Wed, May 16, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Changing Japanese consumer trends could aid Taiwan

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan is well-positioned to take advantage of changing consumer trends in Japan, where the public has been spending less because of macroeconomic uncertainties, a trade promotion official said at a Taiwan-Japan procurement meeting in Taipei yesterday.

“We found that Japanese people have made some changes in their consumption patterns in light of the rising yen, the slowing economy and the impact of last year’s earthquake,” Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA, 外貿協會) Secretary-General Chao Yung-chuan (趙永全) said.

“In the past, Japanese consumers preferred higher-priced and high-quality goods, but now they have turned to affordable and more practical products,” he added.

Representatives of 50 large Japanese firms, including Toyota Tsusho Corp and Kobe Bussan Co, attended the meeting and were expected to buy products from about 300 Taiwanese businesses.

Last year, intermediate goods accounted for 72 percent of Taiwan’s total exports to Japan. Consumer products accounted for another 17.6 percent and manufacturing equipment was 7.8 percent of the total, according to Chao.

In the first quarter of this year, however, the share of intermediate goods in the overall total fell by 14 percentage points year-on-year, while that of consumer products rose 10.5 percentage points.

Japan is Taiwan’s second-biggest trade partner, with bilateral trade exceeding US$70 billion last year. Taiwan’s exports to Japan totaled US$18.23 billion last year, making Japan Taiwan’s fourth-largest export market after China, Hong Kong and the US.

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