Yusaku Maezawa wears a perfect-fitting shirt, tight jeans and has
Great before. "Does not it annoying when looking for clothes, but nothing really fits, because
the legs are too short or the arms are too thin?
a narrow, 43-year-old entrepreneur who founded Zozo 14 years ago, Japan meanwhile
largest online department store for fashion items. "From now on, we do not just want many brands
but also infinitely many cuts and widths. "
This should work with a body suit that customers can order at the shipping price. In it they take pictures with a smartphone app, 300 sensors on the "Zozosuit" measure the body. So should be able to order tailored shirts or pants. "Tailored shirts can be bought at 49 euros, and if the size is in stock, we deliver within a few days, otherwise in three weeks," says Maezawa. "No tailor can match that."
But although it was the Japanese market that made him a multi-billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa does not see the future domestically. The Zozosuit, which came out in Japan a year ago, has been on sale since late summer on 72 other markets. Soon, much of Zozo's proceeds will come from abroad. "There are the big growth opportunities," says the entrepreneur.
For a long time, Japanese companies considered their home market large enough
With this assessment he is in his home in the trend. Because Japan lost the young consumers. Japan's population has been shrinking for 14 years due to low birth rates and very low immigration numbers. From currently 127 million, according to official calculations, it will fall to 110 million by 2040. Every year, the city is lost on average by a city the size of Düsseldorf. The Japanese government has declared the demographic implosion as the biggest problem for growth.
In the past, many Japanese companies considered the domestic market large enough that they could largely ignore foreign countries. But those times are over. Many companies are therefore looking to move abroad as quickly as possible. What Zozo tries to do with expansion through its own business, others do through acquisitions. According to the latest investment report of the UN Department of Trade and Development, Japan was the world's second largest foreign investor in 2017 with a total of $ 160 billion. This Japanese companies have even overtaken the competition from China. Data from Japan's Ministry of Finance also shows that companies have doubled their overseas ownership within five years.
At first, global expansion seems like a déjà vu. In the eighties, the Japanese economy went on a global shopping spree. At that time Sony took over the film producer Columbia Pictures, Mitsubishi bought half the Rockefeller Center, the construction company Aoki invested in the Hamburg Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten. In the West there was talk of a "Japanese invasion". When a speculative bubble burst in 1990, the expansion was over.
But this time it is not an economic boom that fuels investment abroad, but concerns about weak domestic demand.
Especially emerging companies such as Zozo, which have only recently become well-known brands, have to adapt quickly. So too fast retailing. The logistics group, which among other things runs clothing retailer Uniqlo, has not only been increasingly buying up foreign brands in recent years. In once foreign markets was also invested in their own businesses, so there are now more Uniqlo stores outside of Japan than in the home country. In 2018 alone, Uniqlo opened offices in Sweden, the Netherlands and Hawaii, followed by India in the fall. For the first time Fast Retailing made more sales abroad in the past year than in Japan.