A market of 4 billion people / Japanese firms turning to 'bottom of pyramid' in developing nations
News On Japan via Yomiuri -- Oct 22
An increasing number of Japanese firms are adopting a "bottom of the pyramid" (BoP) business model aimed at low-income earners in developing countries that allows them to improve living standards while reaping profits in the fledgling market.
The BoP model targets people who earn 3,000 dollars or less a year, of which there are about 4 billion worldwide. The market for this socioeconomic group is estimated to be as much as 5 trillion dollars, according the International Finance Corporation, a World Bank body that offers services to promote private-sector growth in developing nations.
The IFC held a forum on BoP business in Tokyo on Oct. 11 on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. About 50 Japanese companies and affiliates attended the event along with 15 overseas firms, giving presentations on their business activities and holding various negotiations.
Mitsui & Co., one of the participants, entered India's electric payment industry last year by investing in a local service provider.
In a country with a population of about 1.2 billion, many Indians--particularly low-income earners--do not have bank accounts. Many people have difficulty paying utility bills and sending money because the banks' counters are always crowded.
Under the service led by Mitsui, personal computers were set up at about 55,000 tobacco shops and other stores. People can use the terminals to pay bills and transfer cash, just like Japanese do at convenience stores.
The service has become popular and is used by 7 million Indians a month, according to Mitsui.
The government of Japan has bestowed one of that nation's highest honors on a Japanese-American, a former U.S. Soldier and World War II veteran, for his work furthering relationships between the Japanese and Americans. (army.mil )
This Monday, members of the seminal metal band X Japan were in Odaiba rubbing shoulders with the likes of Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga and AKB48′s Yuko Oshima. The catch? They were all made out of wax. (Japan Times )