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Business trends

Made-in Japan cake exports satisfy Southeast Asia's sweet tooth

Faced with declining fortunes at home, Chateraise finds growth abroad

A Chateraise shop in Singapore is packed with customers on a weekend afternoon. (Photo by Takao Hara)

A weekend afternoon at Chateraise, a pastry shop located in a Singapore shopping center, brings the usual stream of customers. "Which cake do you want? The new ones look delicious, too." People stare at the glass display case, trying to decide which treat looks best.

Chateraise is a Japanese confectionery chain with 495 locations in its home market. Faced with a shrinking population and domestic market, it has spent the past several years expanding rapidly in Southeast Asia. "In Japan, our shops sell only five or so whole cakes a day, but in Singapore, we sell 10 of them," said Shutaro Watanabe, who is in charge of the company's overseas marketing.

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