Can Japanese electronics companies leave China alive?

Have heard such a paragraph: Japanese companies divide the global market into three, the best products are sold to the United States, second-rate products sold to Europe, and basically meet the standards of use, all dumped to China. This is of course a joke, but reflects the contempt and disdain of Japanese companies for the Chinese market, and the act of abandoning the market will eventually be abandoned by the market.

Japanese companies left Sony's home appliances, Sony, Matsushita, Sharp, Hitachi, and Toshiba. These famous "Made in Japan" giants have been repeatedly subjected to "cold flows" in the recent past. They are mismanaged and have poor performance. Sharp suffered a huge loss once in a century, and Matsushita’s loss also hit a new high in Japan. Sony has lost money for four consecutive years.

According to the latest data, the total performance loss of Panasonic, Sony, and Sharp in 2011 totaled 1.6 trillion yen (approximately US$20 billion). In addition, other well-known brands such as Toshiba and Hitachi have not had a good day. It is not a substantial loss or a sharp decline in profit. In particular, in the lucrative ace field such as display panels and televisions, Japan's big-name losses are particularly alarming.

"Even if the house leaks, it's raining overnight." Under heavy losses, layoffs are inevitable. Rough statistics, including several major Japanese companies giants lay off more than tens of thousands of people. Among them, Panasonic is the largest layoffs.

In the face of a huge crisis, Panasonic put all his hopes on the new president to have a great heart. And Tsukaga Ichiro is also beginning to save Panasonic with a series of actions such as layoffs and restructuring. Tsuga Ichihiro stated recently that in order to continue to reduce the company's operating costs, it may reduce the number of employees in the headquarters from 7,000 to several hundred. Panasonic thus staged the largest layoff in Japanese manufacturing. It is reported that after Jin Hehong took office, he has laid off 36,000 people.

In the restructuring of Panasonic, China is also difficult to escape. According to Panasonic’s plans announced earlier, Panasonic’s plasma panel factory in Shanghai will be gradually shut down this year, and Panasonic will focus its global plasma panel production operations on local production in Japan.

"Every place where there is electricity, there is Panasonic's product." This was the portrayal of Panasonic's prosperity. But now, this once inescapable electrical kingdom has suffered an unprecedented crisis.

Compared to Panasonic, Sony’s days seemed to be better than that. In 2011, it had a net loss of about US$5.73 billion. From the data point of view, it is better than Panasonic. However, this is just “a hundred steps and fifty steps”.

In recent years, Sony products have also been criticized for their lack of differentiated advantages. Sony TV business has been losing money for eight consecutive years. In the Chinese market, Sony has few killer products. In the era of digital and Internet, Sony has been staggering.

For four consecutive years of loss, as a symbol of Japan's global rise after World War II, how can Sony regain its confidence? In response, Sony CEO Hirai Hirai performed the “removal” operation on Sony as a surgical doctor, laid off 10,000 employees, sold a 50% stake in a joint venture with Samsung, and increased the proportion of outsourced TV sets. At the same time reduce the TV model by 40%.

However, in the case of "Tigers before the snakes", it is easy for Sony to reinvigorate. On April 1 this year, 52-year-old Kazuo Hiiragi said with aspirations: "Now is the moment when Sony changes. I believe we can do it." I hope this is not the April Fool's Day slogan!

Let's look at Japan's other electronics giant Sharp. According to the official news of Sharp on April 27, the 2011 fiscal year report shows that Sharp's sales revenue for the fiscal year 2011 was 30.5 billion U.S. dollars, a year-on-year decrease of 18.7%; net profit loss was 4.66 billion U.S. dollars, which also set a record for the company's largest loss record. Pressing, Sharp has already begun discussing about 5,000 layoffs at home and abroad, and even the office building in Tokyo will be sold.

Sharp TV was once synonymous with quality, but for the Chinese market where small and medium-sized TVs are still the main consumers, Sharp's presence in the Chinese market is not much better than that of the global market. Relying on the Chinese market to save performance is even more whimsical. Luo Qingqi, an observer of the household appliances industry, pointed out that there is no one front that can make Sharp feel relaxed, and it is even more difficult for him to turn over in the future. This shows how long Sharp's recovery is.

A few days ago, Sharp China established a long-term cooperation with Hon Hai's Hon Hai. It is reported that Guo Taiming’s huge share of Sharp's funds is facing a dilemma of nearly 70% shrinking.

The plight of the Big Three is a true portrayal of Japanese electronics companies. The gradual shrinkage of Japanese electronics companies in China has become an indisputable fact. Perhaps the end of the myth of Japanese companies that ruled the global appliance industry for half a century.

Why do Japanese companies are declining in China?

