Nivedit Majumdar Nivedit Majumdar

Land of the Rising Sun: Exploring the Japanese Tech Landscape

(Cover Image Artwork by G. Patrick Colvin)

Japan has always been at the helm of technological advancements. With stellar performance and products in sectors such as home electronics, consumer electronics as well as the automotive sector, Japan has proven to the world the prowess that it possesses.

Lately, the scene has been abuzz with the Chinese contribution to the world tech scenario, with Xiaomi being responsible for a large chunk, which we’ve spoken about in our article on Xiaomi. In this article, I’ll be throwing light on the true blue samurai of the world of technology, and will be discussing about the Japanese Technology Landscape.

OVERVIEW OF THINGS

Japan has established itself as a world leader in quite a few departments. Be it in the field of imaging – where Canon and Nikon are world renowned, or the automotive sector, where Toyota is the most valuable in terms of brand value (it stands at number one, followed by Mercedes Benz and BMW in the second and third positions respectively. Source: Statista) , or Sony – which leads the fray when it comes to home entertainment systems: Japan is really making heads turn in all sectors.

I’ll be going over the sectors individually, and will be discussing about the relevant Japanese corps too.

HOME ELECTRONICS

Talk about consumer electronic devices, and one name which will feature on everybody’s list is Sony. The Japanese corporation has made quite a name for itself, with its range of LCD Televisions, smartphones and digital cameras. It is also one of the industry leaders when it comes to gaming systems – PS3 and PS4 in particular.

Here’s a graph depicting the segment wise distribution of the worldwide sales of Sony, from 2012 to 2014.

emberify_sony_segment_wise_sales_2012_2014
(Data Source: Statista)

Take a look at the overall sales, and you’ll find that it has been growing. There’s been a massive growth in the number of smartphones sold, and the most responsible factor has been the Xperia line of smartphones from Sony.

E-COMMERCE

The e-commerce sector is extremely vital for the growth of technology in general, and I’ve already spoken about some of the key e-commerce trends in my article on the e-commerce sector. In Japan, the leader in this arena is Rakuten, an organisation established in the field of B2B2C commerce.

Here are some key statistics regarding Rakuten.

emberify_rakuten_ichiba_sales_q1_2013_q1_2015
(Data Source: Statista)

As indicated from the sales figures, Rakuten’s numbers have been consistently high. Although these numbers fade in comparison with the market leaders Amazon, eBay and the AliBaba group, Rakuten’s numbers are big enough by their own right.

emberify_rakuten_group_domestic_ecommerce_volume_q1_2010_2015_billion_yen
(Data Source: Statista)

Overall, the e-commerce scenario in Japan is booming because of Rakuten. It will be interesting to see how things turn out in this sector in Japan in the future!

INSTANT MESSENGERS

This is a topic that I have spoken about extensively in my article on Instant Messengers in 2015. The Instant Messenger platform that stands out in Japan, and in the world level, has been Line.

The Line messenger service has been greeted with a fair amount of interest globally, and the numbers simply prove this point.

emberify_line_number_of_monthly_active_users_worldwide_april_2015
(Data Source: Statista)

 

The number of active monthly users has been evidently on a rise, and the figures from April 2015 indicate a total of 205 million monthly users.

emberify_number_of_line_registered_users_dec11_oct14_millions
(Data Source: Statista)

Now, going over the total number of registered users, back in October 2014 there were a total of 560 million Line users worldwide. Again, these numbers aren’t close to those of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, but they are big enough nonetheless.

emberify_line_corporations_app_revenue_q4_2012_to_q1_2015_billion_yen
(Data Source: Statista)

But the true potential of Line as a service can be realised from the app revenue over the quarters. The trendline has been on a steady rise, and the figures from the first quarter of 2015 indicate their revenue standing at 25.4 billion yen.

TO CONCLUDE

A valid statistic to conclude with would be the global position of Japanese corps.

Here’s a list of the top 30 Japanese companies globally, based on their valuations.

emberify_brand_value_of_30_most_valuable_global_japanese_brands_2015_million_usd
(Data Source: Statista)

Like I’ve mentioned before, Toyota leads the fray in this regard as well, with cars available (and popular) in almost all countries out there.

While most of the companies in the list are automotive companies, the presence of electronic corporations is also very evident. Overall, the technology scenario in Japan is blooming (much like their cherry blossoms!), and the future looks bright for technology in Japan!

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