Become Japan’s CEO Masahiro Ueno Talks Entering the Japanese Online Shopping Space
I recently had the opportunity to interview Become Japan’s new CEO, Masahiro Ueno. I became interested in him after learning of his work in developing the Japanese market offering of Overture and his presidency at DoubleClick Japan.
For more details on Become Japan check out the press release: Internet Luminary Masahiro Ueno joins Become Japan as CEO
Here are my key take aways from our interview, in Mr. Ueno’s words:
The Japanese mostly rely on directory services rather than product research and comparison shopping. We see the opportunity to convert users to a more robust shopping experience by using a site like Become Japan. We are also looking at extending our product to mobile services when we roll-out the comparison shopping service in early 2007.
At Become Japan, we invested months in refining Become’s search technology to handle Japanese language queries with precision results. This is an investment that many others in the comparison shopping space have not been willing to make and will be a tremendous advantage for us as we begin our marketing outreach later this year.
Personalization, or group consensus features like Yahoo 360 are services that Become will look into. User referrals like blogs and user and merchant reviews from multiple sources are also increasingly popular in Japan. As we develop our technology, we will look to include user ratings that are aggregated from multiple sources.
You can’t just slap a logo on a company and expect it to work in another country. We are investing in building the Become Japan business for the long term because there is a big market opportunity.
In Become’s case, we have to understand the ecommerce market – size, types of products selling in Japan. For example, Electronics items as well as cosmetics, and gourmet products such as wines sell well in Japan.
Also, in Japan mobile devices are an important part of the e-commerce equation particularly with the younger generation of consumers.
There aren’t any significant leaders in this area currently.
The current Japanese ecommerce market totals approximately $60B. Mobile ecommerce in Japan makes up 15% of that market and is growing. Clearly this is a strong opportunity for Become Japan when it launches its mobile services.
If you’d like, read the whole interview: Interview with Become Japan CEO Masahiro Ueno