSAKA -- International tourists doing their final round of gift shopping at Japanese airports might find the perfect purchase in a series of chocolate-covered pretzel sticks. Or that is what Osaka-based snack maker Ezaki Glico hopes will happen. ...

  • Conquering delivery problems

    Online retailers, new drivers of India's consumer market

    NEW DELHI/MUMBAI -- E-commerce is changing the landscape of retailing in India, as online selling proliferates and competition grows frenetic. Retail sales in India have long been dominated by mom-and-pop stores, with the neighborhood general sto...

  • Investment boom

    Young Chinese fuel stock market fever

    Shanghai is buzzing with stock market talk. From the subway to cafes, everyone seems to talking about stocks. Retail and hospitality staff are even buying and selling shares on their smartphones during their breaks. "That stock has risen today, ...

  • Snapshot of Myanmar

    Life in Yangon for four college students

    I interviewed four young Myanmar men -- all college students in Yangon, aged 19-20. Two are physics majors -- one helps at his parent's phone store and models on the side, while the other is passionate about badminton. The third is a Korean major, wh...

  • Asian consumer survey

    Japanese brands are reliable, not so cool

    SINGAPORE -- To appeal to overseas consumers, Japanese companies need to do more to position their brands as a way to project one's status, outlook or personality, according to a report by J. Walter Thompson. The international advertising agency note...

  • The ultimate multitasker

    Hundreds of apps to make the most of robot's abilities

    TOKYO -- SoftBank's new Pepper humanoid robot will read people's feelings by deciphering facial expressions and words, then respond appropriately with glee or sadness. "This is the first robot that has emotion," President Masayoshi Son said. "It ...

  • Brave new world begins now

    SoftBank ushers in era of personal robot with human touch

    TOKYO -- SoftBank has fired a shot heard 'round the humanoid robot market with the announcement that it will make Pepper commercially available starting Saturday. "We wish to continue developing the global market, even with the robot business," S...

  • Ultra-high definition

    Premium sets push rising LCD television sales in Japan

    TOKYO -- The number of LCD televisions sold in May rose 17.9% on the year, eclipsing the year-earlier figures for the seventh month in a row, according to a report from Tokyo-based survey company BCN. Sales revenue from liquid crystal display TVs...

  • Car-hire boom

    Chauffeur driven vehicles thrive in China

    Commuters in Beijing have to endure severe traffic congestion during the day's two rush hours. Fights over taxis are intensifying and cab-dispatch apps are now virtually useless. But workers readying themselves for the bustle and congestion of gettin...

  • $176,000 speedster

    Honda to launch its most expensive motorbike in mid-July

    TOKYO -- Honda Motor said Thursday it will release its most expensive motorbike yet in mid-July. The 21.9 million yen ($176,000) bike is modeled closely after the Japanese company's RC213V racing machine. Other than a few tweaks to make the bike ...

  • Nikkei Hit product ranking

    Disrupters dominate first-half list

    TOKYO -- Products and services that carved out new niches and paved the way for future growth dominate the Nikkei hit product rankings for the January to June period. Consumers have reined in spending since the April 2014 sales tax hike, but the ...

  • No more cream, please

    Japanese dairies boosting butter output to ease shortage

    TOKYO -- With butter in short supply at the country's supermarkets, a Hokkaido farm co-op umbrella group and dairy companies have decided to increase production this fiscal year while curbing cream output. The Hokuren Federation of Agricultural C...

  • Sucking in the customers

    Raycop to double output capacity for futon vacuums

    TOKYO -- Raycop Group, a consumer electronics manufacturer with South Korean ties, will double annual production capacity for its mainstay futon vacuum cleaners to over 7 million units this summer, selling most of the additional output in Japan. ...