A scene in a flight headed to Tokyo from Kuala Lumpur: Those who were reading books are mostly Japanese, only a few Malaysians were seen with books on their hands.
The similar scenes were observed in metro trains in Japan, passengers were absorbed in their readings. Hardly you’ll find such scenes in metro Hong Kong, or in Moscow, Russia. In Hong Kong, passengers are into mobile phones.
reading in the metro train
Japan is a nation with a high percentage rate of reading habit amongst its population, a culture that yields hope. Despite the country facing economy stagnation for over two decades, the city of Tokyo still looks vibrant with radiance and exquisite civilization omnipresence.
I believe that a nation that has a high reading rate will never run out of stamina.
I was in Tokyo last Wednesday attending a Security Trade Show, to survey the market opportunity of civil and commercial biometrics industry. And I was in a similar famous situation that marketing gurus like to quote when motivating their students:
Two shoe salesmen were sent to Africa. The first reported a problem - all of the natives went barefoot - and thus he believed that there was no market in Africa for shoes. The second salesman reported an opportunity - all of the natives went barefoot - and thus he believed that Africa held a tremendous untapped market for shoes.
Of course, when there is a forked outcome likes this, marketing gurus would appraise the latter, encouraging the students to take the problem as an opportunity to be seized, because “positive thinking” always prevails in any marketing teachings.
But I despise this conclusion out of sheer simplicity. Because when we go deeper, you know you have to invest a lot of money and time to change the habitual barefoot culture of the natives with no guarantee of success. Are you prepared for this? And even if you have successfully changed their lifestyle, but footwear is a low-tech products, other footwear companies would easily foray to seize on the emerging opportunity, which may not necessarily benefit the early birds.
Big Sight, Tokyo International Exhibition Center
The Security Tradeshow confirmed my view that Japan is "barefoot" for the commercial biometrics market, despite it was commonly deployed at the government level.
I dropped by at the only two small booths that were displaying China and Korean fingerprint products respectively, and both affirmed the lukewarm response. Other countries can easily draw a larger crowd with more biometrics exhibitors. Japan is a unique and closed market for foreigners, with privacy concerned, it takes extra ordinarily hard to penetrate into this market. That’s why our online marketing activities draw a large pool of inquiries from other countries from all over the world, but very little comes from Japan.
Our permission marketing strategy discourages us from taking an aggressive approach. And I would not want to forgo this market either. I would rather use some softer approaches and let the nature takes its course. If there is a need in biometrics products, I always believe we will get a knock on our door.
That's how we expanded our business to over 100 countries. And we have to always get ready, even for the Japanese market.
A devastated Earthquake (magnitude 9.0) struck Japan on March 11th, Friday, during my stay there and had caused the worst Tsunami in a part of Japan as well as in a few countries along the Pacific rim.
The violent water, Tsunami Japan
The earthquake has caused major damage in broad area in Northern Japan; I felt the building where I stayed shook rigorously during the quake and the aftershocks. The death toll rose to more than 800 now and it's still rising.
From the TV, I could see the violent water swept away houses, cars and ships, fires burned out of control. Power to a cooling system at a nuclear power plant was knocked out, forcing thousands to flee.
But I have to admire the resilience of Japan in facing geological disasters. It shows how efficient and effective their government is and the cooperation and discipline of the people to minimize the destruction.
The second day, most of the activities and subway operations in Tokyo were restored, and I observed the Japanese with their reading habit as usual like nothing major happened yesterday.
Kindly take note that due to the thermal power plants on the coast that are damaged by the Tsunami, leading to an unprecedented shortage of its power supply capacity in Japan, this has affected FingerTec production in the coming two months, as we are using 40% components made in Japan. This incident may cause an unexpected shortage of our stock in the following months.
by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