How to export to Japan?

What is the market potential in Japan for Quebec companies? What differentiates the Japanese market and how do you approach it? Answers from experts and participants of our trade mission to Japan. The mission was headed by the Mayor of Montréal and took place from June 1 to 8, 2018, in collaboration with the City.

4 tips for making your export project a success

Luci Tremblay, Quebec Delegate General in Tokyo, and Erandi Motte Cortés, Director, Market and Entrepreneurship Development at the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, share key tips for entering the Japanese market, Quebec’s second largest trade partner in Asia.

Luci Tremblay believes it’s important to differentiate the Japanese market from the rest of Asia. Businesspeople in Japan are extremely demanding. They are looking for very high-quality, ideally niche products. She advises companies that want to enter the Japanese market to gain experience exporting to Europe or the United States first. You need to be ready when you head to Japan, with a prototype or product samples. Erandi Motte Cortés agrees. She says companies should translate any relevant documentation (such as business cards) into Japanese. You also need a trustworthy local partner. Finally, it is essential to understand the country’s business culture. “Work is much more formal and there are a lot of protocols there. You need to respect the hierarchy. Keep in mind that signs of respect are very important,” added Ms. Motte Cortés.

Mnubo: from project to reality

“Confidence is the key to entering a market like Japan,” said Frédéric Bastien, President and CEO of Montréal firm Mnubo, which chose Tokyo as the place for its first foreign office. This confidence comes from a strong presence with local partners and clients which shows that the exporter is committed to their market.

Many companies have seized this opportunity. Why haven’t you?

What have the companies who took part in this unique trade mission learned?

A strong appreciation for their products, say three business leaders: “After demonstrating our product, we were asked to leave the device… We knew then and there that we had something that could fit into the Japanese market,” said Alexandre Santos, President of Santor Security. “I sold all my samples and that makes me confident there is a local demand for our products,” explained Tony Gaudette, head of Maison Milan. “We are going to do business in Japan after seeing the potential there,” concluded Jacques Charron, President and CEO of K2 Geospatial.

Contact us today to find out more about the Japanese market

See highlights from the trade mission in Japan
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