Ever imagined fireworks going off just at the perfect moment to make your wedding even more romantic? Thought about having a professional photographer capture the most memorable moments of your honeymoon?
These are just two of the novel ideas being brought to Taiwan by Tokyo-based Dears Brain, Japan's fifth-largest "house wedding" firm in terms of revenue.
"Taiwan's wedding market is like Japan's 10 years ago, when the `house wedding' concept was still new to the public. But now in Japan, 15 percent of the newlyweds choose to do it this way," said Yoshiyuki Matsuba, director of Dears Brain, during an interview in Taipei on Saturday.
PHOTO: CHANG CHIA-MING, TAIPEI TIMES
Bullish about the market's potential, the Japanese firm plans to set up Dears Brain Taiwan (迪詩) at the end of this month and spend NT$80 million (US$2.4 million) to acquire the operational rights to Grace Hill (麗庭莊園), a church-style venue that offers wedding planning services in Taipei's Neihu District.
The original investors in Grace Hill will become the landlords leasing the facilities to Dears Brain's, he said.
Matsuba, 32, will be in charge of Dears Brain's Taiwan business when the new company starts operations next month.
"House wedding" has been a popular wedding style in the West for decades. With stand-alone mansions and outdoor gardens as the main elements, newlyweds and their guests can celebrate the day in their own private space, in stark contrast to narrow and noisy venues often seen in restaurants or hotels.
Sensing a crisis arising as Japan's wedding market is shrinking due to the low birth rate, Dears Brain is eager to expand overseas with Taiwan, known as a Japan-friendly country, as its first foreign market to test the waters.
"We have been looking for the best markets to enter, from Korea to Beijing and Shanghai. Thanks to Mitsui and Co (Taiwan) Ltd's help in March, we came into contact with Grace Hill, which shares similar service concepts with us," Matsuba said.
Established three years ago with a space of 2,000 ping (6,600m2), Grace Hill claims to be the nation's first house wedding operator. It managed sales of NT$120 million last year by hosting weddings and business banquets, a figure Matsuba said will significantly jump after Dears Brain introduces its service model and implements cost control schemes.
"Three years ago, Dears Brain also acquired a poorly performing wedding firm in Japan and has successfully boosted its performance" by overhauling its operations, he said, explaining his confidence that the company would make a splash in the marketplace.
According to government statistics, approximately 140,000 couples got married in Taiwan last year, about one-fifth of the number in Japan.
"Our goal is to provide consumers with an alternative, and I believe the marketplace will change due to the competition," he said.
Although the Taiwanese market is smaller, Dears Brain believes that more couples will choose house weddings over normal banquets at hotels, thanks to people's growing budgets and a trend to pursue tailor-made weddings.
The new business expects to host 500 weddings and banquets during its first year of operations with revenues topping NT$300 million. Following two years of fine-tuning, the firm plans to invest NT$400 million building two wedding houses, one in Taipei and the other in either Taichung or Kaohsiung.
"In the third year, we hope to serve 1,500 couples, about 1 percent of the market, and post sales of NT$800 million," Matsuba said.
It is estimated that a couple on average spends NT$700,000 on their wedding, from shooting wedding photos to hosting banquets. That puts the overall value of the market at close to NT$100 billion a year.
Taipei 101 has also declared its intention to tap into the top-end wedding market by making use of its unique features.
Last month, it announced plans to offer a "one stop shopping" wedding service that ranges from making purchases to booking wedding venues.
Its main weapon will be to allow big spenders to make their marriage proposals in messages on the electric signboards on the world's tallest building at a cost of more than NT$3 million a time. It is aiming for sales of NT$50 million a year.
Dears Brain says that in addition to having wedding planners that map out detailed procedures for each couple, the firm also plans to open a bridal shop next spring.
Dears Brain president Hirokazu Kogishi was quoted by CNA on Thursday as saying he is also considering setting up a school to train more professional wedding planners in Taiwan. It is a long-term idea and no details are available as yet, Matsuba said.
Established in 2001, Dears Brain posted sales of ¥4.4 billion (US$36 million) last year and has a goal of ?6.5 billion in turnover this year. It plans to enter the market in Singapore, China, Malaysia and Hong Kong as well as Taiwan.
The US dollar on Friday rose against the euro, but pared gains late in a session that was muddied by quarter-end trading, while riskier commodity-led currencies fell sharply after European inflation hit a record high and US consumer spending increased faster than expected. Although the dollar index was showing its biggest quarterly gain since the first quarter 2015, but was registered its first weekly decline in three weeks. Sterling rose against the dollar after falling earlier in the day. The pound last showed four straight sessions of gains followed by wild declines on concerns about Britain’s plan to slash taxes and pay
PRICE POINT: While overall demand has lagged expectations, higher-priced iPhone 14 Pro models appear to attract more attention than entry-level versions, sources said Apple Inc is backing off plans to increase production of its new iPhones this year after an anticipated surge in demand failed to materialize, people familiar with the matter said. The Cupertino, California-based company has told suppliers to pull back from efforts to increase assembly of the iPhone 14 product family by as many as 6 million units in the second half of this year, said the people, asking not to be named as the plans are not public. Instead, the company would aim to produce 90 million handsets for the period, about the same level as in the second half
INEXPENSIVE POWER: Group chairman Gautam Adani said 70% of the investment would go into energy transition, with a focus on green hydrogen India’s Adani Group is to invest more than US$100 billion over the next decade, most of it in the energy transition business, chairman Gautam Adani said yesterday, as the ports-to-energy conglomerate accelerates an already aggressive expansion plan. After founding the group in 1988 as a commodities trading business, the 60-year-old has ventured into multiple sectors, mainly in the infrastructure space and in line with the priorities of the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “As a group, we will invest over US$100 billion of capital in the next decade,” Adani, the world’s second-richest person, told the Forbes Global CEO Conference in
StarLux Airlines Co (星宇航空) aims to turn a profit next year by expanding its passenger operations to North American and Southeast Asian markets and by increasing its cargo business, CEO and general manager Glenn Chai (翟健華) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday. The airline would offer new flights to Okinawa and Sapporo in Japan, as well as resume flights to Da Nang, Vietnam, at the end of next month to meet demand in the fourth quarter — a peak travel season, Chai said, adding that by that time, StarLux would be flying to a total of 13 destinations. It would