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Why is the Japanese technology industry increasingly underdog?

Referring to Japan is referring to famous brands with a hundred years of age such as Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, and Sharp … There was even a time when Vietnamese people handed down the saying ‘sharp like Sony, flat as Panasonic ‘to emphasize the magic of products from the country of cherry blossoms. Many Vietnamese families at that time also used the golden tree to buy Japanese television and motorbikes, in order to demonstrate their tolerance and style.

The Japanese working culture and steel discipline have helped the aforementioned technology corporations thrive in the 20th and early 21st centuries. But as technology shifts the focus from hardware to software Japanese corporations still keep the old habits and begin to show many limitations.

Japan has a unique work discipline and a workplace culture, with no room for creativity

When the global financial crisis broke out, the Japanese tech giants began to take the beating. But instead of dealing with the crisis, some of the big guys chose to hide it, leading to the shocking scandals at Toshiba, Panasonic and Olympus later.

According to Michael Woodford, who served as Olympus’s foreign CEO and exposed 13-year-long accounting fraud of $ 1.7 billion at the company, the cult of seniors and conservatism has caused people Japan refuses to change, although it lags far behind in technology.

The crisis forced many big names to sell themselves to stay in this difficult time. In 2020, Toshiba completed the sale of a stake in the PC segment to rival Sharp and officially withdrew from the laptop business that once dominated the world. Sharp even had to sell itself to Taiwan’s Foxconn in 2016 after years of struggling because of losses.

Back at Toshiba, the 145-year-old corporation had to tear apart core businesses such as selling home appliances to China’s Midea and medical equipment to Canon in 2016, and selling memory chips to a fund. US investment and television segment for a Chinese company in 2017.

Why is the Japanese technology industry increasingly underdog | Technology iced tea

Toshiba Group’s senior leaders bow to apologize after the financial scandal was uncovered in 2015

Another case is the long-standing brand Sanyo was acquired by fellow Panasonic in 2009. But after only a few years, the Sanyo brand continues to be sold to a Chinese company and officially disappeared from the market. .

Another big man, Sony, is still thriving in business, but it’s all thanks to the game segment. Sony TVs are a long way from the golden age and are fiercely competitive by TV companies from Korea and China.

This lag comes from the style and mindset inherent in Japanese technology companies. Old technologies like fax machines, convex screens (monitors), DVDs and even Internet Explorer or handwriting paper are still popular in Japan, according to Jordy Delage, who has lived and worked in Japan since 2005. The French CEO also revealed that many Japanese companies have very low budgets for information technology (IT), even without IT departments.

Why is the Japanese technology industry increasingly underdog | Technology iced tea

Fax machines have been in use in Japan since the 80s, and until the Covid-19 epidemic, hospitals still sent results by fax.

That is the reason why many Japanese software projects are often outsourced. Mr. Nguyen Chi Nguyen (freelancer, Ca Mau) said that the website and small sales software in Japanese supermarkets that he used to work for a few years are very outdated, still using the software from decades ago. He not only had to make a separate version to support Internet Explorer, but also had to support the ‘brick’ phone line (feature phone). According to December 2020 statistics, the proportion of Japanese users of Internet Explorer still accounts for about 4% (higher than Firefox).

This situation may change in the short term due to the impact of Covid-19 on the Japanese way of working. The Nikkei 2020 report shows that 765 Japanese corporations have planned to invest 15.8% in IT, or 471.8 billion yen ($ 4.45 billion) in response to the shift in working methods. .

Finally, many developed countries can expect a welcome new technology wave thanks to startups that are ambitious and highly dynamic. However, with only four tech unicorns currently available, Japan is still a long way from China and the US, which accounts for 70% of the 500 unicorn startups worldwide, according to another Nikkei statistics in 2020. .

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