The international financial crisis, the continuous appreciation of the yen, the “3.11” earthquake, and strong competition among other national electric companies. Yes, this is the reason why the Japanese electronics giants have suffered heavy losses. But from 25 years ago, “The top three global semiconductor manufacturers are the unmovable NEC, Toshiba, and Hitachi. By 2003, Sony, Hitachi, Panasonic, NEC, The total profits of Toshiba's five companies have already lost to the Samsung family." These reasons are obviously not persuasive.

In 2005, Japanese mobile phones withdrew from China one after another. In 2005, sales reports of Japanese air conditioners in the Chinese market showed losses across the board, withdrawing from China. In 2006, Japanese manufacturers continued to face DC problems, Nikon battery crisis, Sony CCD quality events, and product recalls. The announcement made the reputation of the company plummeted; at the end of 2006, NEC laptops had completely withdrawn from the Chinese market. Japanese appliances opened the rout in the Chinese market. In the seventies and eighties of the last century, in the vast majority of Chinese consumer impressions, Japanese manufacturing even became synonymous with "high quality." What caused the Japanese companies to decline gradually and stepped into the swamp?

1. Slow Localization In terms of localization, Japanese companies are much behind those of Western companies. Some successful companies in Europe and America moved Asian regional operations centers into China as early as the 1990s, such as Wal-Mart. We know that in the late 1990s, Japanese mobile phones were very popular with Chinese consumers and they were well received by Chinese consumers in terms of functionality, appearance, and after-sales service. However, the outlook was not long. By the end of 2005, almost all Japanese mobile phone brands had withdrawn from the Chinese 2G market. Sharp company later came back with 3G mobile phones, but faced with heavy market pressure, even after Apple's mobile phone came out, it almost disappeared.

In key decision-making, they rely on the Japanese to communicate internally and make their own decisions. But the consequence of this is slow decision-making. In terms of pushing new machines, it takes two or three months to declare such a model from the time of application. At that time, the market has changed. The product lifecycle of the mobile phone market is very short, the design is updated quickly, and the update rate of Japanese companies is only One-third of South Korean and Western companies. Chinese corporate executives have no choice but to do so because they have no right to make decisions about Japanese headquarters, and it is not even clear what the next step is to prepare.

2. Cultural integration and talent use issues Talent localization has always been the key to multinational operations, but Japanese electronics companies have been reluctant to take substantive steps. In Japanese-funded enterprises in China, managers of most companies are still directly dispatched by the head office. Looking at the management of Chinese-funded enterprises in China, either the Japanese people are all-inclusive or the Chinese returnees are introduced. The ranks of Chinese employees are up to the position of the head of the division. In Europe and the United States, it is not uncommon for employees of Chinese companies to be sent to headquarters. However, for Japanese companies, sending Chinese employees to headquarters for training is rare. Some senior Chinese managers and executive vice presidents of well-known Japanese companies in China have said that they will not advise employees to join Japanese companies because of limited development space.

We often say that “Do as the Romans do”, if the designers of the products are not Chinese, do not understand China’s national conditions or have insufficient forecast of the Chinese market potential, it is difficult to find the “key” to open the door to the Chinese market.

Some people have described that when Chinese companies negotiate with foreign companies, if the other party is an American company, all of them are often Chinese. When the other party is a Japanese company, there is often only one Chinese who speaks Chinese – Japanese translation. After this situation.

3. The lack of a sustained global strategy After Deng Xiaoping’s southern tour speech in 1992, Japanese companies realized the potential of the Chinese market. However, the Asian financial crisis soon took place, and their views have changed. They believe that the Chinese market is not as tempting as previously thought, and that the Chinese market will become a burden and so lose interest in China. In 2001, the Chinese threat theory was launched in Japan. Such remarks have had a huge impact on Japan. In 2002, when China joined the WTO, they officially entered China. It can be seen that Japan’s understanding of the Chinese market is intermittent and there is no continuity in China’s strategy.

Take the mobile phone as an example. At that time, there were many Japanese companies. But now, even one Japanese company is gone. In various inputs, Japanese companies are much lower than Nokia and Motorola. When you do not know what the market prospects are, you must first occupy the high ground and then develop the market. Compared with Europe, the United States, and South Korea, Japan does not have a sustainable strategy for investing in China. It only wants to avoid risks and only consider short-term benefits. Failure is inevitable.

4. Paradoxes on the Chinese market Japanese companies have been in trouble in the Chinese market, Nikon battery crisis, Sony CCD quality events, product recall announcements... After a series of “scandals”, the reputation of Japanese home appliance companies plummeted, compared with product issues. What is terrible is the Japanese’s arrogance and prejudice in dealing with these crises. For example, in 2000, Toshiba (USA) made a decision to provide US consumers with coupons for the purchase of Toshiba products due to a defect in the Toshiba laptop due to a defect in the class action lawsuit of US consumers. In total, it paid compensation of approximately US$1.5 billion. The average consumer is $445. But the same thing happened in China, when Toshiba (China) refused to provide cash compensation to Chinese consumers. It is from this incident that Toshiba has lost its top spot in the Chinese market.

