How should I go about entering the Japanese market?


September 2015

Austrade provides guidance on a range of steps that Australian SMEs looking to export to Japan can take to help make their transition as easy as possible. Some of these include:

Develop strong relationships

  • Developing strong relationships is crucial to potential Japanese partners you may be looking to do business with
  • Committing to a valued partnership is just as important as a legal contract in establishing a successful export relationship

Tap into expert support

  • Austrade, the Australian Government’s trade and investment agency, provides a range of services for Australian companies seeking to grow their business in Japan
  • Austrade provides advice and support to Australian businesses and can also help you identify possible partners for your business through its network of contacts

Build a local network

  • The Australian International Business Survey 2015 found that Australian SMEs are most likely to service their Japan market directly from Australia (61 per cent)
  • This model of going to market ensures you can retain complete control over your export operation, but does mean you may need in-country partners to provide support
  • Establishing a local network of partners can be invaluable when things go wrong and you need people on the ground to help out

Appreciate cultural differences

  • Business etiquette in Japan is important – the Japanese place great importance on respect and social rank
  • For example, seating arrangements are used in formal business meetings – the most important guest sits furthest from the door and the host sits closest to the door
  • Knowing the local social customs will help ensure you start your export relationships off on the right foot in Japan

You’ve got to have a good network of either agents or in-country personnel to support you [if you do not have a presence in the market]. Aaron Begley, Matrix Composites and Engineering, WA-based manufacturer.