CNBC Asia: Sun 2 Nov, 2014
METRO TV:Sat 8 Nov, 2014
USTREAM: Tue 4 Nov, 2014
NIKKEI CNBC:Sun 2 Nov, 2014
The Japanese government has set a target of attracting 20 million inbound tourists annually. Amid the various initiatives underway, the leisure and tourism industries are also taking aggressive steps to reach out to foreign travelers. One of those companies is Seibu Holdings, which operates the Prince Hotel chain nationwide and offers services targeted at international guests. Group President Takashi Goto explains his strategy.
One cooking pot on the market in Japan is in such high demand that there’s a 15-month waiting list. Called a “waterless cast-iron enameled pot”, it creates soups without the need to add any water and draws out the essence and natural taste of ingredients. We discover the secrets behind this almost magical kitchen tool.
EXECUTIVE INSIGHT *
Seibu Holdings has three core businesses – railways, hotels, and real estate. Leveraging their strengths in each of these areas, they are now setting their sights on travelers from overseas. The company has also been engaged in numerous projects, such expanding services offered by Prince Hotel in Shinagawa-Takanawa, considered the gateway of Tokyo, and constructing a multi-purpose facility on the grounds of the former Akasaka Prince Hotel. President Takashi Goto outlines his vision for the future.
WORLD BUSINESS SATELLITE
Brick-and-mortar retailers are countering the rise of online shopping with new strategies. A major shoe retailer uses a tablet PC to instantly check warehouse inventory when a product is not in stock, and delivers them directly to customers’ homes. One home goods retailer has raised the ratio of relatively inexpensive private-label brands to 40 percent. Meanwhile, another home goods retailer is setting up display spaces for individual manufacturers, collecting a monthly fee to generate additional revenue. We take a look at some of the unique tactics of physical stores.
WORLD BUSINESS SATELLITE
The bicycle industry in Japan is on the move to tap into new demand. At one retailer, an anime character is used in its promotions to target women customers. Meanwhile, an entrepreneurial venture called Cyma, which operates an online bicycle shopping site, has launched a service to deliver fully-built bicycles assembled by safety mechanics direct to customers’ homes, and sales are said to be brisk. We report on what businesses are doing to ride the growing bicycle boom.
Renewing aging sewage pipes without digging up the ground and halting operations may seem a tall order. But one craftsman has come up with a solution. But is it really possible? The answer is nothing short of revolutionary. We unveil the secrets of a Takumi.
One cooking pot on the market in Japan is in such high demand that there’s a 15-month waiting list. It has a surprising feature that allows soups and stews to be made without any water. The secret is the airtight construction between the pot itself and the lid. The craftsmen who worked on this product succeeded in reducing the unevenness of the surface to less than a hundredth of a millimeter. The catalyst was the declining fortunes of a workshop run by the Takumi’s father. What was the motivation for creating this now internationally-acclaimed pot? We uncover the exceptional techniques behind this seemingly simple product and the story of its development.
Dawn of GAIA *
Under Abenomics, the Japanese government has put priority on increasing “medical exports”, and medical technologies and equipment are being seen as a potentially huge advantage for Japan in the international market. Amid this, major corporations as well as small workshops are starting to expand globally on the back of innovative technologies and products. For example, “ultra-small scissors” developed by a former cancer patient to surgically remove tumors, and artificial respirators gentle on the lungs of an infant invented by a company president born in Vietnam but living in Japan. We report on the efforts of small workshops that are hoping to save people in Japan and around the world.
* Available only on CNBC Asia.