5. The price of diversification and exaggeration To open the record of the growth of Japanese electrical companies, you will find that this is the history of crazy “enclosure” expansion. Taking Hitachi as an example, as one of the earliest foreign-funded enterprises to enter the Chinese market, Hitachi set aside many first records such as the establishment of China's first video tube TV production plant, and immediately withdrew into China's energy, transportation, information and communications, and digital media. , life sciences and many other fields. According to the zero survey, 18% of Chinese consumers do not understand the “Hitachi” product, and 31% think Hitachi is an IT company. Among the surveyed population, consumers under the age of 20 basically have no impression of the Hitachi brand. Among consumers who are between 20 and 30 years old, only 17% know about Hitachi.

Take another look at Panasonic. From Panasonic, from refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, color TVs, speakers, small appliances, water heaters, microwave ovens, etc., Panasonic covers almost all home appliances. It is embarrassing that Panasonic’s products as the leader or first camp in the Chinese market are not many, and it is rare to be ranked in the top five.

When we talk about the Japanese, everyone will think of “seriously”, but they are also stubborn and unwilling to change. They are too narrow and too prejudiced to be too strict and biased, and are derailed from Chinese local culture. The existence of these factors obviously cannot adapt to this Changing market environment.

Can Japanese electronics companies leave China alive?

This topic is a bit heavy, but it is a cruel reality. The act of abandoning the market will eventually be abandoned by the market.

In the Chinese market, it is increasingly difficult for Japanese household appliance giants to compete with lower-cost Korean Samsung, LG, and their counterparts in mainland China and Taiwan. More than ten years ago, Japanese household electrical appliances companies took the lead in the world, but with the proliferation of technology, the gradual emergence of home appliance companies in China and South Korea, under the offensive of high quality and low prices, the advantages of Japanese companies have become less apparent.

In addition, the rise of domestic brands has also affected Japanese products. According to a prediction by research agency NPD DisplaySearch, global smart TV shipments are expected to exceed 130 million units in 2015, accounting for about half of the flat-panel TVs in the market; and the Chinese smart TV market will grow from 50 million USD in 2010 to 2016. US$1.38 billion, revenue increased by 27 times, and the number of smart TV users will exceed 100 million.

Liang Zhenpeng, an observer of home appliance companies, believes that Japanese electronics companies have lost their leadership in technology. Walkmans and home cameras have always been Sony and Sharp are leading the technology trend, but now they have not been able to keep up with Apple's all-encompassing product trend.

In terms of television, when domestically-made TV brands frequently launched smart TVs and cloud TVs, Japanese companies did not act, and Panasonic still relied on plasma technology after acquiring Sanyo TVs. Compared with LCD TVs currently available in the market Do not have much advantage.

According to another survey from DisplaySearch, the market shares of flat-panel TVs in global sales between January and September 2011 were: Samsung Electronics of South Korea topped the list, accounting for 22.8%; LG Electronics ranked second This accounted for 13.9%; Japan’s Sony and Panasonic ranked third and fourth respectively, accounting for 11.0% and 8.2%, respectively, far less than their Korean counterparts.

Compared with the open Chinese market, the Japanese are obviously closed. The Japanese government has set tariff barriers and non-tariff barriers on many products. For example, the import tariffs on rice are so incredibly high that such an open attitude will make the Japanese bear their own fruit, when China begins to import cheap American soybeans. Japan is also proud to purchase high-priced domestic soybeans; when all Asian countries began to hire Filipino maids, Japan also conducted very strict review of foreign nannies.

The Chinese market, a place that loves and hates Japanese companies, is almost the most open and most competitive place in the world. Now it may be the place they are most reluctant to give up but they have to retreat. In the face of more and more discerning Chinese consumers, Japanese companies are increasingly confused and Japanese companies in China are still in confusion. Of course, there is no lack of a considerable number of Japanese companies in the Chinese market and it is still very strong, but that has already failed to support the Japanese companies’ banner in China.

Japanese electronics companies are at the crossroads of transformation. When they reluctantly refused to “credit the crown of home appliances kingdom”, they also understood that there was no new miracle without saying goodbye.

The author used his own as a reference and could not even find any Japanese-branded appliances (except Canon cameras) in my home. Sony, which used to be in the same position as Apple today, has gradually become less visible to people. As international competitors have begun to lead the way, combined with the growing maturity of Chinese manufacturing, Japanese companies are trying to recreate miracles, or they will become "impossible tasks."

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