With our first project we presented GON and products of several Japanese companies at BIOFACH 2014 in Nuremberg. We had many visitors at our booth in the Japan Pavilion and afterwards inquiries from companies in several countries who are interested in the Japanese market and the supporting services offered by GON.
This positive response has encouraged us to develop and start a new project focusing on Japan. The Japanese market has a great potential for many imported goods – including natural and organic products, food and beverages, cosmetics and other non-food products..
However, it is also well known that marketing new and imported products in Japan can be difficult, time-consuming and costly. GON can facilitate and shorten this process with various services as explained in other sections.
Most services use the Internet as communication tool complemented by networking and direct communication with potential business partners. This is not only cost-efficient but also saves time and expenses for trips to Japan.
Nevertheless, GON cannot and does not intend to replace the participation in trade fairs
which are an important marketing tool. Exhibitors can present their products, make contacts with potential customers, gather information about the market and competition and widen their network. With good preparation and attractive products the exhibitors can expect good results and in many cases also business transactions on site.
In Western and some other countries most trade fairs are B2B. These events are business orientated, many buyers are looking for products and often place orders on site. The admission of the general public is restricted. Some trade fairs – mainly for consumer goods – declare the last day as “public day” open for all visitors.
In Japan and most other Asian countries the majority of trade fairs is still B2C and all visitors are welcome. Depending on the size and content of the events a large number of end-consumers are among the visitors, and for foreign exhibitors it is often difficult to distinguish them from business visitors. Furthermore, most business visitors are not real buyers who can make decisions and place orders in site. They come to gather information, collect brochures and samples and exchange business cards. This builds a basis for follow-up activities and negotiations after the event, and eventually also leads to results. Japanese companies are used to this process, but for foreign exhibitors (without an office or representative in Japan) it can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive.
In recent years there is a growing trend among trade fairs in many Asian countries from B2C towards B2B orientated events or a mixture of both. In some countries, among them China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Thailand, this brings already good results and actual business is conducted on site. Most trade fairs in the Middle East, measured by the results, are already B2B. This trend has also reached Japan. Several major organizers have declared their trade fairs as B2B and are trying by various means (such as expensive or difficult to get admission tickets) to limit the access of the general public. However, it will take some time and efforts by organizers, exhibitors and business visitors before Japanese trade fairs can meet the criteria of B2B events.
In spite of the above limitations, high costs and other obstacles it still makes sense for foreign exhibitors to participate in Japanese trade fairs. However, they must make more and different preparations than for a trade fair in their own or other Western countries. Furthermore, they need local support before, during and after the event to achieve satisfactory results.
Based on many years of practical experience with trade fairs in Japan/Asia and Germany/Europe
we have developed and can now offer several GON support packages for participation in some major Japanese trade fairs. The size and contents of the selected events are suitable for the products range covered by GON. The three selected exhibitions are B2B orientated and provide a good basis for a successful matchmaking program.