Markets, Strategies, and Rivalries
New Horizons in International Business series
Edited by Jens Gammelgaard and Christoph Dörrenbächer
Chapter 9: Leadership and preparedness to internationalize in the brewing industry: the case of Asahi Breweries of Japan
Japanese exports after World War II mainly consisted of industrial and durable goods such as ships, steel, electronics, precision equipment, machinery and automobiles. However, following the acute appreciation in the yen after the Plaza Accord in 1985, Japanese firms sought internationalization for two principal reasons: (1) to increase local production to counter the effects of the strengthening yen, and (2) to tap directly into growing foreign markets. In addition, changing demographics suggested dampening of market growth in Japan. Furthermore, deregulation encouraged overseas competitors to enter Japan and gain market share. At the same time, opportunities in Asia were blooming. After the region overcame the Asian financial crises in the late 1990s, Japanese companies were in an ideal position to make their presence felt. They were close geographically and had a long history of doing business in the region. Increasingly, interest in Japanese food, as a part of a growing appreciation of Japanese culture, was also on the rise. Consumer goods companies – including food and beverage makers – started to internationalize in the mid 1990s, although they lagged well behind industrial and durable goods manufacturers.
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