AGLOBE CO.,LTD.Osami Ogai
Tell us about "AGLOBE
AGLOBE CO., LTD. provides a service for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them discover overseas distribution channels for their made-in-Japan products. Besides that, we also provide various other services, such as supporting marketing activities that would be required in the course of developing distribution channels, operation of EC sites, management of events and translation services. The company’s clients range widely across all industries, but its most dominant clients are companies dealing in consumer goods and foodstuffs. With its main office based in Shizuoka Prefecture, the company serves as an exporting agency for approximately 50 tea manufacturers and wholesalers. We are receiving many inquiries from overseas amid the rise of the Japanese cuisine boom in recent years.
Since we are not a trading company, we do not oparate a typical business model where the main source of profits derives from commissions added to the clients’ product prices for overseas distribution. Instead, we earn our profits from our client support services, such as the planning and management of promotional events overseas and the development of online shopping sites. The reason why we are doing this is because the business model that adds commissions on prices for overseas distribution is no longer effective due to the permeation of the internet, especially when consumer goods and other products that can be easily exported are concerned. On the other hand, Japanese SMEs are experiencing difficulty in directly dealing with overseas buyers because of the language barrier, differences in business practices, and psychological hurdles. In order to support such companies, we are providing a wide range of services concerning the development of overseas distribution channels.
We are excited just by imagining that those products created by small Japanese companies sail across the sea and are used somewhere in a country far, far away; and it is our joy to support that process.
Tell us what made you start your own business.
To tell you the truth, it was not that I had a specific event or occasion that triggered me to start a company. Rather, I founded the company simply because there was a need.
Before starting my own company, I travelled overseas with other companies to join trade shows as an interpreter. At the time, my main job was to interpret business negotiations for importing goods from overseas to Japan. I had asked my clients for many years if they were interested in exporting their products, instead of just importing goods from overseas, but there were few companies that were interested in exporting at the time. In the past few years, however, I have constantly received calls and inquiries about our services even though we have not made any active sales pitches. One of the various reasons behind this, I believe, is the shrinking of domestic consumption due to changes in lifestyles. If we take Japanese tea as an example, the household consumption of tea leaves has decreased to two-thirds compared to ten years ago, due to the permeation of bottled drinks.
With such situation as the background, more and more companies are considering exporting their products and having needs to develop overseas distribution channels. This is why I ended up starting my own company.
Tell us about the future developments.
We are currently working on the development of Online Mihon-ichi (Web Expo), a website serving as an export infrastructure for SMEs, so that their made-in-Japan products can be accessed easily by more overseas buyers. We have mainly provided physical support so far, such as holding events overseas, but not all craftsmen and SMEs can afford the costs to receive such support. I hoped to create opportunities for such clients to see foreign buyers’ reactions to their products without paying an enormous amount of costs, respond to their needs, and hopefully get a chance to develop distribution channels overseas. We have already released a trial version of the website, which is currently used by approximately a hundred companies. We are looking to increase the number of users to 3,000 over the next three years. The number of overseas buyers is over 1,000 now and we would like to bring it to 10,000 in three years.