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Japan warming to cheap foreign gadgets amid slump

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22 Comments
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my first PC was an Acer - 20 years ago! In those days you could get the o/s on a 30MB hard drive and still have space to store your thesis!!!

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"Seiyu, as Wal-Mart is called here?" Are Seiyu and Wal-Mart owned by the same people? If not, I don't think Seiyu is really in any way comparable to Wal-Mart- there is nothing like the scale or spread at all.

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New arrivals are generally limited to niche areas because most Japanese still believe their country’s products are superior to any made abroad

That is the crux of the issue. This belief in Japanese superiority is not really based on objective product comparisons. As people develop more discriminating buying habits due to decreasing disposable income, they will begin to make objective comparisons between Japanese and Foreign products. Japanese economy will be in for a shock when that happens, because both Japan and Other nations will shift to Non-Japanese made products, sending the Japanese economy into a irrecoverable tailspin, unless they get their act together and create products with value competitive on a global scale.

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Wal-Mart owns Seiyu

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1 of the bigger problems here is the distribution system. too many "middle men" . of course, the middle men create jobs, but they have to figure out a way to distribute the products w/out raising the consumer prices too high as well as sharing the distribution equally to many different companies . not company to company to company . panasonic to 1 company & to consumer. of course panasonic directly to consumer would be the best price for consumer, but may increase unemployment too much.

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bamboohat, yes would seem to be a death knell for japanese manufacturing. this seems to be how it always happens regardless of where you're talking about, britain, US, japan, etc.

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Yes, the number of distributors defies belief at times. I recall a an electric soldering tools salesman telling me that the chain from manufacturer to retail outlet required something like 5 or 6 steps, as each time, some middle man got cut along the line, forcing up the final price for consumers.

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At the end of the day an electronic gadget generally lasts for 6 years before it breaks down /becomes obsolete be it is a Sony or a Acer or a Flying Pigeon Electronics Group brand.

Why pay more for something that lasts the same time and probably has many of the same components??

Unless you care about the name............

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Japanese products = electronics Foreign produtcts = gadjets

Nice editorializing in the headline, JT.

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Not much difference as many of the Japanese products are made in China... with the same components. With the well-known phenomenon of "Sony time", the claim of better quality control and design of a branded product is reduced to an expensive logo....

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Japan, a small country(although somewhat long) & lots of people SHUD have been able to keep transport & distribution costs down & enjoy a competitive advantage with the world, but built toll roads to everywhere & nowhere, oil/gas heavily taxed, very inefficient distrubution & voila what shud have been a competitive advantage is now & has been for a long time a massive cost for the country & its exports, its going to get worse

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toasters to laptops carry increasingly similar components and special features

So i can internet with my toaster? Japanese products have a zillion features which you don't use anyway.

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Yes Seiyu is owned by Wal-mart now, but it was bought in. You could as well have said a few years ago "at Chrysler - as Mercedes-Benz is called in the US"... or Get the gist? This is just plain wrong, just because one company has bought another one it doesn't make the two all the same.

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Not much difference as many of the Japanese products are made in China... with the same components. With the well-known phenomenon of "Sony time", the claim of better quality control and design of a branded product is reduced to an expensive logo....

Exactly, wanderlust. I just checked some of my stuff: Hitachi shaver and cellphone, Panasonic Camera (all made in China) and Casio watch (made in Thailand). There is not much Japanese stuff out there, and I couldnt afford it anyway!

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"ASUS lesser known in Japan" makes me wonder how isolated Japan is and how their attitudes are towards outside brands.

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They have Wal Mart in Japan?! Is nothing sacred from those people?

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What makes walmart competitive is their computer management system. Once an item is bought in a store a message is sent straight to the supplier where ever they are in the world so that they can manage inventory at the lowest cost solution. This is turn allows walmart to be a discounter and offer the lowest prices. They bought 10% of Woolworths in Australia and implemented their system making Woolworths extremely profitable in the process. I am guess they are doing the same with seiyu.

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ASUS certainly wasn't unknown in Japan 4 years ago, when Mr Zaichik bought Asus components to build our PCs.

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I love my Panasoonik.

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Everything is market-driven. Supply and demand. Products are priced at whatever the consumers are willing to pay for it, not how much they cost to make or distribute. There are pros and cons to this, but that's what all of the comments from sales clerks to analysts in this article are telling me, is that in the midst of this global recession, they are just waiting to see what sells and what doesn't, and whatever does sell, that will be the trend for the next year or 2. This is the case for almost ALL markets right now. We all have the power as consumers to decide the future markets and trends... be cautious in whatever you buy!

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I've been using ASUS motherboards and graphic cards bought from Yamada Denki, Laox and Akihabara in home built computers for over 10 years, but it is true that ASUS notebooks have not been imported (under their own name at least) until recently.

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we'd be awash in OEM versions of the same products all with the same components bidding for the lowest dollar on volume discounts if the likes of sony and others would finally drop the pretense of some of their products. Transferability is also a cost cutter. ie: SecureDigital versus hated Memory stick.

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