New Opportunities in Slowing Down Economies

April 09, 2014

2014-04-09 – CKGSB successfully held its 5th annual China-Japan CEO Roundtable in Tokyo on April 9th, 2014. This year’s roundtable focused on the keyword “growth”. After witnessing several years of supercharged growth, China has seen its gradual deceleration in 2013. At the same time, Japan has struggled with jumpstarting its stagnant economy in recent years. While both countries have passed a number of reforms aimed at bolstering growth to attractive and sustainable levels, it is clear that for individual businesses, opportunities lie in fast-growing markets and sectors. How should companies position themselves, both strategically and geographically, to most effectively leverage such pockets of opportunity?  

CKGSB successfully holds 2014 China-Japan CEO Roundtable in Tokyo

April 9th, 2014 – The 2014 China-Japan CEO Roundtable was successfully hosted by CKGSB in Tokyo, Japan. In its 5th year, this roundtable aimed to bridge an understanding and cooperation between the business industries in China and Japan. Together with 23 prominent Chinese and Japanese business leaders and academic thought leaders, over 200 participants openly shared their experiences and exchanged ideas on ‘New Markets’ and ‘New Sectors’, with the goal of identifying mutual challenges and learning from one another.

While the Chinese economy is experiencing slower GDP growth rates (from over 10% to 7% annually), Japan is still under immense pressure of an ‘aging’ population. Under these circumstances, how do Japanese and Chinese companies find new ways to grow, and how should they open into new markets? This roundtable focused particularly on these issues, which led to a series of dynamic and interesting discussions.

Exploring New Markets and Sectors

Uichiro Niwa, a former Japanese Ambassador, made a very important and clear message that the current situation between China and Japan is “cold in politics and warm in business”. He mentioned that it takes a long time for the two governments to amend and improve their relationship – as such, a good business relationship should play a critical role in facilitating such partnership. Speakers also discussed how to explore new markets that will be drivers of future business growth and proposed various plans: starting new businesses (such as physical distribution, convenience stores, department stores, agricultural machinery, cosmetics) in inland areas of China, where we see rapid economic growth; making use of the latest IT and challenging burgeoning industries, exemplified by utilizing online media advertisements, introducing WLAN in airplanes, expanding LCC air lines, animation and drug manufacturing; and starting new businesses focused on the aging society (such as nursing home and products related to nursing care for the elderly).


Professor Ken Kusunoki of Hitotsubashi University explained that when companies are developing, it is extremely important to quickly grasp opportunities; however, during economic maturity, the key becomes how companies build their own unique value to the market. Thus, he claimed that their economic model must be changed from profiting through investments to opening new fields through self-discovery.

Exploring New Methods of Development

During the discussion on “exploring new markets”, speakers agreed that Japan and China should share technology and experiences, and cooperate in exploring new markets. Under the rapid change of the Chinese economy from depending foreign trades to expanding domestic demands, speakers exchanged ideas on concrete strategies to establish the win-win relationship in the enormous Chinese market. Speakers believed that talent and IT are keys to business success. Talent is fundamental for companies to build their own unique value in the local markets, and at the same time, companies cannot succeed without brilliant IT engineers.

In addition, it is also important to choose the right local business partner and build mutual trust. Chinese speakers questioned why popular Japanese consumer electronics manufacturers failed in the Chinese market – Japanese speakers responded that these companies did not regard local business partners as important elements of their overseas expansion, a mistake that they ultimately recognized. Regarding IT, speakers believed that simply sharing knowledge is insufficient, and that companies should work to increase efficiency of business administration and cut costs by expanding internet networks.

Through this broad exchange and deep discussion, both Chinese and Japanese speakers reached a consensus on important topics such as how to explore new markets, and set new strategies that focused on areas such as talent, IT and innovation. 


Chinese Speakers

Moderator:Teng Binsheng, Associate Professor of Strategic Management,Associate Dean of CKGSB European Campus, CKGSB

Luan Xiuju, Chairman & CEO, COFCO Coca-Cola Beverages Limited/Zhang Weixiang, Chairman, Zhejiang Jianlong Holdings Group Co., Ltd./Fang Yuyou, General manager, Proya Cosmetics Co., Ltd/Guo Man, Chairman & CEO, AirMedia Group Inc./Ju Nianfeng, Chairman & CEO, Porton Fine Chemicals Ltd./Lin Feng, President, Cifi Group Co., Ltd./Liu Yaohui, President, Shaanxi Baojiang Petro-chemical Enterprise Group/Luo Jinsong, Board Chairman, Warmsun Lu Feng Investment Holdings/Luo Shaoying, Executive Director, Chong Qing Doyen (Holdings) Co., Ltd./Zhong Xiaoqiu, Founder, Uyoung Culture & Media Co., Ltd./Zhou Li, Assistant Dean, CKGSB

Japanese Speakers

Moderator:Waichi Sekiguchi, Editorial Writer, Nikkei Inc.

Uichiro Niwa, Former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the People΄s Republic of China/Shinya Katanozaka, Senior Executive Vice President, ANA HOLDINGS INC./Kentaro Ohyama, President, IRIS OHYAMA INC./Ken Kusunoki, Professor, Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy, Hitotsubashi University/Kazuo USHIDA, Representative Director, Senior Executive Vice President, NIKON CORPORATION/Jiro Nakamura, Executive Vice President, NIPPON EXPRESS CO., LTD./Takashi Nishibayashi, VP, General Manager, China Division, NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD. President, Nissan (China) Investment Co., Ltd./Hiromasa Yamazaki, Chairman, AEJ & Wealth Management, Asia Senior Managing Director, Nomura Holdings, Inc./Shinjiro Sawada, Managing Officer & Executive Chief Representative in China, MITSUI & CO., LTD./Kazushi Hashimoto, Senior Vice President (Member of the Board & Member of the Executive Committee), Toray Industries, Inc./Takashi Kashihara, President, C.E.O., UCHIDA YOKO Co., Ltd.

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