Language difficulties preventing export success for Japanese SMEs, says expert

Language difficulties are hampering the efforts of Japanese SMEs to promote themselves overseas, claims a leading commentator on Japanese business affairs. In his weekly newsletter, Terrie Lloyd observes that many Japanese start-ups find it difficult to connect to buyers in the global markets. Lloyd comments: “90% of this equation is a simple lack of English-language confidence, coupled with the historic domination of profitable export business segments by the major trading companies.

Japan and EU flags isolated

“SMEs definitely need help to reach out to the global markets”

The recession has changed the face of international business, especially for Japanese companies that are traditionally heavily reliant on exports. But establishing links with new markets can prove problematic because of unfamiliarity with local business customs and language.

Terrie Lloyd comments, “If a small company with world-class technology or products gets a call from a potential foreign customer, they do in fact get scared and hide under a shell. Usually they will either take ages to come back with a quote, or they go find an aged (retired) consultant to help them with English and export issues. As a result, the potential customer reads the lack of
immediate response as lack of interest, and they go elsewhere.”

EIDO Public Relations was established to help plug that gap and provide an effective interface between Japan and the English-speaking business world. Visit our international services page to find out more or click here to contact us with a specific enquiry.

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