by Carlo Longino

Foreign Phones Fall Flat In Japan

from the culture-shock dept

Vodafone has long held that its expansion around the world offers it a number of benefits over its smaller rivals, not the least of which is global sourcing. It made a big deal last fall when it announced the launch of its European 3G services, showing off half a dozen handsets it would sell both on its networks there, but also in Japan, including three models from Nokia and Motorola. The company hoped these attractive Western brands would help it win customers, but while their handsets may have been cutting-edge back home, they were decidedly down-market in Japan. When 2-megapixel cameraphones where the market standard there, one of the Motorolas featured a .3-megapixel camera, and apart from underwhelming features, the user interfaces hadn't been adapted to the Japanese market, either. Accordingly, foreign handsets were far outsold by those from Japanese vendors that cost 70 to 80 percent more and providing yet another example of foreign companies failing to adapt to local markets. In one case, Nokia wants local consumers to adapt to it -- instead of changing the icons it uses in the rest of the world for it's call and end buttons to something more familiar for Japanese users, it expects them to just get used to it. Plenty of companies have made following mature mobile markets like Japan and South Korea part of their business model. But they've got to realize competing in those markets means they've got to reverse their strategy by being on the cutting edge and adapting their products to the foreign market.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    dorpus, 26 Jul 2005 @ 1:40pm

    Overadaptation can backfire too

    Some Western companies make funny versions of their products adjusted for (what they perceive as) local tastes, and that can insult consumers too. The REAL way to sell things is to advertise the hell out of it with celebrities, getting politicians to endorse it. Then the countries will pass laws requiring every citizen to buy it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Spunkster21, 27 Jul 2005 @ 9:10am

      Re: Overadaptation can backfire too

      This is a problem with many companies operating outside the country they originate. I bought a chasis for a new PC about 6 months ago from a Taiwanese manufacturer and the box had rediculous slogans like

      "Built for loyality"

      Which means nothing and is completely stupid to a UK consumer.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer
Anonymous number for texting and calling from Hushed. $25 lifetime membership, use code TECHDIRT25
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.