China vs US as Japan's biggest customer: new business opportunities for european companies?
China overtook the US as Japan's largest export market for the first time in July, the Financial Times reported.
Japan's exports to China rose 16.8% year-on-year - the highest level since Tokyo began tracking the statistic - while shipments to the US fell 11.5%, a report from Japan's Finance Ministry said.
Overall, Japanese exports climbed 8.1% in the month. As the US economic slowdown intensifies, Japanese companies, including Honda and Komatsu, increasingly look to China for growth.
Honda, for example, announced double-digit increases in its China sales in the three months to June, compared with a 5% fall in the US.
However, Kyohei Morita, chief economist at Barclays Capital in Tokyo, noted that Japanese exports to China might decelerate given the expected slowdown in Chinese growth and the country's increasing dependence on the EU as a source of goods.
Beyond the news, Asian Studies Group's opinion
If japanese market is still suffering a big fall for domestic production and consumptions we can clearly observe that the business profile of Japan abroad is totally changing.
We started before by an univocal partnership with USA but now it seems that japanese companies are sure they are able to approach by theyself, with high profile production, new important markets like China.
We think that China for those big companies like Komatsu or Honda it will not be just a "paradise for exportations" but it'd became the first partner for production and investiment plans as well, probably more than USA.
So China is also involving european companies, that had good relations with japan up to now, in a new exciting atmosphere which those companies, never had a try at doing business in China but still have a long friendship with Japan, finally are able to improve their business knowledges trying to communicate with the "big dragon". Of course, that communication it should be mediated by those japanese partners we've already managed good business...