See the original story in Japanese.
Hayato Takano founded Adways Indonesia in 2011 as a local subsidiary of Japanese internet giant Adways (TSE:2489). He has been serving as CEO of the Indonesian company but surprisingly he announced in September of last year that he would step down from the position. People in the startup community, not only in Indonesia but also in Japan, had been curious about what he will do next, but it has been unveiled today.
Tokyo-based Chapter8, the company that Takano founded and leads, launched a mobile e-commerce platform called Jselection today. Jselection is focused on selling Japanese products to overseas market, especially targeting mainland China and Southeast Asia. Available in English, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, Thai and Bahasa Indonesia, it also allows users to compare prices of products showcased in their local currency based thanks to an automated Geo-IP detection.
After coming back from Indonesia, Takano had been managing Leyifan.com, the shipping forwarding service for e-commerce users in China run by Adways Japan, where he had been seeing a bunch of iPhone 6 handsets and Japanese beauty products had been delivered to Chinese consumers for about half a year until founding Chapter8. Generally speaking, almost 90% out of all items delivered to a forwarder are purchased and shipped from Amazon. According to Takano, even Amazon Japan adopted the US-based SKU (stock keeping unit) coding scheme, which eases even non-Japanese speaking users to choose or order items online regardless of language barriers. However, typical Japanese e-commerce sites describe selling items in Japanese only and associate each of them using the Japanese coding scheme, which are unlikely to attract non-Japanese online shoppers.
Jselection, the platform launched this time, procures items from Ponpare Mall, an e-commerce site of Japanese internet company Recruit Lifestyle. Describing items in several languages using machine translation, it will allow users from China and other Asian countries to choose and buy items on their mother tongue. Chapter8 is responsible for shipping and payment while Recruit takes care of responding to inquiries in aforementioned several languages, in addition to providing selling items. Chapter8 plans to work with other suppliers in the future.
I live in Harajuku after coming back to Tokyo. I pass Takeshita-dori of Harajuku every day where I witnessed many retailers targeting high school girls have been shutting down but many retailers having signboards in Chinese or Korean have been recently popped up there. The street is filled up with Chinese shopping spree.
Looking at crepe shops which are very popular on the street, the ones having English signboards are drawing customers ‘so-so’ but the ones having Chinese or Korean signboards are crowded with foreign tourists. We need to face up to this reality.
Jselection is optimized for mobile users, planning to market using product listing ads, Google AdWords, as well as Chinese internet services such as Baidu or WeChat in addition to receiving user traffic from some mobile apps for inbound tourists to Japan. The platform targets not only China but also Southeast Asia including Indonesia because it’s probably Takano is familiar with the region.
In this sector, Chinese mobile cross-border e-commerce app Bolome secured $30 million funding from several internet companies and VC firms in China and Korea in late October while Tokyo-based Zawatt fundraised $2 million from several VC firms in Japan and Singapore back in June.
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy