Japan rebuilds, adapts and rises again
Japan rebuilds, adapts and rises again
Just over six months since the earthquake that rocked Japan to its very core, it's unsurprising that the country's economy is experiencing negative growth, but the green shoots of recovery are nonetheless there. The Economist Corporate Network forecasts that while Japan's growth in 2011 stands at -0.2%, it will bounce back strongly to 2.3% in 2012.
Prior to the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which had such a profound effect on the country's infrastructure, Japan was feeling the heat of the global economic slowdown. The financial crisis combined with the March 11 events created a scenario that saw many foreign companies withdraw investment from Japan.
However, even in the face of these tragedies, Japan rebounded and recognized the challenge and need for change. The earthquake, tsunami and their effects served as a warning against focusing purely on the Japanese domestic market, and the subsequent strong value of the Yen has forced Japanese companies to expend abroad through investments and acquisitions. Japan is second only to the U.S. in global acquisitions, having purchased companies to the value of $52.5 billion during 2011.
The determined attitude that Japan has taken to responding to the earthquake is evident in it rebuilding 93% of the country's supply chain and restoring 80% of its manufacturing in just six months. In essence, Japan has shifted its commercial focus out of the national market, while restoring the fundamentals at home.
The past six months have also seen Japanese companies make major changes in their approach to ICT and operations, including massive business continuity and disaster recovery solutions. There has also been a positive step of change in mentality towards its neighbors. Where once Japanese companies did not invest in Southeast Asia, now they are actively pursuing acquisitions to take advantage of a rapidly-growing region.
There have been notable changes in cultural terms, too. Japanese businesses have broadened their horizons to position themselves for long-term growth. Where previously companies in Japan would employ local ICT standards, today they are embracing global standards across IP telephony and cloud server virtualization. Some companies are even shifting toward a more international approach to their business, for example by employing English as their main operations language.
ICT key driver
Japan recognizes that ICT is essential to its continued recovery and future prosperity, and both government and industry have initiated a number of schemes. The government has implemented a New ICT Strategy initiative to create a citizen-led knowledge and information society by 2020. The country will boast high-quality e-government as well as a fully rolled-out smart grid, complete with fiber networks, cloud computing and next generation wireless connectivity. Other key elements of the project are ICT-driven medical care and enhanced education.
Orange Business Services in Japan
Companies engaged in Japan's economic regeneration realize that they need partners to help them meet the many challenges they face today. Orange Business Services is able to offer support to those companies for the fast-growing global standards implementation in both English and Japanese. Orange customers in Japan include over 70 Japanese companies and 300 global foreign companies, including Yazaki, JCB and JTI.
Present in Japan for over 35 years, Orange Business Services delivers a full suite of voice, data and mobile solutions, network maintenance, data centers, consultancy, project management, cloud solutions and support to domestic and global foreign companies in Japan. Orange provides these services through a complement of over 100 staff and a 24/7 customer service center in Japanese. Orange also taps into Japanese technology skills with its Research and Development facility. It is currently the only non-Japanese global carrier to have its own R&D center in Japan.