Go Overseas to Make More Money!

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In recent years, we’ve seen budget clothing shop Uni-Qlo and lifestyle retailer Muji open shops overseas and go up-scale. Is going overseas ...

In recent years, we’ve seen budget clothing shop Uni-Qlo and lifestyle retailer Muji open shops overseas and go up-scale. Is going overseas a way to command a premium on the same, basic products?

By Karn G. Bulsuk


In Japan, Uni-qlo is a ubiquitous sight, with bright, modern and colourful shops dotted all over the country in convenient locations. It offers no-frills clothing at relatively cheap prices, similar to Hong Kong’s Giordano or England’s Top Shop. For most Japanese, it might offer value for money, but it certainly doesn’t represent the latest in styles.

Muji, a Japanese lifestyle retailer, is also similarly regarded as a company which offers high quality but reasonably priced products, ranging from stationery to clothes, designed with a Zen-like minimalist simplicity. The name “Muji” is a combination of two words, and literally means “no-brand quality goods”.

In recent years, both have traded upscale by going overseas and expanding in Asia. Instead of being greeted with the same indifference the Japanese have developed when Uni-qlo or Muji stores were opened, people in the region have excitedly flocked to shop there, both becoming a style of their own and joining the ranks of the trendy and hip.

Interestingly enough, prices have been kept relatively unchanged from their Japanese counterparts. Because it is expensive in Asia, these two brands are viewed as luxury products only available to the middle classes and up – an irony not missed out by Muji, considering its original philosophy of reasonable prices.


Moving upscale? Expand overseas

Brand perception may be bolstered by the perceived brand value of the country of origin. Japan is a developed country with a generally favourable impression among people in Asia, with a reputation for developing cool and high quality luxury products. Uni-qlo and Muji’s positive reception have been beneficiaries of such an image, providing companies with a head start in positive perception.

While entrenched feelings towards brands may be difficult to change in local markets, expanding overseas gives companies a chance to start with a clean slate. It’s a unique opportunity for companies to move to a more premium segment of the market while still selling the same products.

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Link to original article: http://karnbulsuk.blogspot.com/2010/08/go-overseas-to-make-more-money.html

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Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Go Overseas to Make More Money!
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Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
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