All marketing success depends upon the product offered, its ability to meet consumer
demands and/or cultivate them. When exporting items into the Confucian tiger region, tastes,
demands, acceptations and expectations also differ (Hsu, 1999; Weber, 2004 ). After all, Hong
Kong consumers differ from those in Mainland China because of their historic and cultural
differences (Weber, 2004; Holson, 2005 ). That is not to say the cultural values are dissimilar.
Rather, each region has preferences and a unique set of environmental forces. The same is true
for Japan. Therefore, products entering places must not only engage the right culture, languages
and images but also consider the social and economic factors that drive demand or delimit it
Apple iPhone in Japan
Even technology, though considered universal by many, can meet challenges in any and/or
all of these regions. As exemplified by the iPhone in Japan, Apple was woefully unprepared for
the Japanese acceptations, expectations and/or competition in the marketplace (Frommer, 2010;
Chen, 2010; Katayama, 2008). Despite its innovative nature in the American place, many
Japanese consumers looked at the iPhone as antiquated cell phone technology (Chen, 2010).
Other viewed it as cosmetically unappealing (Katayama, 2008). Still others were put off because
of the iPhone’s expensive subscriptions to networks (Chen, 2010). All of these factors have
induced more challenges for the iPhone in Japan than previously imagined. In 2009, it was
selling so poorly, vendors even offered it for free (Chen, 2010; Frommer, 2010).
From the Japanese perspective, the features considered innovative in the U.S. were anything
but. Chen (2010) explains, the iPhone’s low quality camera, paucity of features, high
subscription fees, pricing and lack of multimedia capabilities commonplace in Japan for more